What you should know behind the history of Flag Day and proper flag etiquette

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - National Flag Day is celebrated every year on June 14th to mark the adoption of the stars and stripes on our American flag.

The flag has a symbolic meaning to all Americans, but especially to veterans and active military members.

It’s a day to honor the flag, the traditions and military personnel in one.

“We all agree we should celebrate our flags. Most of us fly our flag every day,” said Chuck Damp, Legion Rider of American Legion Post 357 and Captain of Indiana Patriot Guard.

It’s believed flag day was born on June 14th, 1885.

A Wisconsin teacher named Bernard Cigrand organized a group of students to observe the official adoption of the stars and stripes as the American flag’s birthday.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation establishing the nationally-observed patriotic event.

More than 40 years later, congress sealed the deal with an official designation that has been in place ever since.

The flag has a long history and those who have spent their lives defending the nation, see the American flag as a symbol of freedom.

The colors red, white and blue were chosen with meaning and representation.

“When you stop and think about the many men and women in the military who have given their lives to protect and honor that flag. It's disgraceful not to show honor or respect to that flag now,” said Wayne Zwierzynski, Director of American Legion Post 357 and Captain Indiana Patriot Guard.

“And, another thing. The American flag represents our country and represents people who protect it our country. It’s a living thing. It’s emblematic the respect and pride we have for our nation,” said Ed Burris, Chamberlain for the American Legion Post 357.

Here are some reminders on a few proper flag etiquettes to keep in mind, especially with Independence Day right around the corner.

You might be disrespecting the American flag without even knowing it but here are a few to properly show respect to our flag.

That’s where the flag code comes into play.

The flag code was created to show people how to properly display the American flag.

The rules state they should be placed with honor and always to the right of other flags.

Don’t ever let them touch the ground.

And, they aren’t meant to be draped, used as a decoration or worn as a garment.

Flags should only be flown upside down in times of distress or emergency.

If an American flag is ripped, worn out or frayed, that means it is time to retire it.

Then, it should be disposed in a respectful manner and the American Legion Post 357 is one organization that can help with that.

“I see a lot of patriotism with flags flying on flag poles, or in the back of pickup trucks and vehicles. That’s all great and wonderful. I love it. But, if that flag is torn or tattered, unserviceable or dirty. It needs to be removed and replaced. And your local American legion, DAV, DFW, boy scouts all have a place to dispose of those flags,” said Damp.

And once a year, they all have a dignified flag retirement ceremony with all the flags they have collected to dispose of them properly.

For more information about the complete list of flag codes, you can head on over to The American Legion website here.

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