Congress first stated that there should be a star and stripe for every state. Our first flag had 13 stars and 7 red and 6 white stripes. In 1794, two new states were added and we had a flag with 15 stars and 15 stripes. By 1818 there were 20 states, but our county was still using the flag with 15 stars and 15 stripes. Congress thought about having 20 stripes and agreed that it might become a problem because of its size so they passed a law that said there would be 13 stripes for the original 13 states, and they would add a star for each new state that joined the union.
The U.S. flag is 13 stripes: seven red and six white. A blue field with 50 stars is located next to the staff in the upper left corner of the flag. It extends from the top to the lower edge of the fourth red stripe. The stars are arranged in alternating rows of six and five representing the 50 states of the United States. The stars do not represent any given state.
The colors used in the flag give special meaning to the flag: Red for valor and zeal; white for hope and cleanliness of life; and blue — the color of heaven — for reverence and loyalty.
The stars are an ancient symbol of the heavens. Our flag’s 50 stars represent each state as part of the nation, but also a separate level of government. Our federal government was not given the power to control, so that each state would be able to govern themselves in those things they could do better. When you are looking at the flag, you are looking at the magnificent history of all Americans who have lived before us, your own ancestors, the most enduring nation of free people that has ever existed.
The federal flag code says the universal custom is to display the U.S. flag from sunrise to sunset on buildings and stationary flagstaffs in the open, but when a patriotic effect is desired the flag may be displayed 24-hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness. Also, the U.S. flag should not be displayed when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed.
Do you know about the 13 Folds? Do you know that every fold of the American Flag has a deep meaning?
DISPLAYING THE FLAG
On Same Staff:
U.S. flag at peak, above any other flag.
U.S. flag goes to its own right. Flags of other nations are flown at same height.
U.S. flag to marchers right (observer’s left).
On Speaker’s Platform:
When displayed with a speaker’s platform, it must be above and behind the speaker. If mounted on a staff it is on the speaker’s right.
Never use the flag for decoration. Use bunting with the blue on top, then white, then red.
All persons present in uniform should render the military salute. Members of the armed forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute. All other persons 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.
Over a Street Union:
(stars) face north or east depending on the direction of the street.
On special days, the flag may be flown at half-staff. On Memorial Day it is flown at half-staff until noon and then raised.
Do not let the flag touch the ground.
Do not fly flag upside down unless there is an emergency.
Do not carry the flag flat, or carry things in it.
Do not use the flag as clothing.
Do not store the flag where it can get dirty.
Do not use it as a cover.
Do not fasten it or tie it back. Always allow it to fall free.
Do not draw on, or otherwise mark the flag.
The flag should be folded in its customary manner.
It is important that the fire be fairly large and of sufficient intensity to ensure complete burning of the flag.
Place the flag on the fire. (Do not allow pictures to be taken during this portion of the ceremony)
The individual(s) can come to attention, salute the flag, recite the Pledge of Allegiance and have a brief period of silent reflection.
After the flag is completely consumed, the fire should then be safely extinguished and the ashes buried.
Please make sure you are conforming to local/state fire codes or ordinances.