POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica

Flying the Flag

by David Trumbull

July 28, 2006

"Today, I was pleased to sign into law the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005. Americans have long flown our flag at their homes as an expression of their appreciation for our freedoms and their pride in our Nation. As our brave men and women continue to fight to protect our country overseas, Congress has passed an important measure to protect our citizens' right to express their patriotism here at home without burdensome restrictions."
-- President George W. Bush, July 24, 2006

The bill, H.R. 42, states that "A condominium association, cooperative association, or residential real estate management association may not adopt or enforce any policy, or enter into any agreement, that would restrict or prevent a member of the association from displaying the flag of the United States on residential property within the association."

Seems like a no-brainer, right. In America you ought to be free to fly an American flag on your own property. Yet certain condominium associations have been banning the Stars and Stripes along with any other flags, banners, and so forth. One case in Winchester, Mass., even made national news.

Well, now it's the law, no one can tell you that you can't fly an American flag at your condo. So go ahead, hoist Old Glory. But be sure to do so with the proper reverence for the Republic for which that flag stands.

The display of the flag is governed by United States Code Title 4 Chapter 1, which sets forth the regulations and codified customs regarding the U.S. flag.

It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset, however, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness. The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all weather flag is displayed.

The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress. The flag should never touch anything beneath it.

The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.

The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard.

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.

The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.