Stars and Stripes, The Star Spangled Banner and Old Glory — the Fourth of July is a great opportunity to celebrate our nation's flag.
History tells us that on June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress passed an act establishing an official flag for the new nation. The resolution stated, “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation."
The National Museum of American History is currently working on The Preservation Project, where they're laboring to restore the giant flag which survived the round-the-clock bombing of Fort McHenry in Baltimore, by British troops in 1814. This is the pivotal event that inspired Francis Scott Key to compose "The Star-Spangled Banner." The preservation effort began in June 1999, and continues to this day. The flag is kept in a special low-oxygen, filtered light chamber and is periodically examined under a microscope to detect any damage.
To document the flag, conservators had it photographed. Because of its size and the confined space of the lab, the flag could not be photographed as a whole. The photographer took seventy-three separate images. Using computer technology, each frame was pieced together, like a puzzle, into a composite image.
The flag was moved to a new specially-built conservation lab museum visitors observed the conservation process through a 50-foot (15.2-m)-long glass wall. A moveable bridge (gantry) gave the conservation team a working surface above the flag. The lab was equipped with its own heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC) that kept the air free of contaminants and maintained a steady temperature and humidity.
Read deep enough into United States Flag Code (Title 4, USC Chapter 1, Sec. 8 "Respect for the Flag") and you'll find it addresses the issue. While it does not speak directly to conduct related to the national anthem ceremony at a football game, the text is pretty specific for the ceremonies usually observed at sunrise and sunset.
However, it does state that fans like this are clearly violating the code. "The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property."
John Towles, Veterans of Foreign Wars, National Security & Foreign Affairs Director shared some inspring words about respecting the flag: “Our nation's flag serves as a beacon of freedom and prosperity for people all over the world. On this day, we honor a moment in history that played a tremendous part in establishing our own sovereignty as a nation, and to pay tribute to a symbol that means so much to so many.”
In July 1969, Neil Armstrong placed Old Glory on the moon. Flags were also placed there on each of the Apollo program's six manned landings. We’re not exactly sure what position space lawyers would take on the ownership of our moon, but we’d like to think that as long as our flag is flying there — its ours!
According to Title 4, United States Code, Chapter 1 here are some rules to follow:
No. According to United States Code, Chapter 1, Section 8 (d) "The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free."
So, now you know. Whether you're saluting it, admiring it or you've got patriotism in your pants, we hope you have a happy Flag Day!