Why It’s Important to Fly an All-Weather American Flag

Is your old flag looking a little old and beat up? Is it past its prime? When your flag is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of the American nation, it’s time to retire it and hang up a new one.

With the Fourth of July coming around, you might be thinking about investing in a new flag or purchasing one for the first time to show a little Patriotic pride. Before going out and purchasing a flag, however, it’s important to determine the right American flag for you. Continue reading

Flag Pole Guide

American flag outdoors flagpole

The United States flag holds an important place in American history. The U.S. flag has a history as rich, and almost as long, as the United States itself! It is unknown who designed the first stars and stripes or who made it, although Betsy Ross is recognized as sewing the first flag and it is thoughts that Congressman Francis Hopkinson designed it.

The first Flag Act was passed by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. It stated, “Resolved that the flag of the United States be made of 13 stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.” The flag as we know it (apart from a few stars) was prescribed by an Executive Order of June 24, 1912, which standardized the order of the stars and the proportions of the flag. Continue reading

American Flag Selection Guide

The American flag selection guideFinding the best flag for your intended display is no easy task. Depending on your flag’s function, your location and where you want your flag displayed, available options can vary drastically.

When choosing a flag, it’s important to consider its purpose, as that will help you determine the size and the material of your potential investment. If you’re considering setting up a display for an indoor setting, like in your home or a public lounge, you’ll have a large variety of materials and flagpole compositions to choose from. Continue reading

American Flag Guidelines You Need to Know

You have no doubt been wondering, ever since 1923, exactly how the American flag ought to be displayed. That, of course, being the year that the government ratified the United States Flag Code, although at that time it was more or less merely a codification of the procedures and regulations that the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army had already been following.

The next year, as you recall, the National Flag Conference made some slight changes to the Code and called it good, leaving it to Congress to eventually draft a resolution recognizing the Code as Law. Which, you certainly recollect, they got around to doing in 1942. Continue reading

The National Flag: A Patriotic Symbol

american-flag-795305_1280Brief History of the Flag

The American flag has long been a symbol of the values held by our Founding Fathers: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Betsy Ross, a widowed seamstress living in Philadelphia, created the first flag for all of the colonies in May 1776 at the urging of General George Washington and several other members of the Continental Congress.

The flag was hand sewn just two months before the colonies declared independence from Great Britain and the crown. Prior to that time, various colonies and militias had used their own flags, ranging in design from the Rattlesnake Flag with its infamous “don’t tread on me” to those which incorporated the Union Jack, indicating loyalty to the crown.

On June 14, 1777, in an effort to promote national pride and to unify the 13 separate colonies as one United States of America, the Continental Congress adopted the national flag. It had 13 stripes, alternating red and white, to represent the 13 colonies, and 13 white stars in front of a blue background. Since then, there have been 27 iterations of the new flag. Each version was created on the July 4th following a new state’s or states’ admission to the union. 

Symbolism in the American Flag

These days, Americans do not think twice about red, white, and blue as the colors of our nation, but these colors were selected based on their meaning. White signifies purity and innocence; red signifies valor and bravery; and blue means perseverance and justice. Similarly, the stars and the stripes hold their own significance. Stars are from the heavens, and the original 13 stars represented a new constellation – a clear metaphor for a new nation. Stripes are symbolic of rays from the sun. The combination of these pieces and colors yields a flag that symbolizes traditional American values to all who see it; hence, the commonly used nickname “The Stars and Stripes.”

American Flag Holidays

The celebration of the birthday of the United States of America, or, as it is more commonly known “Independence Day,” is traditionally celebrated on July 4th of each year. However, in 1885, a schoolteacher named BJ Cigrand from Wisconsin initiated the idea for a separate holiday to specifically celebrate the American flag.

From this one school in a small Midwestern town, the idea spread across the country, with President Woodrow Wilson officially establishing Flag Day by proclamation in 1916.

While many communities celebrated Flag Day, it was not until August 3, 1949 that President Harry Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th as the official day of celebration for Flag Day.

Properly Displaying the American Flag

There are a number of ways to properly display the American flag, depending on the circumstances. However, one universal rule regarding the American flag is that, if it appears on a flagpole, it must be raised to the peak at sunrise and lowered at sunset. There is also a proper way to fold the flag, which leaves it in the shape of a triangle. This is how the flag is presented to the family of fallen soldiers or veterans after a military funeral.

While many people choose to display their flags outdoors, there are indoor flags as well. Some opt to hang the flag, which should be suspended vertically; others prefer to display it on a flagpole. If the American flag is displayed currently with other domestic flags (of states, cities, localities, etc.), it should always be at the peak.

When the American flag is flown at half-staff, it must first be hoisted to the peak of the flagpole for a moment, and then immediately lowered to its half-staff position. The flag must be raised again to the peak before it is lowered altogether for the day.

Purchasing an American Flag

When buying an American flag, there are a number of considerations that should be taken into account. Modern-day American flags are easy to acquire and, thus, not particularly expensive. However, many of these flags are made overseas, including in China, which seems not only ironic, but also somewhat unpatriotic.

Every year, nearly $4 million dollars’ worth of American flags are imported to the United States. Prior to 9/11, the majority of American flags were made in the U.S., but demand soared following the terrorist attacks and the surge of patriotism that followed.

In 2014, Congress passed legislation, written by Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA), banning the Department of Defense from using any foreign-made flag to fly above a military installation, either on U.S. soil or abroad, as part of the omnibus appropriations bill.

Another bill calling for a ban on all foreign-made flags at all U.S. government agencies fell short, attributed to the higher cost and to trade agreements with China, the largest producer of American flags.

Those interested in purchasing a flag should ensure that the company making the flags manufactures them exclusively in the United States, as does AmericanFlags.com. This will usually be stated on the website. If you prefer to purchase the flag in person, look for a label that says “Made in the U.S.A.”

Service Flags of the United States

military-659893_640More Than Just a Flag

The freedom we enjoy as American citizens has not, nor has ever, been given freely. It was hard fought and hard won, requiring enormous sacrifice on the parts of military service members and their families. Today that freedom is still hard fought, and the sacrifices made just as enormous.

Making sure we honor current American service members and veterans is essential. Whether you donate your time or your money, or even only fly a new flag in support of their service, we can all do more to show how grateful we are to those extraordinary individuals who give everything of themselves to make this a better country for everyone else.

Take a moment to read below and understand some of the different service flags of the United States. Knowing what the different flags mean is a simple, yet important way to honor and respect those who serve.

The Service Flag or Banner

The service banner is an official display authorized by the Department of Defense that the family of service members may fly. Defined by a white field and thick red border, a large blue star is present for every family member who gave service during any period of war or hostilities. A gold star outlined in blue represents a relative who died while in service.

During World War II, it became commonplace to display the service flag. Almost every private residence, as well as many organizations and businesses, began to display these banners proudly to demonstrate how many family members were serving in the armed forces.

In 1942, the veteran’s service Blue Star Mothers of America was founded, quickly becoming an integral part of the movement to provide military service members serving overseas with care packages. Additionally, it became one of their core missions to provide aid to families undergoing hardship because of a son or daughter serving in the war.

The service flag is made for indoor use and should be displayed on the inside of a window in the front of the home facing outward.

Other Service Related Flags

POW/MIA

The POW/MIA Flag was created for those Missing in Action and Prisoners of War during the Vietnam War. The flag is black with a white circle in the middle. There is a black silhouette of a concerned man, a watch tower with a guard holding a rifle, and a strand of barbed wire. Above that, in white letters, are POW and MIA with a white star. Underneath the disk is a black and white wreath above the words YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN.

Military Flags

Each branch of the Armed Forces has their own distinct flag with a long and distinguished past. The flags represent many decades of honor, tradition, and service. It is important to recognize and understand the differences when paying respect.

  • Army – “This we’ll defend” a snake atop the flag declares. A white base with blue insignia, a red banner at the bottom circumscribes the words: “United States Army.”
  • Marine Corps – A red banner with a golden eagle and anchor atop the world. It proudly bears the words “Semper Fidelis” – always faithful – and “United States Marine Corps” at the bottom.
  • Navy – A blue banner with an eagle in the foreground and a proud ship in the back, this flag bears the words “United States Navy.”
  • Air Force – An eagle perched atop the Air Force crest, it is surrounded by a semi-circle halo of stars.
  • Coast Guard – A white banner with a blue eagle insignia, this flag proudly bears the words: “United States Coast Guard.”

Holidays and Special Observances

In addition to the specific service flags and Armed Forces branch flags mentioned above, there are some holidays in which the American flag itself may be used to honor the service of American military personnel. Take a look at some of these important days:

  • May 15th – Peace Officers Memorial Day: Fly the flag half-staff all day.
  • Last Monday in May – Memorial Day: Fly the flag half-staff until noon, then raise to full-staff until sundown.
  • September 11th – Patriot’s Day: Fly the flag half-staff all day.
  • November 11th – Veteran’s Day: Fly the flag at full-staff until sundown. 
  • December 7th – Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day: Fly the flag half-staff all day

Conclusion

Military service is the bedrock of  the United States of America’s freedom. Without the men and women who serve in uniform, the United States would quickly become a shadow of its true self. The rights and privileges we take for granted every day would become meaningless, and the future would be a bleak one. It is a shuddering vision, although it provides all the more reason to thank and honor service members, veterans, and their families for all that they give. Recognizing service flags, and understanding something of their past, is an important way to give thanks. Fly a flag and honor those who serve.

Top 6 Flag Rules of American Flag Care

american-flagThe American flag represents the United States of America. It is an important part of our country and should be cared for in the manner it deserves.

Outdoor Display

The American flag should be displayed from sunrise to sunset at all government buildings and schools. The flag should be attached to a stationary flagstaff that has a prominent place out in the open so the flag can fly free and unencumbered. The flag should only be flown in good weather unless a flag that is constructed of weather resistant material is used. Flying a torn and tattered flag is not respectful.

The United States flag is not to be flown in the dark unless it is illuminated. Should you desire to fly your flag at all hours and in all conditions, AmericanFlags.com can provide flags of any size desired, constructed with materials designed to stand up to the toughest of conditions. They will also work with you to provide lighting solutions if you do not already have them in place.

The flags are to be flown with the union up, unless you are under duress, and should always be flown at full staff unless a time of mourning has been declared. When flying a flag at half-staff, first raise it all of the way to the top, and then ceremoniously lower it to half-staff. When bringing it down, raise the flag back to full staff prior to lowering it.

Indoor Display

The American flag should be displayed to the right of a stage and speaker (the left for the person facing the stage). All other flags should be placed to the speaker’s left. No flag should be larger or displayed higher than the American flag. If the flag is hung behind the speaker or on a podium, the flag may be horizontal or vertical, but the union is always to the observer’s left.

When being moved in a procession, the American flag must be to the flag’s own right or in the front center of any other flags. The American flag is never to be dipped.

Respect

The flag of the United States should not touch the ground or anything that is beneath it, including the floor, water, or another surface. If the flag gets wet, it is okay to lay it flat to dry it, since you should never fold a damp or wet flag.

To keep the flag bright and clean, it is acceptable to hand wash the flag with warm water and a color-safe detergent. Many times a dry cleaner will clean the American flag for free. During the cleaning process, be sure to keep the flag off of the floor or ground. Unless you are drying the flag, it should never be draped over anything, but always be kept upright and hanging or flying freely.

Storage

The flag should be folded properly before it is stored. The American flag should not be crumpled or tossed in a pile, put in a basket, etc. It should not be stored in any manner that would permit it to be torn, dirtied, or damaged.

To fold the flag, two people should face each other while holding opposite ends of the flag. Fold it in half lengthwise, twice. The union (blue) will be at one end. The person opposite the union starts by folding the flag in a triangular fold until they reach the union. Fold the union square into a triangle and tuck it into the folded flag.


Disposal

Should an American flag become worn or soiled, it should be disposed of in a dignified manner and never thrown in the trash. The most dignified manner is by burning it ceremoniously. Most military organizations such as the VFW or American Legion will take your old flags and make sure they are disposed of properly.

Salute

When the flag is being moved or presented, observers who are not in a military uniform should stand at attention and place their right hand over their heart. Men should remove their hats. Those who are in military uniforms should render the appropriate salute. Former members of the United States military or their family may choose to render a salute as well.

The same honor should be shown to the flag during the pledge of allegiance or singing of the national anthem.

One of the best ways you can show respect to and care for the flag is by purchasing a flag that has been designed and created to stand up to its use and purpose. At AmericanFlags.com, every flag is constructed of the finest materials with the highest-quality right here in the United States.

Moon’s Glory

American Flag on the Moon

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin planted an American flag on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. But where did it come from? There are a few theories, but ultimately no one seems to know for certain.

Dolores Black, a former seamstress for a flag company in Milwaukee, thinks she may have sewn it. She stated during an interview that she had sewn her name inside the webbing that would have been used to attach the flag to a pole. Unfortunately, that webbing and the manufacturer’s labels had to be removed in order to affix the flag to its aluminum pole, so even were someone to launch a multi-billion dollar operation to inspect it, there is no way to verify her assertion.

According to NASA itself, the flag was purchased off-the-shelf, with no special modifications until they attached it to the custom-made, gold-anodized aluminum pole used to support it. This flagpole featured a telescopic, hinged pole designed to hold the flag unfurled on the airless moon. The telescopic portion was apparently difficult to engage while the astronauts were wearing their spacesuits, so the flag was displayed slightly curled, giving the illusion that it was waving briskly in an absent wind.

Of course, the flag is no longer standing; Buzz Aldrin noticed it was knocked over by the rocket exhaust lifting the Eagle’s ascent module from the moon. Given that the lack of atmosphere means the sun’s ultraviolet rays are unimpeded, the flag is now undoubtedly bleached completely white. The store-shelf nylon it was made from would have disintegrated over the intervening years.

NASA’s determination to not see the space program used as an advertising gimmick means that no one now knows for certain whether the flag was purchased from a Sears store or from a government catalogue. Those records may simply not exist anymore. This makes it impossible to determine exactly where the original fabric came from, although that has not stopped at least two North Carolina towns from claiming they produced it. Burlington Mills in Rhodhiss was a source for the fabric used in the spacesuits, so there may be some legitimacy to their claim.

However, this only helps confuse the issue. Was the flag commissioned from a specialty fabric weaver in North Carolina, commissioned from a specialty flag retailer in Wisconsin, or purchased from a Sears store? Various parties have tried to determine the true origin, only to come upon the same tangle of conflicting stories we see above. Without some memo or directive coming to light these many years later, there seems to be no definitive answer.

The very act of placing a flag on the moon in the first place was not without controversy. Various treaties and international agreements stipulated that outer space was not to be subject to sovereignty or colonization, and planting an American flag could be interpreted as violating those agreements. In so doing, NASA specified that the flag was being raised as a symbol of pride and triumph, not to serve as a declaration of American ownership of the moon. Perhaps tellingly, the action was not protested by any governmental body in this or any of the following Apollo missions.

Symbolic and dramatic, the planting of the flag was the most-remembered portion of the extra-vehicular activities executed by the astronauts. But that flag was not the only one to make the trip. Smaller flags—one for each state and one for each member of the United Nations—were carried to the moon within the lunar module and brought back for presentation to governors and heads of state.

Technical considerations for such a small but powerful portion of the mission were many and varied. Once the decision to include a flag had been made late in the planning process, it had to be determined how best to transport it. There was so little room in the Lunar Landing Module that the flag wound up being fastened to the exit ladder. This necessitated designing and building a heatproof container for it, which was installed on the day of launch.

The astronauts had previously, along with all their other training, undergone practice runs of detaching the container, removing the flag, planting the flagpole, and erecting the flag itself. As mentioned, there was some trouble extending the horizontal portion of the pole, but the effect was so attractive that later missions deliberately left the extension partially retracted to duplicate it.

The whole assembly weighed less than ten pounds, and the entire process took less than ten minutes, but the payoff was tremendous. Regardless of from where the flag came, the whole world cheered at its placement. AmericanFlags.com is looking forward to sourcing flags for Mars and beyond, and this time we’ll know who made them.

 

The Stars and Stripes

American Flag

At its most basic level, a flag is simply fabric, some color, maybe a pattern, and some stitching to pull it all together. However, a flag is not the sum of the materials that make it up; the worth of a flag is in the sum of ideas that it represents. While Betsy Ross understood that the cloth she fabricated into 13 stars, and 13 stripes was to represent a burgeoning nation, she could not have foreseen what that banner would come to represent, what would become the fabric of the nation that was coming to life.

The American Flag at the White House

Rather, flying over the White House, or your own house, our American flag is now a universal symbol of liberty, freedom, and democracy the world over. Rather, raised by valiant Marines over Iwo Jima in that most iconic of images, or raised by your own family on the fourth of July, the Stars and Stripes is flown with pride, pride in our nation, in our noble history, and our present role as the guardians of liberty around the globe.

Crafted and first hoisted in rebellion during troubled times, the pigments and patterns have long encapsulated the elements of what it means to be American: pride, honesty, and the value of hard work. Strong and flexible, the very threads of the American flag reflect the complex interwoven mixture of cultures and values that have produced our unique and multifaceted national character.

The Colors of the Flag

While initially speaking of the colors of our Nation’s Great Seal, the shared colors of the Stars and Stripes have, over time, become enriched with meaning, expanding on our national legacy, each significant for the virtues and values they represent within our republic: White for the purity and innocence of a new nation; red to represent the valor, hardiness, and commitment that would be necessary to defend the republic; and blue to embody the vigilance and justice necessary to ensure the perseverance of the noble experiment the nation has built and sustained. A nation as Lincoln so eloquently stated, which was conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Is there any wonder why our flag commands such strong emotions and such respect across the globe?

Welcome to the Home of the American Flag

At AmericanFlags.com we pride ourselves on our selection of high quality American flags, made right here in the USA. We offer American flags made by Americans, for Americans, right here at home. You’ll also find flagpoles, and a wide array of other supplies to allow you and your family to demonstrate the pride you feel toward our great land. Holidays like the Fourth of July are, of course, ideal times to display your patriotism; however, your patriotic spirit need not wait for America’s birthday to be on display! Displaying the flag shows your true American spirit year round—that same spirit which has made America the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave for more than two centuries.

Along with our wide array of items to show your pride in our great land, AmericanFlags.com also offers a complete line of historic flags, military flags, world flags, state and city flags, along with flags advertising religious and sports affiliations for indoor and outdoor use. You won’t find a more comprehensive selection of quality flags anywhere else.

Our wide range of offerings reflects the extensive history of flags, from their origin in ancient times, to their prominent role in medieval heraldry, and their continued use to reflect pride in one’s origins, or more mundane affiliations. Banners praising sports teams, promoting public events, schools, and companies can be seen everywhere. Soldiers the world over bear their country’s flag on their uniforms with grace and pride. Global sporting events such as The Olympic Games or The World Cup offer vivid visual cascades of countries represented through color. Though admirable for their simple beauty alone, these flags clearly proclaim a simple, wordless message: “I belong.”

It is no doubt this message of belonging that brought the flag to the prominent role it plays in society today. At AmericanFlags.com you’ll find what you need to display your own feelings of belonging