Since You Asked: Is my neighbor obeying the flag code?
We have a neighbor who flies his U.S. flag on a flagpole 24/7, regardless of weather and unilluminated at night. Now he’s flying it upside down. Isn’t that contrary to proper flag etiquette?
— Michael, Medford
The U.S. flag code, which became law in 1942, lays out the ways to display and respect the flag of the United States and, as you suspected, your neighbor should probably touch up on some of the rules regarding flag etiquette.
For instance, according to the code it is custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open.
“However,” it reads, “when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.”
Perhaps your neighbor is concerned about violating the very next section of the law, which declares that the flag “should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.”
Regarding the upside down flag-flying, that’s also a no-no — unless, that is, your neighbor is attempting to signal you. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, the flag should never be displayed upside down unless you are trying to “convey a sign of distress or great danger.”
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