Good Old respect

Published 6:16 pm Wednesday, June 10, 2009

“This flag, which we honor and under which we serve is the emblem of our unity, our power, our thought and purpose as a nation. It has no other character than that which we give it from generation to generation.”

Woodrow Wilson’s 1917 Flag Day message addresses the symbolism as well as the endurance of our national banner.

The American flag is seen in numerous places-at ball games, on houses and in front of public buildings.

Although Americans offer their allegiance to the Stars and Stripes, many are not aware of the proper ways to handle an American flag.

Early Popwell, Sergeant at Arms for American Legion Post 6, said respecting the flag is a symbolic and memorial gesture.

“It represents our country,” Popwell said. “Our boys fought for the right to have that flag and it represents our whole country. It should be honored.”

A flag is supposed to be in good condition when displayed and lighted if flown after dark. Unless the flag is weatherproof, it is not to be flown during inclement weather.

Lowering a flag can be tricky, as there is a specific way to fold it as it is taken down.

“You generally need two people to do it,” Popwell said.

Popwell said he does not see adults mishandle the flag, but often children do not properly handle the flag because they don’t know any better.

Popwell said a lot of people are unaware of the proper ways to care for the flag beyond basic respect.

For example, Popwell said people often forget to lower their flag to half-staff following the death of a prominent or influential citizen or a soldier.

“They don’t realize that they should honor the people that gave their lives for it,” Popwell said.

When a flag becomes worn out, it should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.