Laws Regarding American Flags
There are laws that govern the public display of the American flag. It is important to display the flag in a stipulated manner only. It is laid down that the flag of the United States should have thirteen horizontal alternate red and white stripes and the union of the flag should flaunt fifty stars, white in a blue field. On the admission of a new State into the Union, one star is to be added to the union on the flag. Such additions are to be made on the fourth day of July. Any violation of the flag by way of printing, painting or placement would be deemed guilty and will be punished with a fine, not exceeding $100 or by imprisonment for not more than thirty days, or both.
When displaying the flag in the middle of a street, it has to be poised vertically. The union is to face the north when placed in an east and west street. When the flag is to be displayed with another country’s flag, the black American flag must be on the right. The flag when flown at half-staff should first be hoisted to the top for an instant and then be brought down to half-staff position.
When the flags of the states are hoisted with the national flag, the American flag must be hoisted up first and lowered last. No other flag can be placed above the US flag or to the right of the flag. When the flag is suspended over a sidewalk, the flag should be hoisted union first, from the building.
If the flag is used to cover a casket, the union should be at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground during a burial.
When can’t you display an American flag? The Flag Code lays out specifics for how a flag should be displayed, but such regulations aren’t punishable by law. Some states, on the other hand, have their own flag laws that often include some type of punishment for desecrating an American flag, which can include wearing it improperly or vandalizing one. But, for 60 million Americans, a third type of “law” or local regulation is factored into the debate of whether or not to display an American flag. This is often a homeowner’s association, which has the purpose of making sure property values are kept up and the area is clean. In terms of adding a flag, as seen in the recent issue surrounding veteran Van T. Barfoot’s flagpole, this often means getting a pass from your neighborhood’s homeowner’s association.
In Barfoot’s case, his local homeowner’s association near Richmond asked him to remove a flagpole displaying an American flag from his yard, as their regulation allows flags only to be displayed from poles connected to the house. While such rules include refusing or modifying other outdoor structures like carports, small buildings, fences, and walls, refusing to allow a flagpole on his property is seen as a display of anti-patriotism, especially considering Barfoot is a Medal of Honor recipient from his achievements in World War II.