On the Fourth of July, and many other times of the year, people love the flag. And they prove it by not loving it, or at least not enough to respect it under the U.S. Flag Code, which is a pretty simple document that explains proper respect for the nation’s icon.
Every year around this time, we gather the list of examples of violations and each year we are impressed — stunned, really — by the endless displays of ignorance.
Here are this year’s “winners:”
The Minnesota State Fair takes top honors in the category of dishonor, and easily so. It held a “patriotic kitten” photo contest on Facebook. Loren Omoto spotted the problem all the way from Florida (and Jennifer Halgren spotted it in St. Louis Park). There isn’t enough space to post all of the violations, so let’s just pick the obvious one.
176.b (b) The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
The State Fair promotion proved that people will do just about anything to get their cat on Facebook. Winners could’ve received a copy of the Flag Code on a Stick. But no.
176 (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.
Matt Wells provides this version of the over-the-shoulder-patriotism-holder.
176(h) The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
Brigid Volk says she’s pretty sure she’ll get some candidates for this post at Thursday’s parade in Saint Peter, in the meantime she’s found the best violation of the Flag Code $98 can buy. Man who hates America is extra.
This person was doomed from the white belt on down. (h/t: Vince Tuss)
Christin Crabtree spotted this multiple offender at Ragstock in Roseville. Oh, say, can you figure out where to begin? The wearing of the flag is obvious, but there’s also the weird jack-o-lantern “carving” in it.
176(g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
Dan Murphy halted a honeymoon in Red Wing (a violation of a different code) to snap this photo of a store window there. Does anyone actually buy this stuff?
Eric Hall stumbled across Brianna Hall’s new nail job. Technically, a violation but she gets points for proper orientation of the flag, at least when she holds the nails this way. If she should keep her hands by her side tomorrow, it is an international sign of distress. Needless to say, any gardening is out of the question for Brianna in the near future.
The picture Conrad Wilson used to illustrate his story at St. Cloud State University revealed three possible violations. Can you name them?
Baseball is mom, apple pie, and flag desecration. One could make the argument that it’s not really the flag, but baseball calls its collection the “Stars and Stripes” collection. No sale.
176(j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.
The New York Times declares its independence from proper respect for the flag.
176(i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.
And the Star Tribune followed suit on its Facebook page. (h/t: Ben Chorn)
And you, Burger King. (h/t: Mark Snyder)
Now, this requires some more research. An American flag urn, forwarded by Bill Childs. We’re going with “violation,” again under the admonishment that the flag shouldn’t be used to hold anything.
Which is why this is a violation, too. Forwarded by Andy Fetzer. “I live in the far western suburbs of Chicago and I often see what I feel is a perfect example of a bad idea gone badly.” There are any number of problems here. But this flag is rusting.
176(k) The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.
Sometimes, though, you just have to make an exception. Editorial cartoonist Steve Sack gets a pass for his cartoon today.
Keep the violations coming. You can post images in the comments section below.