Chat about flag etiquette

June 14, 2007

This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.

In honor of Flag Day, Jerry Hanson, post commander of American Legion Dorsey Liberty Post No. 14 in Lawrence, will answer questions about how to display, store and otherwise care for the American flag.


Hi, everybody. Thanks for joining us today, and happy Flag Day! I'm Terry Rombeck, a reporter at the Journal-World, and I'll moderate today's chat. Jerry Hanson, commander of the American Legion Dorsey-Liberty Post 14 is here today to answer your flag-related questions.

Jerry Hanson:

Good Afternoon, welcome to Flag Day questions.


My father was a career soldier (24 years Army) and is now buried in the veteran's cemetery in Leavenworth. As he had requested, I arranged for him to receive a standard military burial. During the service, the flag was folded improperly by the funeral detail and then presented to me with the casings from his 21 gun salute.

It is my understanding that when a flag is properly folded, one should see, from top to bottom, one, three then five stars. I have also been told that once a flag is folded it should not be unfolded.

I would like to honor my father's service properly. So, should I leave well enough alone with the poorly folded flag or do I have another option?

Jerry Hanson:

The easy way is to bring your flag to the Legion Post on West 6th st., behind Spangles, any morning between 9 and 12 noon and our members will refold the flag for you.


Explain the requirements for night flag display and why many local restaurants get by without following the rules. (not a question - more of a request for info)

Jerry Hanson:

The basic rule is that flags that are flown after sunset should have a light that allows you to clearly see the flag until daylight. The flag code, title 4, the United States Flag code does not have any legal enforcement support behind it so there is no one to report misuse of the code.


I've always wondered: When flying the flag vertically, which side are the stars supposed to be on? I see it both ways.

Jerry Hanson:

The blue field with stars should be to the left upper corner of the person facing the flag.


One other from me - is there a proper way to wash/clean a dirty flag? Is it OK to stick it in the wash or something?

Jerry Hanson:

The flag should always be protected. You should always make sure that you follow the corect procedure for the material it is made of and always wash the flag by it self so their is no chance of it being miscolored by any other colors. Carefully press the flag after washing.


Is it true that the image of the flag shouldn't be worn on clothing or depicted on other items, like mugs.

Jerry Hanson:

The image of the flag on a cup, t-shirt or plaque is acceptable, but sewing a flag to a piece of clothing is not. The exception is that members of the military, police, fire departments and other organizations are given permission to do so as long as it worn respectfully..

Jerry Hanson:

The American Legion post nearest you will usually accept your flag for proper disposal. The Dorsey-Liberty Post in Lawrence has mail box outside of the post that flags may be dropped off. Please drop only the flag into the box, no boxes or other containers in to the box.


Are there any other common issues you see with displaying the flag, or any other suggestions you'd have for people this Flag Day?

Jerry Hanson:

If you are flying a flag on a vehicle it should be mounted as close as you can to the right front quarter of the vehicle, the antenna in that area is a good spot or a window mount on the right front door. Never allow the flag to touch the ground and when you take it off a flag pole you can fold it length wise and carry it respectfully to a storage place.


That does it for today's chat. Thanks, Jerry, for coming in today, and thanks to you all for asking good questions.

Jerry Hanson:

Take care of our flag. Flag etiqutte and history info can be found on most browsers and pamphlets are available at your local American Legion and VFW posts.


Aiko 10 years, 9 months ago

It is nice to see some people still respect the US Flag. SInce I have lived in this area I have seen more people destroying the flag for their own political agenda.

stuckinthemiddle 10 years, 9 months ago

Aiko I agree... Like all the flags plastered all over vehicles.

Nate Poell 10 years, 9 months ago

I've lived in Lawrence for five years now and have yet to witness a burning or otherwise improper destruction of a flag. Personally, I think flag-burning is a pretty retarded way to express your political viewpoint. But it is free speech. shrug

Aileen Dingus 10 years, 9 months ago

My parents (both Marines) have a beautiful heavy sewn canvas flag (ie: every stripe separate, every star appliqued). All I've been able to find in stores are one piece dyed or woven flags.

Where can I find a nice heavy flag like theirs?

Eric Neuteboom 10 years, 9 months ago

Probably me over sentimentalizing things (again), but flag etiquette is something too many people overlook/ignore (much like removing your hat at a ballgame). Damnit, that flag stands for something, and it deserves respect. Kudos to the LJW for brining this National Holiday to light, and for sharing this valuable information. I'm proud to say my flag is waving at this moment. And thanks too for the veterans who fought for our freedoms; I and my flag salute you.

Bassetlover 10 years, 9 months ago

Thanks, LJW, for having this chat today. Thank you, Jerry Hanson, for your service. I will forever remain grateful to my parents and teachers for instilling in me the imiportance of respecting our flag. How refreshing to see that so many people still care about it, too. Now everyone sing along with me...."She's a grand old flag. She's a high flying flag. And forever in peace may she wave....."

Aiko 10 years, 9 months ago

scenebooster, I have witnessed it three times in the past two years! One in front of the courthouse when people were protesting, one in front of Schlotskeys (sp.?) and one on campus. I am sure there have been more than just the ones I drove past...

Nate Poell 10 years, 9 months ago

"I have witnessed it three times in the past two years!"

monocle pop

Oh no, our very freedoms are under attack. President Bush, please get Congress to amend the Constitution to forbid this horrendous act. Wait... ( never mind.

lmpaul 10 years, 9 months ago

Bassetlover, the song is dedicated to our Stars and Strips and the correct words are, "YOU'RE a grand old flag, YOU'RE a high-flying flag and for ever in peace may YOU wave. YOU'RE the emblem of the land I love, the home of the free and the brave."

Baille 10 years, 9 months ago

"If you dont like the US, leave."

Or change it.

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