Respecting the US Flag


I want to start by saying that I don’t like to see any nations flag burned. To me, it’s the pinnacle of disrespect towards a country and its peoples. Now, let me share this:

The United States Supreme Court, in States V. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310 (1990) by a 5-4 majority declared that flag burning was constitutionally-protected free speech.

To reiterate, burning a flag is protected under the First Amendment. Here we are, people getting mad that someone is burning the flag while they may be running a bit afoul of the law. I’ll explain it.

All over social media, I’ve seen people burning flags in protest only to have some group of people run up to them to put out the flag and retrieve it. Without fail, in almost every group I’ve seen of counter-protesters getting angry that the flag is burning, I’ve seen some guy wearing a United States flag on their shirt, or hat.

Or, how about Megan Rapinoe, from the US Women’s soccer team? She dropped the flag on the field during her calibrations. A google search shows that there many petitions to remove her Golden Ball trophy, bar her from soccer, and more. People beyond angry that she dropped the flag.

Can we say “hypocrite” much?

Here are some ways you may violating federal law:

Clothing: it is a violation of the United States Flag Code Title 4 of the United States Code) for the United States flag to be used as an article of clothing, placed over a statue, a monument or other such structure. It also should not be used as bedding or drapery – in the case of the latter, you should not use it as a curtain in your home or office.

In the Home: the flag should never be used as a covering for a wall or ceiling. Those of you who have a United States flag hanging on your wall, or across your roof, you violate the law.

Advertising: The flag cannot be used for any, ANY, advertising purpose. You can’t run an ad in the paper for your business and have the flag as part of that ad – I see that all too often here in El Paso. It cannot be embroidered, printed, or applied to things like cushions, napkins, boxes, handkerchiefs, or any product intended to be tossed in the trash after it is used. For this one, think of paper plates and napkins everyone was selling for that cookout our picnic for the 4th of July.

Costumes or Athletic Uniforms: The flag cannot be used as part of a costume like the one Walmart was selling last year, nor made part of a uniform – except that a patch of the flag may be used by military personnel, police officers, firefighters and patriotic organisations.

Additional Designs: the flag may not have any insignia, letter, word, number, brand mark, figure, or drawing attached to it at all. Think of your flag themed checks. Or Ford Motor Company, Bear Arms Flag Company and the like.

Receptacle: The flag cannot be used for receiving, holding, carrying or delivering anything. Again, dishes, flag-themed laundry bags and the like. Each one of these is against the United States Flag Code.

Parades: In a parade the flag may not be draped over the hood, the sides, top or back of a car, truck, train or boat. When it is used in a parade, it must be on a flag pool fixed to the chassis or the right fender.

Also, for parades and other functions, the flag may not be bunched up or drawn back at all. That flag bunting you see all the time is running afoul of the US Flag Code.

Sporting Events: You see it all the time, a group of people carrying a massive flag onto the football or soccer field. Well, that’s against the Flag Code as well. A flag cannot be carried flat or horizontally, but always in the air, blowing freely.

So, how about we look at our actions that directly go against the United States Flag Code and correct them? Maybe, just maybe, it will give your argument about flag burning a bit more credibility.