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With hearts filled with gratitude, we're going to celebrate the 4thof July this week! Such a fun and patriotic holiday honoring our nation’s birthday.

It’s around this time of year that many like to display the American flag and whether you call it Old Glory, Stars and Stripes, or the Star-Spangled Banner (all perfectly acceptable nicknames, by the way), let’s make sure we properly fly and pay respect to the American flag.

The flag may be flown all-year round as long as it is illuminated at night, otherwise, it’s flown from sunrise to sunset. Flags are to be taken down during inclement weather. Rain is fine – as long as you have an all-weather flag.

Your flag should always be kept in pristine condition- no holes, tears, tattered edges or fading allowed. And when it is time to retire the flag because it’s condition makes it no longer fit for flying, the preferred dignified way of disposing of it according to the U.S. Flag Code, is by burning it after you have folded it into a triangle. As it burns, those in attendance are to recite the Pledge of Allegiance or salute it, followed by a moment of silence. No hooting and hollering here. Other flag disposal options are to send it to a proper flag disposal service for recycling or look for an American Legion or VFW group in your community who will properly dispose of it for you. Under no circumstances are you to simply toss it in the trash can.

When flying the flag against a wall, the union part of the flag (the blue area with the white stars) is in the upper most left corner (from the observer’s point of view). When flying it on a pole, briskly raise it. When taking it down it’s to be ceremoniously (slowly) lowered. If the flag is displayed over the middle of the street, it should be suspended vertically. If it is an east and west street, the union is to point to the north while on north and south streets, the union should point to the east.

The flag is never to touch anything below it – like the floor, ground or water.

We often get asked about clothes and party supplies. One is to never wear the flag as a piece of clothing (as a camp/drape or cutting it into a pair of shorts). While not technically a breach of flag etiquette, some find it disrespectful to wear clothing with a picture of the flag on it – no matter how cute and festive and adorable it is. It’s an absolute no-no to use paper napkins, paper plates, or cups with the flag on it. These disposable items should not have a flag on them. Never use an actual flag as a tablecloth. That is why red-white-blue themed linens respectfully and festively and patriotically do the trick.

Happy 4th of July!

Have a marvelous week - Catherine and Jessica

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