A Liveing Entity

Discussion in 'Other US Flag Etiquette' started by :[GOB]:Ranger Dave, Mar 18, 2007.

  1. I beleive I read somewhere that the American Flag was concidered a living thing. Can you help me find what I read.
  2. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Re: A Living Entity

    Hi, Dave,

    You probably read this paragraph of the flag code (para. 8(j)):

    "(j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. 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 purpose of this section was to explain the right way to display flag patches and pins. Calling the flag a "living thing" was a fancy way of saying that a "replica" of the flag (such as a lapel pin) is a symbol of the nation and deserves the same respect as a real flag, even though it's made of metal rather than cloth. Obviously, a flag is not physically a living thing; that was just a rhetorical flourish.

    By the way, this particular paragraph was not part of the original flag code that Congress adopted in 1942. It was added when the code was amended in 1976.


    Peter Ansoff
  3. Americ76

    Americ76 New Member

    I do not believe your interpretation can stand—it strains credulity. While the purpose of the section is to address the flag in proper attire, it does so by ascribing an essential characteristic of the flag, i.e., that it is a "living thing." Think not that because it is an inanimate object that it cannot be considered a "living thing"--fundamentally, an "idol" is an object believed to contain the "life force" of a deity; exactly how this statement is predicated, that the flag is considered itself a living thing because of its predication on a "living country.â€￾ This cannot stand; though this statement is undoubtedly born out of a sense to honor the flag, it harms it by ascribing to it properties that are antithetical to the principles it represents.

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