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Flag Code Outlines Patriotic Protocol


With America showing its colors more than ever, it�s time to do it properly


(From Staff and Wire Reports) - In a patriotic response to the terrorist attacks, Americans are hanging flags from front stoops, tethering them to car antennas and taping paper versions of Old Glory to windows.

But not all patriots are following the rules.

�I�m seeing a lot of people�s good intentions. But we just want to show respect for the flag and our country by helping people learn what�s proper,� said Cynthia Grosso of the Charleston School of Protocol and Etiquette.

Grosso said people are calling her to find out how to properly display the flag. Her school specializes in seminars and consulting services that teach people business etiquette, medical and political protocol and international protocol and dining.

The correct way to display the American flag is prescribed by the Flag Code, adopted into federal law in 1923. There is no penalty for breaking the Flag Code.

�An improper display of an American flag is just a breach of flag etiquette,� said Mike Buss, who oversees flag education at the American Legion�s national headquarters in

�Most times, people don�t realize these rules exist, but when they do, they go out and fix the problem.�

Among the Flag Code rules:

n�A flag should be displayed at night only if it is illuminated. That applies even to small flags displayed on cars or on mailboxes, Grosso said. A porch light is considered acceptable lighting.

n�Only flags made of weather-resistant material should be displayed during inclement weather.

n�Flags that cannot be flown at half-staff should have a black streamer at the top of the poll.

n�Flags displayed hanging, but not from a poll, should be hung so the field of stars is on your left as you face the flag.

Earl Watson, head of an American Legion post in
Greenville that handed out 3,500 flags last week, said he and his fellow Legionnaires are never shy about pointing out when someone is violating the code.

�It does bother me,� Watson said. �If it�s someone we can talk to, we try to correct them.�

A lesser-known fact is that the proper way to dispose of an old and tattered flag is to burn it � something many people don�t feel comfortable doing.

A VFW post in
Nashua, N.H., is planning a special flag burn on Veterans Day in November, knowing the current wave of patriotism will leave a number of worn-out flags in its wake.

�It�s really a beautiful thing,� said David Belanger, commander of
Nashua�s VFW Post 483. �You�re escorted by the color guard officers to the burning station. We�re going to get the community involved.�

President Bush has issued a proclamation to keep all flags at half-staff until sunset today.

Even the most ardent of flag experts, like
Indianapolis� Buss, said it�s good just to see Americans showing their pride.

What does he think when he sees a flag being displayed improperly? �I drive by it and say, �Hey, there�s another patriotic American.��

Rex W. Huppke of The Associated Press contributed to this report.






Source: Article Published in The State Paper

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