This story originally appeared in the Armed Forces 2016 Festival Guide, published May 20, 2016.
The 68th annual Armed Forces Day Parade starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 21 in Bremerton.
The Flag Code, which formalizes and unifies the traditional ways in which respect is given to the U.S. flag, also contains specific instructions on how the flag is not to be used.
Federal law stipulates many aspects of flag etiquette. The section of law dealing with U.S. flag etiquette is generally referred to as the Flag Code.
Here’s what you need to know:
• The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. It is flown upside down only as a distress signal.
• The flag should not be used as a drapery, or for covering a speakers desk, draping a platform, or for any decoration in general. Bunting of blue, white and red stripes is available for these purposes. The blue stripe of the bunting should be on the top.
• The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose. It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. Advertising signs should not be attached to the staff or halyard.
• The flag should not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, except that a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, fireman, policeman and members of patriotic organizations.
• The flag should be lighted at all times, either by sunlight or by an appropriate light source.
• The flag should be flown in fair weather, unless the flag is designed for inclement weather use.
• The flag should never have placed on it, or attached to it, any mark, insignia, letter, word, number, figure, or drawing of any kind.
• The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
• When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object; it should be received by waiting hands and arms. To store the flag it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously.
• The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary.
• When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.
Parading and Saluting the Flag
When carried in a procession, the flag should be to the right of the marchers. 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.
To salute, all persons come to attention. Those in uniform give the appropriate formal 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.
Members of organizations in formation salute upon command of the person in charge.