Flag etiquette: What does the law say?

Published 8:51 pm Wednesday, August 3, 2011

To the editor:

I recently read a letter to the paper about American flags, and how they are not properly displayed in many of Suffolk’s churches. The writer noted that the flags were to the right of the speaker, which is to the left of the audience. The writer believed that this was not appropriate.

However, it is, in fact, appropriate for the American flag to be placed to the right of the speaker (stage left).


Email newsletter signup

Title 4 of the United States Code, a section commonly referred to as “The Flag Code,” states, as follows:

“When used on a speaker’s platform, the flag, if displayed flat, should be displayed above and behind the speaker. When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium, the flag of the United States of America should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman’s or speaker’s right as he faces the audience. Any other flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker or to the right of the audience.”

Although it is important that the flag be given the utmost respect at all times, it is equally important to know how to respect it.

The American flag is a representative of this great nation in times of war and peace. It represents the country at home and abroad. The American Flag is known for its prominence on the battlefield, whether Iwo Jima or Fort McHenry. Globally, the American flag is probably the most universally known flag of all nations and people.

I think the previous writer still did a service to the community, because she understands the importance of respecting the American flag.

Andrew R. Owen