Flags and such

I put a new US flag graphic on my masthead this afternoon. After looking at it for a while, I realized something was bugging me about it.

I checked to make sure it was a 50-star flag. I checked to make sure it had all 13 stripes. I just couldn’t figure it out.

Then something ocurred to me, and I googled “flag rules”. Return #1 took me to Flag Rules and Regulations. There, in rule #8 under “How to Display the Flag,” my suspicion was confirmed.

When the flag is displayed in a manner other than by being flown from a staff, it should be displayed flat, whether indoors or out. When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag’s own right, that is, to the observer’s left. When displayed in a window it should be displayed in the same way, that is with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.

My flag was backwards.

It was all my fault, since I had taken a horizontal graphic and rotated it 90 degrees. I’ve fixed it. I doubt anyone was offended, even if they noticed. But I’ve always believed it’s important that we treat the flag with respect.

Also cleared up is my recent confusion about US flags on the sides of vehicles and uniforms. I’d always thought that the field of stars was supposed to “lead the way”, meaning if the flag was on the right side of a truck or plane, or on the right shoulder of a uniform, the blue would be “in front.” In other words, opposite of the way we usually see it. The rule pertaining to this is

To wear our country’s flag properly, the field of stars should be worn closest to your heart. Thus, if your patch is to be worn on your LEFT sleeve, use a left flag. For patches worn on your RIGHT sleeve, use a “right” or “reversed field” flag. Since the law does not specifically address the positioning of the patch, a decision is left to the discretion of the organization prescribing the wear. Some elect to use the “left” flag on both sleeves. [Note: many states and cities have ordinances pertaining to the use of the flag; you may wish to contact the Attorney General of your state or the City Attorney’s office regarding this matter.]

My son just picked up his Cub Scouts uniform, and the patch is a “left” flag so be sewn on to the right shoulder. I’m sure that the Cub/Boy Scouts are more than aware of the rules about the flag, so I’m curious as to why they elected to deviate. I’m going to find out, but if anyone knows, give me a comment. Thanks.