Memorial Day in the Burbs – Proper Display of the Flag

This Memorial Day article was originally posted two years ago here on Roots in Alpharetta and last year in the Revue & News. If you have a flag, please display it this weekend.

I’m always impressed with the poignant observances of Memorial Day I see in the northern burbs of Atlanta. Have you ever driven through Duluth during this time of year? The number of flags is amazing. Or how about Milton’s cross display along Deerfield Parkway? We’re a patriotic bunch up here, something to take pride in.

It’s also cool to see so many display our country’s colors on their homes in the neighborhoods. When we moved into our current house I was excited to find a flag hook already installed above the garage. I suppose I could have installed something like this myself, but that would involve using tools and hardware and stuff. I try not to do this kind of thing without adult supervision.

If you’re going to display the flag on your home, you should at least make an effort to follow proper flag protocol. Here’s what I’ve learned on the subject…

Most of us will hang the flag on a staff set at an angle against your home. Always hang the flag with the union (the blue part) at the top. If you can’t figure this part out then you’ve got bigger problems.

Make sure the flag hangs free and doesn’t touch the ground, trees, bushes, garden gnomes, your wife’s Cadillac Escalade, etc.

It is okay to display the flag in the rain or poor weather if it is made of all-weather material. If it is hand stitched then you probably shouldn’t be running it up your suburban flagpole in the first place.

You should take the flag down at night unless you have the flag properly illuminated. This is a tough one that I’ve violated in the past. If you want to play by proper flag etiquette, then you need to install a small spot light.

What to do about flying the flag at half-staff? I’m not really sure how to do this on an angled staff. If possible I suppose you could fly it half way up as you would on a normal pole. I don’t know if this is possible with mine though. I thought I read once that you can furl the flag on the staff. I’m not sure if this is proper during times of half-staff display. If anyone knows the proper way to handle this, let me know. On Memorial Day itself the flag is to be flown at half-staff until noon.

Enjoy your three day weekend. But more than that… enjoy your freedom. Don’t take it for granted. Have a reverent Memorial Day.

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