(An editorial by Publisher Karen Harrigan in the News and Sentinel of Colebrook.)
It always boggles the mind when homeowners and businesses intend to show patriotism by flying the American flag, but do so in such a way as to dishonor it. The most common offenses we see are flying a flag that is torn or faded, having it displayed in the wrong direction, and placing another nation’s flag above or to the right of it.
The U.S. Flag Code sets rules for display and care of the flag, and is found in Chapter 5, Title 4 of the United States Code. The code in its entirety can be found online at several military and associated sites, such as www.military.com, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Veterans Administration; a nice summary including graphic is available at www.usa.gov/flag.
Some key highlights are that the field of blue should always be at the top of the staff or halyard, and to the left if the flag is affixed to hang flat against a wall, either vertically or horizontally. The flag should always be positioned to its own right when displayed on the same level with other flags, and no other nation’s flag should be placed above or ahead of the U.S. flag. If flown outside after sunset, the flag should be illuminated.
Once a flag has become tattered or faded, it must be properly retired. Locally, the American Legion posts collect flags for retirement, and in Colebrook there is a disposal box in front of Post 62 on Pleasant Street. The flag should never be disposed of in the trash, or burned except during a properly conducted retirement ceremony.
Spring is a good time to tend to your household flag as part of the usual outside cleanup effort, and to buy a new one if yours is no longer serviceable. We’re all blessed to live here under the red, white and blue, and should give our nation’s symbol its due respect.