MENOMINEE - She is worn, tattered, threadbare, and has been flown over all of our battlefields, both foreign and domestic. She has been draped over the coffins of hundreds of thousands of our valiant armed forces as a final hug for their ultimate sacrifice. Through the highest points and the decrepit valleys of despair and hopelessness, she has remained steadfast and resolute, a symbol of what America is all about: freedom.
Many of our fellow citizens have taken our American flag for granted. They continue to talk while our national anthem is played; do not face our flag; leave their caps on; nor even stand. When I hear the national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner," I still get goose bumps and tears fill my eyes with pride that not only I am an American, but also for the sacrifices of our armed forces. For those of you that do not respect the flag or are unaware of the proper protocol, it is time that you become enlightened on flag etiquette. It is from all of the armed forces, both living and dead, that have enabled us to enjoy the freedoms we cherish today.
Here are some helpful facts from the United States Flag Code Standards and Standards of Respect from the American Legion:
1) When carried in a procession, the flag should be to the right of the marchers.
2) When other flags are carried, the flag of the United States may be centered in front of the others or carried to their right. When the flag passes in a procession, or when it is hoisted or lowered, all should face the flag and salute.
3) To salute, all persons come to attention. Those in uniform give the appropriate formal salute. Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute. Citizens not in uniform salute by placing their right hand over the heart and men with head cover should remove it and hold it to left shoulder, hand over the heart. Citizens who are not veterans or members of the armed services should not render the military salute. Citizens of other countries present should stand at attention.
4) All such conduct toward the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes.
I believe that we all need to honor our flag and all of the men and women that have worn our country's uniform. So, for those of you that haven't followed the correct protocol of respect for our flag because of being ill-informed or complacency, now there is no excuse. If you would like to comment on any of these articles or have ideas to share, you can contact me at email@example.com.
Dan Paul is the administrator at Menominee Catholic Central Elementary School. His columns, which explore family relationships, are published monthly in Lifestyles.