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U.S. flag etiquette to remember for Memorial Day

Summer, more than any other season, evokes feelings of patriotism in most Americans. Probably because it starts with holidays like Memorial Day and Flag Day, and nothing says summer quite like the Fourth of July.If you're feeling patriotic this year and want to show off your pride for your country, there's no better way to do so than to fly the colors. Here's some guidelines on how to properly display Old Glory outside your house:

If you're going to display the flag for 24 hours, be sure it is properly illuminated; otherwise only fly it from sunrise to sunset. Don't fly the flag in bad weather, unless you're using an all-weather flag.

If you're using a flagpole, the U.S. flag goes at the peak, above any other flag you may be flying.

If you're flying it from a staff that projects from your house, be sure the union (the blue area with stars) is at the peak of the staff.

If you're going to hang it from a window or balcony without a staff, be sure the union is at the top to the flag's own right and to the observer's left.

Don't fly a flag that is dirty or torn.

When carried in a procession with another flag or flags, it should be on the marching right – that is, the flag’s own right, or amid a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line.

Avoid displaying flag in inclement weather, except when an all-weather flag is used.

Flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.

When covering a casket, flag should be so placed that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground.

Carry flag aloft and free, instead of flat or horizontally.

Avoid use of flag as apparel, bedding or drapery.

For duration of display, the universal custom is sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, for a patriotic effect, 24-hour display outdoors should include proper illumination during darkness.

Eight sites exist where the flag is flown day and night under specific legal authority: Fort McHenry National Monument and Flag House Square, both in Baltimore; the U.S. Marine Corps Iwo Jima Memorial, in Arlington, Va.; Lexington, Mass.; the White House; Washington Monument; U.S. Customs ports of entry; and Valley Forge State Park in Pennsylvania.

Here is the VFW's guidelines for properly disposing of the American flag:

"The flag should be folded in its customary manner. It is important that the fire be fairly large and of sufficient intensity to ensure complete burning of the flag.Place the flag on the fire. The individual(s) can come to attention, salute the flag, recite the Pledge of Allegiance and have a brief period of silent reflection. After the flag is completely consumed, the fire should then be safely extinguished and the ashes buried. Please make sure you are conforming to local/state fire codes or ordinances."

Visit www.usflag.org or www.vfw.org for more information or if you need help on how to properly dispose of an old flag.

Source: U.S. Flag Code, at/www.senate.gov/reference/resources/pdf/RL30243.pdf

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