Did you ever hear that there are more than 1.3 million active-duty military personnel in America?
While everyone in the military works hard to keep their comrades safe, we’ve lost so many brave men and women throughout our history. Memorial Day is an emotional occasion when we honor and remember the brave people who’ve given their lives to the United States. One powerful symbol that represents the sacrifices of these heroes is the American flag.
Have you ever been educated on Memorial Day flag etiquette? Continue reading for the full breakdown of this holiday and what you can do to honor those we’ve lost.
The Memorial Day Meaning
To lay our foundation, we need to grasp the meaning behind Memorial Day. This solemn holiday, observed on the last Monday in May, is a time to remember every brave soul who served in the military.
We used to call this holiday a different thing: Decoration Day. Its roots trace back to the Civil War when communities gathered to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers and flags.
Memorial Day should remind us of the sacrifices others made to preserve our freedoms. With this fresh in our hearts, we should express our gratitude to them. The American flag, a symbol of their sacrifice, is a powerful representation of their courage and commitment.
Memorial Day is often associated with fun parades, barbecues, and outdoor activities. It’s crucial to remember the true purpose behind this day. You should visit local memorials or cemeteries and participate in commemorative events that honor their memory.
It’s kind to extend Memorial Day etiquette beyond the day itself. Throughout the year, we should continue to display the flag with respect. By doing so, we honor the memory of those who have served and remind ourselves of the ongoing importance of their sacrifices.
The American flag fills Americans with pride since it’s a symbol of freedom, courage, and sacrifice. When displaying the flag on Memorial Day, you have to adhere to certain protocols to show proper respect.
One of the most visible signs of respect is the act of half-masting the American flag. On Memorial Day, you should raise the flag up to the peak of the flagpole and then slowly it lowered to half-mast until 12 pm. Once it’s midday, you should raise the flag to full staff until sunset.
The half-mast position honors the fallen. The full staff position symbolizes the living who continue to fight for freedom. Half-masting the flag is a longstanding tradition that allows us to recognize the sacrifice of our fallen heroes.
Raising the flag to full staff from noon until sunset represents our commitment to continue their legacy and protect the principles they fought for.
Displaying the Flag on Memorial Day
When displaying the American flag, it should always be positioned above other flags or banners. If multiple flags are flying together, you need to hoist the American flag first and lower it last. It should also be the largest flag present and held in the highest position of honor.
Properly displaying the American flag ensures that it receives the prominence and respect it deserves. Placing it above other flags or banners showcases its significance and acknowledges its role as a national symbol.
By holding it in the highest position of honor, we show our unwavering respect and gratitude for fallen soldiers. If you don’t have a beautiful American flag yet, you can find the perfect one at ultimate flags.
If you choose to keep the flag displayed throughout the night, it should be illuminated well. This ensures that the flag remains visible and respectful at all times. Using a spotlight or dedicated lighting fixture is an appropriate way to achieve this.
It’s also poetic to still see the flag as clear as day, even during the darkest hours. People can reflect on how our country has been able to persevere even when it seems too hard.
In addition to lighting, make sure that nothing outside obstructs the flag in any way. Many people enjoy presenting their flags in the middle of their lawns, away from greenery and other possible obstructions. It’s beautiful to watch it flap in the breeze freely.
Handling and Folding Flag Protocol for Memorial Day
When handling the American flag, it should never touch the ground or any other object that may soil or damage it. If the flag becomes worn or tattered, it should be retired in a dignified manner, preferably by burning. When folding the flag, it should get done in the proper triangular shape, representing the tricorn hats worn by colonial soldiers.
Respecting the handling and folding of the American flag is essential to preserve its integrity and honor its symbolism. The flag should always get treated with the utmost care and reverence.
Should You Host a Memorial Day Event?
After reading this Memorial Day flag guide, you might be wondering if it’s respectful to host an event. There’s nothing wrong with spending time with loved ones.
At some point during the event, ask everyone to join you for a moment of silence. During this time, you can all express your gratitude for everyone who worked so hard to shape this country. Afterward, the rest of your festivities will feel even more meaningful.
One thing that you should avoid is buying any products that have the American flag on them as decoration. This might seem patriotic, but the truth is that it’s disrespectful.
Everyone Should Follow Memorial Day Flag Etiquette
Memorial Day is a sentimental time to remember and honor everyone who’s ever served in the United States Armed Forces. Following Memorial Day flag etiquette will help you demonstrate your respect and gratitude.
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