THE AMERICAN FLAG
Presentation of the flag during a ceremony should be preceded by a brief talk emphasizing the importance of the occasion. Following the presentation all present should salute the flag, recite the pledge of allegiance, and sing the national anthem.
FOLDING THE FLAG
- Two persons, facing each other, hold the flag waist high and horizontally between them.
- The lower striped section is folded, lengthwise, over the blue field. Hold bottom to top and edges together securely.
- Fold the flag again, lengthwise, folded edge to open edge.
- A triangular fold is started along the length of the flag, from the end to the heading by bringing the striped corner of the folded edge to meet the open edge.
- The outer point is turned inward parallel with the open edge, forming a second triangle.
- Repeat the triangular folding until the entire length of the flag is folded.
- When the flag is completely folded only the triangular blue field should be visible.
CARE OF YOUR FLAG
The life of your flag depends on your care. Dirt can cut fabrics, dull colors, and cause wear. Most outdoor flags can be washed in mild detergent and thoroughly rinsed. Indoor and parade flags should be dry-cleaned. Many dry cleaners offer free cleaning of U.S. flags during the months of June and July. Damaged flags can be repaired and utilized as long as the overall dimensions are not noticeably altered. American Legion Posts and local governments often have facilities to dispose of unserviceable flags. Store your flags in a well ventilated area away from any harsh chemicals or cleaning compounds. If your flag gets wet, never store it until it is completely dry. Wet folds cause permanent creases. Dampness ruins fabric and causes mildew. Pole care is also related to flag care. Rust and scale cause permanent stains and some metallic oxides actually eat holes in fabric.
The flag of the United States of America has 13 horizontal stripes, 7 red and 6 white. The red and white stripes alternating and a union which consists of white stars of 5 points on a blue field placed in the upper quarter next to the staff and extending to the lower edge of the fourth red stripe from the top.
The number of stars equals the number of States in the Union. The proportions of the flag as prescribed by Executive Order of President Eisenhower on August 21, 1959, are as follows:
- Hoist (width) of flag..................1.0
- Fly (length) of flag.....................1.9
- Hoist (width) of union...............0.5385
- Fly (length) of union..................0.76
- Width of each stripe.................0.0769
- Diameter of each star..............0.0616
"Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation. "
The resolution gave no instruction as to how many points the stars should have, nor how the stars should be arranged on the blue union. Consequently, some flags had stars scattered on the blue field without any specific design, some arranged the stars in rows, and some in a circle. The first Navy Stars and Stripes had the stars arranged in staggered formation in alternate rows of threes and twos on a blue field. Other Stars and Stripes flags had stars arranged in alternate rows of four, five and four. Some stars had six points while others had eight.
Strong evidence indicates that Francis Hopkinson of New Jersey, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was responsible for the stars in the U.S. flag. At the time that the flag resolution was adopted, Hopkinson was the Chairman of the Continental Navy Board's Middle Department. Hopkinson also helped design other devices for the Government including the Great Seal of the United States. For his services, Hopkinson submitted a letter to the Continental Admiralty Board asking "whether a Quarter Cask of the public Wine will not be a proper & reasonable Reward for these Labours of Fancy and a suitable Encouragement to future Exertions of a like Nature." His request was turned down since the Congress regarded him as a public servant.
SIZES OF FLAGS
The size of the flag is determined by the exposed height of the flagpole from which it is flying. The only consideration is for the flag to be in proper proportion to its pole. Flags which fly from angled poles on homes and those which are displayed on standing poles in offices and other indoor displays are usually either 3' x 5' or 4' x 6'. Color guards usually carry flags measuring 4' x 6'. Other recommended sizes are shown in the following table:
Courtesy: Federal Citizen Information Center
|Flagpole Height (ft.)||Flag Size (ft.)|
|20||4 x 6|
|25||5 x 8|
|40||6 x 10|
|50||8 x 12|
|60||10 x 15|
|70||12 x 18|
|90||15 x 25|
|125||20 x 30|
|200||30 x 40|