What You Need To Know About Flag Day

• It’s today.

• On June 14, 1889, George Balch, a kindergarten teacher in New York City, planned flag-related activities for the children of his school. His idea of observing Flag Day was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York.

• Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior, delivered a 1914 Flag Day address in which he repeated words he said the flag had spoken to him that morning: “I am what you make me; nothing more. I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color, a symbol of yourself.”

• On August 3rd, 1949 President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.

• There is flag etiquette everyone is supposed to observe.

Like …

• The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. It is flown upside down only as a distress signal.

• The flag should not be used as a drapery, or for covering a speakers desk, draping a platform, or for any decoration in general. Bunting of blue, white and red stripes is available for these purposes. The blue stripe of the bunting should be on the top.

• The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose. It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. [Shall we start keeping a list of scofflaws? What about all the politicians who wear flag neckties?]

• When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object; it should be received by waiting hands and arms. To store the flag it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously.

• The flag should be raised briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously. Ordinarily it should be displayed only between sunrise and sunset. It should be illuminated if displayed at night.

When on display, the flag is accorded the place of honor, always positioned to its own right. [Wait. What?] Place it to the right of the speaker or staging area or sanctuary. Other flags should be to the left.

I’m not a fan of Celine Dion, but she knocks ‘God Bless America’ outta the park and clear into Canada so I’ve chosen her to entertain us for three minutes and forty-one seconds on this Flag Day of 2011.

Do you put your flag out on patriotic American holidays?

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