Flag flying dynamics

Flag flying dynamics



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How many flags are allowed to be on one pole?

Is a flag ever flown up side down at half-mast, more than 1 and why?


A flag is flown at half-mast in memoriam as long as deemed appropriate by the head-of-state of the sovereignty. Note that in U.S. state governors are deemed to be sovereign within their states in this regard. (The precise delineation between Gubernatorial and Presidential authority in this regard is a Constitutional Law issue on which SCOTUS hasn't ruled on yet (to the best of my knowledge).)

For the death of a particularly important personage of a sovereignty it is traditional to fly the flag at half-mast until internment. This was, for example if perhaps reluctantly, the case for the death last summer of John McCain.

President Trump belatedly issued a statement praising McCain's service to the country, and signed a proclamation ordering flags to be flown at half-staff until McCain's interment

In both Canada and the U.S. protocol is that a flag is flown upside down only as a signal of extreme distress; otherwise doing so is regarded as desecration.


Letter: Flying the American flag upside down is disrespectful and treasonous

It has become a trend since the inauguration of President Biden that some so-called patriotic Americans are flying the American flag upside down. My thoughts to you are that you are neither patriotic, nor are you are a good American.

It was said that the Democrats could not get over the 2016 election, but it seems like some of you cannot get over the loss of Donald Trump so you have taken to the despicable act of dishonoring our flag because your candidate lost. This is America and this may be considered freedom of speech. Well, as my grandma used to say, everything that you can say, you should not say.

Freedom of speech has a responsibility and for you to fly the American flag upside down you are totally irresponsible, just as what Trump did that led to the treacherous attack on our capital and this republic. It is also not lost on me that some of you were so disgusted when Colin Kaepernick knelt down, not to dishonor the American flag but to bring attention to the injustice in the judicial system. You thought that was an act of treason so you can&rsquot kneel. But you can fly the flag upside down, and that is neither an act of treason or an act of disrespect. Wrong!

This country is not in distress and going down, as your very immature, irresponsible, disrespectful and treasonous act to fly the American flag upside down tries to suggest. America will get through it because unlike what you believe about this country, we are still the greatest country on earth.


The Flag Itself

The portion of the flag denoting honor is the canton of blue containing the stars representing states our veterans served in uniform. The field of blue dresses from left to right and is inverted only when draped as a funeral cloth over the casket of a veteran who has served our country honorably in uniform. In the U.S. Armed Forces, at the ceremony of retreat, the flag is lowered, folded in a triangle and kept under watch throughout the night as a tribute to our nation's honored dead. The next morning it is brought out and, at a ceremony of reveille, flown high as a symbol of belief in the resurrection of the body.


When & How to Fly the Flag - U.S. Flag Store

Do you know where and when it's appropriate to fly the American flag? Of course, it is your right to fly the flag any day. However, there are certain holidays such as President's Day and Flag Day when it is recommended to fly Old Glory. The United States Flag Code addresses all of the ins and outs of displaying, caring and disposing the American flag. At the United States Flag Store, you will find more than just an amazing selection of flags, flagpoles and accessories. You will also discover a wealth of information about flags, including when and how to fly the flag.

January 1st New Year's Day

3rd Monday in January Martin Luther King Day

January 20th Inauguration Day

February 12 Lincoln's Birthday

February 22 Washington's Birthday

3rd Monday in April Patriot's Day

2nd Sunday in May Mother's Day

May 15th Peace Officers Memorial Day

3rd Saturday in May Armed Forces Day

3rd Sunday in June Father's Day

July 27th Korean War Veteran's Day

1st Monday in September Labor Day

September 11th Patriot Day

September 17th Constitution Day

Last Sunday in September Gold Star Mother's Day

November 11th Veteran's Day

4th Thursday in November Thanksgiving

December 7th Pearl Harbor Day

December 25th Christmas Day

Varied State Birthdays & Holidays

Varied Other days proclaimed by the President of the USA

Hours

For a stationary flag displayed on a building, pole or staff, it is customary to fly it from sunrise to sunset. You are only permitted to display your flag at night if it is properly illuminated. This means that you must have a light dedicated to "spotlighting" your flag. A street light or well lit area will not provide enough light. With the right lighting, you can fly your flag 24 hours a day for as many days as you like.

Location

According to the Flag Code, the American Flag should be flown:

  • On or near every polling place on election days Voting is one of the most important rights we have as American people. It, like the flag, represents our freedom, and stands as a basis for our governmental structure. It is a requirement that the flag is flown on election days at polling places.
  • On or near the main administration building of all public institutions
  • On or near every schoolhouse (during school days) The flag is to be flown at public schools and colleges to instill a sense of patriotism in the students. These institutions are owned by the government and important to the nation. Although it is strongly suggested to fly the flag in these areas, it is not required.

Conditions

If you haven't invested in an all-weather flag, make sure you bring your flag indoors in weather conditions like rain, snow, sleet or hail. Even all-weather flags can be damaged by severe storms, causing them to become torn and tattered. A damaged flag is disrespectful to our nation, and will require repair or replacement.

The Flag Code describes the flag as a living thing, and it should be treated as such. With the proper care, your flag can last for a long time with little or no repair.

Position

The flag should always be displayed upright with the union to the top left. Flying the flag with the union down is considered a "breach of etiquette" (Sharpman). However, it can be used as a call for help, similar to SOS, if you are in extreme danger and need assistance.

Throughout the years war protesters have flown the flag upside down to show that the entire country is in distress. It is still a debate whether this should be considered a desecration of the flag or an expression of free speech. It will usually attract negative attention from law enforcement and civilians alike.

On the United States Flag Store's website, you can explore an entire section devoted to the topic. The When and How to Fly the Flag section incorporates all the pertinent information about the appropriate hours to fly the American flag as well as proper conditions, locations and even positions.

Did you know the American flag should only be flown from sunrise to sunset? If you choose to fly your flag at night the United States Flag Code dictates that it be properly illuminated and not from the glow of a street lamp.

Did you know the US Flag Code considers the American flag to be a living entity? Read up on all the interesting flag facts at the United States Flag Store.


Why The Confederate Battle Flag Is Even More Racist Than You Think

Last week’s massacre of nine black churchgoers by a white gunman in Charleston, South Carolina, re-ignited debates over the Confederate battle flag.

While federal and state flags were lowered to half-staff in the wake of the shooting, the symbol of the Confederate forces flew high over the state’s Capitol grounds in Columbia. That flag is padlocked in place, preventing it from being lowered to half-staff, but many activists, politicians and regular citizens want it gone altogether, citing it as a symbol of racism and hate.

Even South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called for the flag's removal from the statehouse at a Monday press conference, saying that the symbol "does not represent the future of our great state."

While some supporters of the flag say they see it as a racially neutral symbol of Southern heritage, the flag has strong ties to racial injustice that extend far beyond the Civil War.

The flag flown above the Capitol grounds in Columbia and commonly called "the Confederate flag" was never actually the official flag of the Confederate States of America. The CSA had three national flag patterns between 1861 and 1865, which can be viewed at the Museum of the Confederacy website.


A flag at Vicksburg National Cemetery in Vicksburg, Mississippi, bearing the original "stars and bars," the First National pattern of the Confederacy.

However, because the first CSA national flag was so similar to the United States flag, it was difficult to tell which flag was which on the battlefield. That’s why the Army of Northern Virginia began using a separate battle flag that looked like a square version of the flag most people are familiar with today.

An oblong version of this flag was used by the Army of Tennessee and adopted as the Second Confederate Navy Jack. This version is the one most strongly associated with the Confederacy today, and has been nicknamed the “rebel flag,” “Southern cross” or “Dixie flag.” It’s sometimes incorrectly called the “stars and bars” -- a term that actually refers to the stars and bars present on the CSA’s first national flag.

Champions of the battle flag argue “it’s not a racial thing,” but it’s tough to deny the pattern has strong links to slavery.

Those who believe slavery was not a central point of conflict in the Civil War may wish to peruse the South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas declarations of secession. Those documents all explicitly cite threats to slavery as reasons for secession. Mississippi's declaration goes so far as to say that “a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization.”

Pulitzer Prize-winning author James McPherson, as quoted by the Civil War Trust, explains:

The Civil War started because of uncompromising differences between the free and slave states over the power of the national government to prohibit slavery in the territories that had not yet become states.

McPherson adds that the government refused to recognize the secession because they feared it would result in the U.S. turning into "several small, squabbling countries."

It was not until long after the Civil War ended, however, that the battle flag began to take on even stronger connections to racial injustice.

In the late 1940s, the flag was adopted as a symbol of the Dixiecrats -- a political party devoted to, among other things, maintaining segregation. They also opposed President Harry S. Truman’s proposals to instate anti-discrimination laws and make lynching a federal crime.

Some of the Dixiecrats went so far as to declare their commitment to “white supremacy,” according to The Confederate Battle Flag: America’s Most Embattled Emblem by John M. Coski.

Coski writes that though the Dixiecrats soon faded into obscurity, their campaigns “made the flag a fixture in places where it had been only a novelty before.” Coski gives the example of the University of Mississippi, which he notes rarely used the battle flag as a symbol prior to 1948. He says the university began heavily incorporating the symbol into school activities and events a few months after students protested against Truman’s civil rights proposals.

Notably, Ole Miss is the same institution that erupted into riots in 1962 when the federal government insisted that the school accept a black student.

In 1963, the year after the Ole Miss riot, Alabama Gov. George Wallace raised the flag over the state Capitol in protest against desegregation, as described by the Georgia State Senate Research Office in a 2000 report.

The same report found that the integration of the battle flag into the Georgia state flag in 1956 was racially motivated. When the pattern was incorporated into Georgia's flag, the researchers wrote, the state “was in a desperate situation to preserve segregation.”

Resisting, avoiding, undermining, and circumventing integration was the 1956 General Assembly’s primary objective. The adoption of the battle flag was an integral, albeit small, part of this resistance.

The flag has also periodically been flown by the Ku Klux Klan -- though to be fair, so has the United States flag.

Though some people may genuinely feel that the Dixie flag represents their Southern heritage or commemorates those who lost their lives in battle, the reality is that in far more recent history, the flag has been used as an explicit symbol of racism and racial inequality.

That’s why, as John Oliver says, it should be lowered not just to half-staff, but all the way off of the Columbia flagpole.


American Flag Wall of Shame

This is a screen shot from promotional videos on the History Channel for BBC's hit show Top Gear. Is there anyone you know associated with the History Channel who could intervene with or remove this image? In the least, I would nominate it for inclusion in your infamous "Wall of Shame".

Submitted by Bill Jameson

"The flag should not be . allowed to touch the ground." (Flag Code, Section 7n)

These flags are flying at half staff and have been for over a week when the US flag and State of CT flag should be flying at full staff. The US flag is ripped and tattered. The flag of Japan flies from the same halyard below the US Flag. These flags and three more on the premises are all flying at half staff. They are flying on the grounds of the Granby Middle and High School complex, Granby, Connecticut. Picture credit: WeThePeopleGranby.com

"When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace." (Flag Code, Section 7g)

"The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning." (Flag Code, Section 8k)

Section 7m. specifies the occasions upon which the flag may be flown at half-staff.

When the US flag is at half-staff, other foreign national flags are flown at full staff alongside the US flag flag. (Reference: Department of the Army Pamphlet 600-60)

Flag hangs in the bushes at a business in Smyrna, Delaware

"No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America." (Flag Code, Section 8)

"The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise." (Flag Code, Section 8b)

In an article meant to celebrate our independence, Apartment Therapy (a home decor website) posted a picture of a couch draped with a flag, as if it's a slipcover. The flag is touching the floor and certainly shown disrespect if someone actually sits on it. In the same article they also chose to use a picture of a flag hung vertically in the wrong orientation.

Submitted by Caitlin Weather

"When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and . to the observer's left." (Flag Code, Section 7i)

"The flag should not be . allowed to touch the ground." (Flag Code, Section 7n)

"The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery." (Flag Code, Section 8d)

New swimsuits for the 2011 summer season spotted at my local Walmart.

Submitted by Walmart Shopper, Weatherford, Tx

"The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery." (Flag Code, Section 8d)

US Flag with State Farm Insurance flag from the same halyard. John Kizziah State Farm Insurance office, Pensacola, Florida 32504.

"Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown." (Flag Code, Section 8i)

This is a photo of a USMC Color Guard from the local recruiters at a Veterans Day posting of the colors at Mt. Si High School showing the US flag on the marcher's left when it should be on the right.

Submitted by "Local Veteran," Snoqualmie, WA

"No other flag or pennant should be placed . to the right of the flag of the United States of America. [The flag's own right]" (Flag Code, Section 7c)

Living on the Oregon Coast doesn't expose me to much in the way of franchise operations . . . so, when a friend and I were visiting in Tucson, a military city, we were shocked and insulted to see this McDonald's, near Craycroft Road, displaying the American flag, with their logo flag underneath, on the same pole . clearly a violation of the Flag Code. Then, upon our return through Portland, Oregon, we stopped at the Tanasbourne Shopping Center on 185th Street, and discovered the same violation at their McDonald's, an American flag, with the McDonald's logo flag underneath, on the same pole. Perhaps this is a corporate policy, and one which needs to be halted. Please help spread the word.

Submitted by Sherry L. Vachio

"Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown." (Flag Code, Section 8i)

"The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery." (Flag Code, Section 8d)

This flag in Morgan Hill, CA has so deteriorated that it's difficult to even tell it's an American Flag! After pointing it out to several other customers, we all went in and asked the owner, who was in at that time, to at the very least take the flag down due to its condition. He said he would, but a month later it is still sadly flying.

"The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning." (Flag Code, Section 8k)

Update: The flag was removed the day after this posting.

I took this picture at a Joan Shepp store in midtown Manhattan.

Submitted by N.P., Philadelphia, PA

"The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery." (Flag Code, Section 8d)

Colorado Motor Vehicles Italian-American plate is wrong. The American and Italian flags are reversed.

Submitted by Bob Weber, Centennial, CO

"The flag of the United States of America, when it is displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, should be on . the flag's own right [viewer's left -webmaster], and its staff should be in front of the staff of the other flag." (Flag Code, Section 7d)

Hillsboro installs flag-painted fake fire hydrant as "tribute" to deceased K-9. No disrespect intended. they say.

Submitted by Carl Collins

"The flag of the United States is any flag of the United States, or any part thereof, made of any substance, of any size, accurate or not, that is recognized as a flag by the reasonable observer." (Flag Code, Section 3)

"No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America." (Flag Code, Section 8)

"The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything." (Flag Code, Section 8h)

The Fourth of July newspaper arrived on my doorstep with the advertising sticker affixed upon the image of the United States Flag. This happened city (if not area) wide according to people that I have talked to. I have received a personal apology from the publisher, and the paper printed three letters concerning the advertising sticker however the Virginian-Pilot has made no public apology for their lack of respect. I am sure the sticker was affixed at some point in the printing process, but one would think that someone, sometime before the paper was distributed would have caught the foul-up.

Submitted by J.H. Lewis, Norfolk, VA

"The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature." (Flag Code, Section 8g)

I found this in a middle school, while I was judging a high school debate tournament.

"Bunting of blue, white, and red . should be used for covering a speaker's desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general. (Flag Code, Section 8d)

1997 Bowman International Chrome Refractors Baseball Card Set. "Never really thought about these cards until recently but they've got a couple of violations."

"I don't need any credit for this and would prefer to remain an anonymous contributor."

"When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street." (Flag Code, Section 7i)

How much more disrespectful can FOX News get.

Submitted by R.L., Pagosa Springs, CO

"The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery." (Flag Code, Section 8d)

Seems like even in the birthplace of U.S. History, not 100 yards from the location of the "shot heard round the world", the local Historic Society still doesn't know how to hang the flag.

Submitted the 4th of July, 2010, by "the faithful citizens of Lexington MA."

"When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street." (Flag Code, Section 7i)

Here's one for you. The stars and stripes are on the wrong side of the door. They are on the right and should be on the left, as you enter. [The governor's office in California -webmaster]. It took a Chinese national to point out to the California Highway Patrol officers "guarding" the door.

Submitted by Andrew Bowden, December 17, 2008

"No other flag or pennant should be placed . to the right of the flag of the United States of America. [The flag's own right]" (Flag Code, Section 7c)

Attached is a copy of U.S. Flag paper tissues.

Submitted by Tim, Alpharetta, GA

"It should not . printed or otherwise impressed on . anything that is designed for temporary use and discard." (Flag Code, Section 8i)

"No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America." (Flag Code, Section 8)

"The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything." (Flag Code, Section 8h)

I just saw this. It is called the "Flag of Honor and Heroes" and contains in small type, the names of the victims of September 11. It seems patriotic, but you shouldn't write on the flag, I was taught.

"The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature." (Flag Code, Section 8g)

The flag should not to be used as a "skin" on a disposable camera. This was found on sale at Sam's Club.

"The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature." (Flag Code, Section 8g)

"The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything." (Flag Code, Section 8h)

This is on a business in Dallas TX, where the owner claims to be a former Marine. I have asked him on several occasions to change it.

"The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning." (Flag Code, Section 8k)

Update: The flag was removed shortly after the posting of this picture here.

A golf club!? "When on the course of human events. "

Submitted by Arlen, Long Island City, New York

"The flag should not be . allowed to touch the ground." (Flag Code, Section 7n)

"No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America." (Flag Code, Section 8)

What's good for business is good for America! Well, the flag should not be used as decoration on a credit card, no matter how American that seems!

"The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever." (Flag Code, Section 8i)

"The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature." (Flag Code, Section 8g)


Pride Flag to Fly in Chicago's Daley Plaza Throughout June For the First Time in County History

For the first time in Cook County history, officials raised the pride flag in Daley Plaza, where it will remain flying for the month of June.

The rainbow flag was raised Tuesday morning at 50 W. Washington St. in front of the Cook County Building, joined by a press conference with Kevin Morrison, the first openly LGBTQ Cook County commissioner.

"This sends a message to all the LGBTQ community throughout the entirely of Cook County that you are recognized, you are represented and that you should have pride in yourself and you should know the county is here to fight for you," Morrison said.

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Morrison said the flag represents pride in the community itself and flying aside the Cook County flag should show that the county will continue to fight for the rights of LGBTQ people.

"This is such a momentous moment for me personally," Morrison said. Growing up in the suburbs in Elk Grove Village, I never thought I would actually have the opportunity to serve as an elected official as my open, authentic self, as part of the LGBTQ community."

Pride Month officially kicked off Tuesday, bringing a wide array of celebrations to Chicago throughout the month of June.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many events and activities were canceled for the summer. As vaccinations increase across the city, though, there will likely be a strong return of pride celebrations supporting the LGBTQ+ community.


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We Asked Americans How They Feel About The U.S. Flag. It Got Interesting.

How do Americans feel about the U.S. flag? It's complicated.

Lynne Gilbert/Getty Images

On a fall afternoon, Mark Hurley, a retired Army and Marine veteran, was doing chores in his yard in Bennington, Vt. Hurley has two American flags flying in front of his home.

"It means tons to me," he said. "Regardless of what your opinion is on life, we are Americans we should be proud of that over everything."

Hurley, who is white and leans conservative, told NPR he sees the flag as something sacred, a symbol you salute, not a symbol you question. He worries his kind of patriotism is being eroded these days, in part because so many people are focused on issues of race.

America Reckons With Racial Injustice

Critics Accuse Trump Of Using Race To Divide Americans

"Let's talk slavery first. That happened two or three hundred years ago," Hurley said. "We should forget that, be beyond that. To me, as long as people are calling themselves African Americans or Jewish Americans, they're allowing the racism. They should be saying they're Americans, period."

This summer, the country's long struggle with systemic racism erupted, with hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets. When NPR asked Americans to share their thoughts about the U.S. flag and what it means to them right now, questions of race and identity came up again and again.

Many white Americans who described themselves as more conservative said they still see the U.S. flag as fairly simple and unifying.

"I think it's a symbol of the shared values and ideals of the United States," said Erin Doughtie, a white woman who works for a seed company in Clovis, Calif.

Denise and Kevin Lopez took their U.S. flag down for a time but after a family discussion put it up again outside their home. Courtesy of Denise and Kevin Lopez hide caption

Denise and Kevin Lopez took their U.S. flag down for a time but after a family discussion put it up again outside their home.

Courtesy of Denise and Kevin Lopez

Like Hurley, she voiced impatience with people who see the flag as a symbol burdened by racism: "The United States is still pretty much the most equal place you could have for people of different backgrounds. For people to compare the U.S. to an ideal is unfair."

But many of the roughly 1,800 people who responded to NPR's call out, especially people of color and those who lean more liberal, said it's not that simple. They told us the American flag comes with baggage that can't be ignored.

"With all the protests and the Black Lives Matter stuff happening, we took the flag down for a little bit," said Kevin Lopez, who works for Microsoft in San Pedro, Calif.

This summer, Lopez said, events like George Floyd's death in police custody shook their family. Kevin has Mexican and Irish heritage, his wife Denise is Black.

"It was pretty disheartening for a little while, with the way our people we're being treated," he said, explaining their decision to pull down the flag.

"And then Denise was the one who brought it up and said I want to revisit this. We had a family discussion about it."

After some soul-searching, the Lopez's decided to raise the flag again. But for them questions of racial justice aren't ancient history. They're a defining part of being American right now.

Code Switch

The Code Switch Podcast, Episode 7: You're A Grand Old Flag

Denise Lopez, an artist and designer, said for her the decision to reclaim the flag felt like part of that struggle.

"It was like a pit in my stomach," she said. "It was almost like, is it now like what the Confederate flag felt like for my parents? And I was like no, I'm not going to feel that way every time I see an American flag."

We heard a lot from people who shared this worry the U.S. flag has been weaponized, deliberately redefined as a more conservative symbol owned by some Americans more than others.

"We had a Black Lives Matter rally in our town and there were a lot of people driving by with American flags on the back of their pickup trucks as a counter-protest," said Ben Eagleson, a car mechanic who lives in Olney, Ill. "It was like those of us supporting Black Lives Matter were somehow un-American or something."

Eagleson, who is white, said he took his American flag down for a time, but it's flying again now on a pole outside him home.

An Vu, the son of Vietnamese immigrants, sent NPR a photo of the U.S. flag he flies next to his garage. He says he misses the time after the Sept. 11 attacks when the country felt more unified. Courtesy of An Vu hide caption

An Vu, the son of Vietnamese immigrants, sent NPR a photo of the U.S. flag he flies next to his garage. He says he misses the time after the Sept. 11 attacks when the country felt more unified.

"I'd let something that had always been for me a positive symbol take on a negative meaning and I guess I just decided to reclaim it," he said.

Regardless of race or political persuasion, a lot of Americans we heard from say they do see the U.S. flag as a hopeful and beautiful symbol, even in a time of deep national division when it has different meanings for different people.

An Vu told NPR he flies the flag over his front porch in Dearborn, Mich. Vu is a business analyst, the son of immigrants from Vietnam who first flew the U.S. flag when he was a kid after the terror attacks in 2001.

"I hope that flying the flag can return to what we felt like after [Sept. 11]," he said. "The sense of unity, the way were able to grow together after that was really amazing."

A lot of people told NPR that kind of national unity and shared meaning feels elusive now. For that reason, many have chosen to fly the flag next to other symbols to give it more personal context.

For some, that means raising the Stars and Stripes along with a "Make American Great Again" banner. For others, the American flag is flying alongside a gay pride banner or Black Lives Matter sign.


Obama Flag

Claim: Photograph shows a U.S. flag bearing an image of Barack Obama flying over a Florida county’s Democratic headquarters

Examples: [Collected via e-mail, March 2012]



Origins: This image of a U.S. flag flying in conjunction with another U.S. flag in which the traditional fifty stars in the blue canton have been replaced with an image of President Barack Obama came to public attention in March 2012. The latter flag had been flying for several months over the headquarters of Florida’s Lake County Democratic Party but was taken down on 2012 after complaints from veterans.

According to the Orlando Sentinel:

A short confrontation at the Democratic office ended when party chairwoman Nancy Hurlbert took down the controversial flag, which had been flying under an American flag on the same flagpole.

Hurlbert said it was the first time that anyone had complained about the flag, which was given as a gift and had been flying for several

months without any response from the public.

“I was surprised,” she said after taking down the flag. “No one had called us. We have a phone.”

The controversial flag has an image of Obama in the blue section where the stars are normally located. A similar flag was available for sale on eBay for $12.95.

Local veterans organized the protest after Don Van Beck, executive director of the Veterans Memorial at Fountain Park in Leesburg shared photos of the flag with others.

By 4 p.m., about half a dozen veterans arrived at the party office, where Van Beck asked Hurlbert to remove the flag, telling her that it was in violation of federal flag code. He gave her a POW/MIA flag to fly in its place.

Hurlbert came out and took down the flag, saying she had researched the matter. She didn’t take the POW flag offered as a replacement.

“We’re proud of our president and we didn’t realize it was in violation,” she said. “I am the chair and I take responsibility for this.”

According to FoxNews.com, Hurlbert said she intended to contact an attorney regarding the matter and remained as to whether she’ll fly the flag again. “I won’t say no and I won’t say yes,” she said. “We want to find out what our legal rights are.”

Florida Statute 256.05 governing the improper use of state or United States flag states that:

(1) Place or cause to be placed any word, figure, mark, picture, design, drawing or advertisement of any nature upon any flag, standard, color, ensign or shield of the United States or of this state, or authorized by any law of the United States or this state or

(2) Expose to public view any such flag, standard, color, ensign or shield upon which shall have been printed, painted or otherwise produced, or to which shall have been attached, appended, affixed or annexed any such word, figure, mark, picture, design, drawing or advertisement.

Whether the flag shown above actually violates the flag code is uncertain, because since it lacks the stars that appear in the canton of a standard U.S. flag, it could be considered a flag design rather than an altered version of an actual U.S. flag.

The fantastically fictional online tabloid Weekly World News spoofed this controversy with an article positing that “President Obama felt that the American flag, ‘like the Constitution,’ was old and needed updating” and would be replacing the American flag with the one featuring his own image.

In late 2012, the official Barack Obama campaign web site offered for sale a limited edition screen print showing a stylized rendition of the with the campaign logo replacing the field of stars in the canton:


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