Honor Our Vets by Honoring Our Flag

Jennie Robinson, Huntsville City Council Representative District 3

By Dr. Jennie Robinson
City Council President
Representative District 3

We celebrate Veteran’s Day in November to honor those who defend our rights and our freedoms. My father served in the Army during WWII, the Korean conflict, and as an early advisor in Vietnam. When he passed away, my mother was presented with our country’s flag “on behalf of a grateful nation.” That flag was a symbol of his service to our country.

Our military men and women recognize the flag as a sacred symbol of sacrifice and service and they honor it in unique ways. An image of the US flag can be seen on military uniforms. But did you know that it appears backward? The flag is shown backward on military uniforms to make it look like it is flying in the breeze as the person wearing the uniform moves forward.  And the rule is that the blue field of stars should always be in the highest position of honor on the uniform, usually the right shoulder with the flag’s blue field facing forward.

Military protocol also requires that our nation’s flag is placed on the right of any other service flag. And while an organizational flag may be dipped to a reviewing officer in a parade or in salute during the National Anthem, the US flag is never dipped in salute.

Since our veterans recognize the significance of the flag under which they served, perhaps we might each honor our veterans by better honoring our nation’s flag. Here are some suggestions from Veterans of Foreign Wars regarding flag etiquette.

All persons in uniform should stand and render the military salute when the flag passes or is posted. Members of the armed forces and veterans who are not in uniform may render the military salute. All others present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.

When you fly the flag, remember that it is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.

Our flag represents freedom and sacrifice. When we honor the flag, we honor those who have fought for that freedom. Please fly the flag on November 11 in honor of those who have served and continue to serve.

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