Flag daze


Weekend assignment: Photograph the people violating the U.S. Flag Code, and send me the pictures. You should have no problem finding a violation if you know what to look for.

People have their heart in the right place when they make a statement about how much they love the American flag when they turn it into apparel, or napkins, or T-shirts. They just don’t know they’re doing the opposite.

Example: Above is a picture I shot at a Twins game last month. I’ve blurred out the kid’s face because he was so enthusiastic as he pushed the wheelchair of a woman who was among those singing the national anthem. He’s probably a real good kid. But he had the American flag as a hat on the way out to the field. And wore it as a shawl afterwards.

What’s wrong with that?

Check the U.S. flag code, Section 8:

(c) The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.

(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. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker’s desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.

(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.

Even a T-shirt with a flag violates the Flag Code. Who knew?

I haven’t been out on Highway 169 for a few months now, but the last time I was, Belle Plain still hadn’t fixed one of the more egregious signs of disrespect for the flag in the Twin Cities that I pointed out in December.

No doubt, that wasn’t the intent of the organizers of the “Welcome Home, Troops” display. But that’s the net result.

A lot of politicians — especially those who want an amendment to protect the flag, show their love for it by wearing it.

On this holiday weekend, perhaps the best way to respect the flag and what it represents is to understand the proper way to do that.