Since I was a little girl, my father instilled in me a love of my country and always had a very quiet, but profound, respect for the American flag. I can remember being at parades or an event where the flag passed by or the colors were presented. He would place his hand over his heart without prompting. And if he was wearing a cap, he would ALWAYS remove it.

As an adult, it infuriates me when I see a presentation of colors or I hear the National Anthem begin and I see grown men not taking off their ball caps and many adults not placing their right hands over their hearts. I think about my dad, my grandfather, my cousin, my brothers, and several dear friends who all served in the military. I think of family members and people I know who died defending that flag and all it represents.

The American flag is the decoration of choice for Independence Day. No matter how we all feel about the issues at hand, it is the symbol around which we all rally.

However, there is a proper way to display the flag, and those guideline are actually outlined specifically in the United State Flag Code originally adopted in 1923.

July 4th is one of the days that the code mandates that government building fly the flag.

Did you know you should never display the flag itself on a float in a parade other than on a staff, as when it is presented in a color guard? Did you know the flag should not be draped on a vehicle, nor should it ever drag on the ground?

According to the United States Flag Code:

The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.

And once a flag is considered no longer serviceable because it is too tattered and torn, it should be disposed of properly, preferably burning in a dignified and appropriate manner. The VFW and American Legion both have information available for proper flag disposal, and many veterans will be happy to answer any questions or assist citizens with the disposal of the Stars and Stripes that have completed their service.