Since You Asked: She's a grand ol' flag ... treat her right

Walking by the Ashland city library this afternoon, past closing time, I noticed a quite frayed and faded flag flying in the wind. Perhaps you could review some flag etiquette. I am sure no flag laws were broken.

— Janice R., Ashland

With Flag Day having fluttered past on June 14 and Independence Day just around the corner, that's a timely topic to run up the ol' flag pole at Since You Asked's Patriot Hall, Janice.

All of us could use a reminder on the proper etiquette when it comes to waving Old Glory. We periodically receive seething SYA inquiries about folks driving around with a tattered American flag flying from a car antenna.

So we marched straight to the U.S. Flag Code, created in 1942 and amended in 1976, for true blue guidance on this one.

The code clearly states that when a flag is tattered or torn, it should be carefully repaired. It further states that, if a flag cannot be repaired, it should be disposed of in a dignified way, preferably by burning.

Other code rules also bear remembering by today's flag wavers:

  • The U.S. flag takes precedence in size and prominence over all other flags when flown in the United States.
  • The U.S. flag should always be displayed with the point of honor — the starry blue field — to the observer's left.
  • The U.S. flag should be flown from sunrise to sundown only, unless there is adequate illumination by a spotlight or similar light at night.
  • No flag should be flown during weather that might damage it, including rain and wind.
  • The flag should never be used as a banner, bunting or covering, except when displayed on caskets at certain funerals.
  • The flag should never be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, nor should it be embroidered on cushions or handkerchiefs.
  • Civilian bystanders should salute the flag by putting hand over heart when the flag is raised, lowered or carried by on parade. A salute is also proper when the national anthem is played if the flag is present.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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