A Day to Honor Our Flag

us-flag

In the United States, Flag Day is celebrated every year on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened that day by resolution of the Second Continental Congress in 1777. The United States Army also celebrates the Army Birthday on this date. Congress adopted “the American Continental Army” after reaching a consensus position in the Committee of the Whole on June 14, 1775.  Many cities and towns across America host parades and celebrations in honor of Flag Day and I bet my Army brothers have some sort of Army Party, but from what I hear it’s nowhere as big as the Navy Birthday.

There is no other country in the world that feels the same way about their flag. Ours is just another way that makes us special, and dare I say better? OK, I will…BETTER! As for Flag Day, take some time to review the Federal Flag Code and make sure you’re displaying it properly and giving it its due respect. On the national level, the Federal Flag Code provides uniform guidelines for the display of and respect shown to the flag. In addition to the code, Congress has by statute designated the national anthem and set out the proper conduct during its presentation.

The code is designed “for the use of such civilian groups or organizations as may not be required to conform with regulations promulgated by one or more executive departments” of the federal government, which means the Flag Code does not prescribe any penalties for non-compliance nor does it include enforcement provisions; rather the code functions simply as a guide to be voluntarily followed by [Patriotic] civilians and civilian groups. As a Cub scout leader, I recently led the retirement of twelve US Flags, and it was great to show the boys how to respect our stars and stripes.

In addition to the Flag Code, a separate provision contained in the Federal Criminal Code established criminal penalties for certain treatment of the flag. Prior to 1989, this provision provided criminal penalties for certain acts of desecration to the flag. In response to the Supreme Court decision in Texas v. Johnson (which held that anti-desecration statutes are unconstitutional if aimed at suppressing one type of expression), Congress enacted the Flag Protection Act of 1989 to provide criminal penalties for certain acts that violate the physical integrity of the flag. This law imposed a fine and/or up to one year in prison for knowingly mutilating, defacing, physically defiling, maintaining on the floor, or trampling upon any flag of the United States. In 1990, however, the Supreme Court held that the Flag Protection Act was unconstitutional as applied to a burning of the flag in a public protest.

So just because it’s not illegal, make sure you respect our flag. Fly her with pride today and every day.

Hooyah Old Glory!

Chris Sajnog