Correct way to carry LARGE flag in parade

Discussion in 'US Flag Display' started by LynnieU, Jul 5, 2009.

  1. LynnieU

    LynnieU New Member

    We are with a Cub Scout Pack that carries a very large flag in the 4th of July parade. It's about 15 ft x 25 feet.
    We carried it yesterday with the stripes on the left front and the stars on the right front with all the stripes in the rear.
    I am looking for an answer to find out if this is the correct way to carry the flag?
    One person's analogy was "the driver is on the left with the stripes in the road and my passenger is the star, so the stars are on the right."
    Is this the correct way? Please help!!
  2. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    The reason you can't find the proper way to carry the flag like that is because you aren't supposed to carry it that way at all!!! According to the United States Flag Code:

    "The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free."

    So regardless of which corner the canton is in, it is wrong!

    I guess you will have to find a large building to hang it from, or find a construction company that can hoist the flag, suspended vertically, on a large crane, or maybe suspended across a street from a cable between the tops of two tall buildings.

  3. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Nick is right that the flag code says the flag should not be carried horizontally. However, this is a case in which the code has not kept up with current practice. Nowdays, it's quite common to carry and display large flags horizontally, as long as it's done respectfully. A recent article in the New York Times about the use of large flags in this way quoted a spokesman from the American Legion as saying “All we ask is, no matter the size, that the flag is treated with dignity and respect.â€￾

    The flag code itself says that it is a compilation of "existing rules and customs" concerning flag display. Obviously, rules and customs have changed since 1923.

    Peter Ansoff
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2009
  4. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Peter noted
    It was common practice to carry large flags in parades horizontally during and after World War I, so I'm not sure its a case that the Flag Code hasn't evolved, rather we find it easier to ignore the flag code. I heard once that the prohibition against carrying the flag flat like that was to prevent people from tossing their hats or other objects onto the flag, which was seen as disrespectful, albeit enthusiastic. Since men don't wear hats anymore ('cept baseball caps) the problem may no longer exist.

    I personally don't see anything wrong with displaying a flag in that manner - you see it done every 2 years at the Olympic Games and there is an air of reference in the stadium each time that flag with the 5 rings is carried in, and then when the flag bearers raise the flag over their heads to salute the head of state - it's just breathtaking. But of course you could not do that to the USA flag - it salutes no person and the flag itself is the object of the salute.

    Here's a patriotic project for your scouts: have them petition their elected representatives to change the United States Flag Code so that it permits carrying the flag horizontally if it is done with respect. That will open their eyes to the process of government.

  5. Robersabel

    Robersabel New Member

    Does anyone have a reference
     number which states carrying the flag is a violation of the flag etiquette?
    This activity occurred yeaterday, and of all people being revealed carrying the flag is no less than a Marine!!
    [url=]Flag :: Carrying Flag picture by Robersabel - Photobucket[/url]
  6. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Welcome, Robersabel!

    Does anyone have a reference
     number which states carrying the flag is a violation of the flag etiquette?[/I]
    The reference is USC 4.1 Section 8c, which Nick quoted in his 7/5/09 post above. However, as I pointed out in my post on the same date (also above), it has become common practice to display flags horizontally, and even the American Legion says it's OK as long as it's done respectfully. 
    The flag code is not a holy writ -- it's a "codification of existing rules and customs pertaining to the display and use of the flag of the United States of America." (Section 5). This is a case where "existing rules and customs" have changed since the code was written in 1923.
    Best regards,
    Peter Ansoff

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