You are standing along the street on a warm summer evening. Perhaps sitting in a lawn chair you brought along for more comfort while you watched the parade. Friends and community neighbors all around you, waving from across the street.
It’s time. A watch or phone check proves it. Generally a siren announces it. The parade is coming. A policeman may lead to insure the way is clear and the crowd is not crowding too close.
A look up the street. The color guard is marching out front. Active military, retired members of Veterans of Foreign Wars or of the American Legion, ROTC cadets, Men or women in uniform carrying rifles and flags. Most prominent is the American Flag, Stars and Bars, Symbol of America, Our country.
What should you do to show respect for that flag?
Title 4, United States Code, Chapter 1
§ 9. Conduct during hoisting, lowering or passing flag
During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in a parade or in review, those present in uniform should render the military salute. Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute. All other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Citizens of other countries should stand at attention. All such conduct toward the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes
[private] No more looking around nervously to see what everybody else is doing. If you’ve never been taught how to stand at attention, simply stand up straight, face the flag, remove your head wear and touch your heart. It’s a simple show of respect for the symbol of your country. When the National Anthem is played or the Pledge of Allegiance is rendered, hold your show of respect for the duration while facing the flag.
I’m not throwing guilt at folks who have done it wrong. Until I read the rules again for this column I wasn’t sure I have been correct. I do OK at parades, and ball games, but I am guilty of another prominent infraction.
I fly the American Flag out front of Big House. Folks have called errors to my attention. I’ll correct them by removing my flag.
§ 6. Time and occasions for display
(a) It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flag staffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.
For a while, I had a light. Solar powered. Eerie looking small and ineffective, rather than bold,, I felt it was simply odd looking. I took it down.
Twice I’ve had comments that my flag was not flown at half staff when such action was ordered for whatever reason. Turns out there is a fair amount of time and expense involved in travel between Moorefield and Wardensville to properly display my flag.
Perhaps I’ll let it fly for this Fourth of July before I take it down. Then everybody will be happy except me. [/private]