Auburn Post 78 American Legionnaire Roger Olsen, Mayor Nancy Backus and Auburn’s Veterans Day event organizers wish to remind visitors to Auburn’s events on Saturday of the importance of observing proper etiquette regarding the United States flag.
“The Flag Code, which formalizes traditional ways of giving respect to our flag,” Olson said. “It specifies that in a procession the flag of the United States of America should be to the right of the marchers, and to the right or centered in front of any other flags.”
Event organizers also remind that parade observers should face the flag with their right hand over their heart; men are to remove hats or caps, and to do the same things during the Pledge of Allegiance or national anthem.
And those little flags handed out by veterans groups along the parade route? They should be accorded as much respect as the grand ones carried at the heads of military units and marching bands. Wave them as wildly as you will, but remember the U.S. flag must never touch the ground or another object.
Other rules of etiquette are:
• The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. It is not a drapery, bedspread, receptacle or shawl, and should not be embellished, used as advertisement or ornament.
• The flag should never have placed on it, or attached to it, any mark, insignia, letter, word, number, figure or drawing of any kind.
• A flag patch may be worn on the official uniforms of military personnel, firefighters, police offers and members of patriotic organizations, but otherwise, the U.S. flag should not be used as part of any costume or clothing.
• The flag should be flown only during daylight hours unless it is illuminated. It should be raised quickly, crisply, with determination, and lowered slowly into waiting hands, folded neatly and stored away. It should be honored as it is hoisted and lowered, the honor stance held until the flag is unsnapped from the halyard and the last note of music has died away.
• To signify mourning for principal government leaders or on presidential or gubernatorial order, the flag is first hoisted to full staff (the top of the pole), then slowly lowered to half staff (halfway along the pole). It is again raised to full staff before it is lowered at the end of day.
• On Memorial Day, the flag is displayed at half-staff until noon, and then at full staff until sunset.
• When used to cover a casket, the flag is placed with the union at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the grave.
• The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary, and destroyed by ceremonial burning when it is too worn to serve as a proper symbol of our country.
Auburn American Legion Post 78 helps in flag disposal twice a year.
“If you’ve got a flag that needs respectful disposal,” Olson said, “The American Legion can take care of that. Many Scout troops also provide the service.” A flag disposal box is located outside City Hall and more containers will be located throughout Auburn in the future.
For more information about correct flag etiquette, please visit usflag.org. For information on Auburn’s Veterans Day Parade, please visit the City’s official website, auburnwa.gov/vetsday or call 253-931-3043.