By Lori Abbott
California News Service
SACRAMENTO — As Californians honor the country this Fourth of July, they’re being encouraged to follow proper flag etiquette when flying Old Glory.
Mike Buss, deputy director at the American Legion National Headquarters, says the U.S. flag is a symbol of unity that can be honored by all citizens, regardless of their views.
“The flag represents all of us,” Buss says. “It represents our country, it represents what we believe in, it represents our freedoms. We should always think of the flag in those terms, and it should be respected as such.”
According to the federal flag code, U.S. flags on display 24 hours a day must be illuminated at night, but it’s OK to leave a flag out in inclement weather — provided it is an all-weather flag.
Buss says if a flag becomes too faded or tattered, it should be taken down. If need be, an American Legion post will properly dispose of a flag in a ceremony.
He encourages all Americans to fly the flag every day of the year, especially on patriotic holidays, and addresses a common misunderstanding when it comes to American flag clothing.
“As long as an article of clothing isn’t made from an actual United States flag, then that’s fine,” Buss says. “We see lots of people that have the United States flag silk-screened on a T-shirt. That’s great, they’re being patriotic.”
The American flag was officially adopted 237 years ago, one year after the United States declared its independence from Great Britain. The flag’s design has been modified 26 times. The current 50-star flag was ordered in 1959 when Alaska and Hawaii came into the union.