Editorial submitted by Conrad Doyle
Last week, in my Op-Ed titled: LGBTQ+ flag flies over the Vatican. I asked the question, Why would the Vatican allow/sanction the flying of a flag that clearly represents the very tenets of the Catholic Church immediately after flying of the BLM (Black Lives Matter) flag from the same embassy? What I meant to ask was: Why would the Vatican allow/sanction the flying of a flag that clearly opposes the very tenets of the Catholic Church....
Now that correction has been made, let’s begin our research of the official rules of etiquette as pertains to the flying or use of the flag of the United States of America. According to USA.GOV web-site: The flag’s 13 alternating red and white stripes represent the 13 original colonies. Its 50 white stars on a blue field represent the 50 states. The colors on the flag represent: Red: valor and bravery, White: purity and innocence, Blue: vigilance, perseverance, and justice.
Time and space prevent a complete listing of the flag codes and rules of display and usage. Public Law 94-344, known as the Federal Flag Code contains rules for handling and displaying the U.S. flag. The language of the federal code makes clear that the flag is a living symbol. The following information can be found in a memo from the office of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In response to a Supreme Court decision which held that a state law prohibiting flag burning was unconstitutional, Congress enacted the Flag Protection Act in 1989. It provides that anyone who knowingly desecrates the flag may be fined and/or imprisoned for up to one year. However, this law was challenged by the Supreme Court in a 1990 decision that the Flag Protection Act violates the First Amendment free speech protections. Traditional guidelines call for displaying the flag in public only from sunrise to sunset. However, the flag may be displayed at all times if it’s illuminated during darkness.
The flag should not be subject to weather damage, so it should not be displayed during rain, snow and wind storms unless it is an all-weather flag. It should be displayed often, but especially on national and state holidays and special occasions. The flag should be displayed on or near the main building of public institutions, schools during school days, and polling places on election days. It should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously. Next week we will investigate exact rules & regulations of the usage of the flag such as draping it over a vehicle and answer this question: Is it permissible to drape a hearse with a flag when the deceased individual was a draft dodger?