Hanging flag from Fire Deprtment Aerial Ladders

Discussion in 'US Flag Display' started by nrfd90, Dec 30, 2010.

  1. nrfd90

    nrfd90 New Member

    I would like some help with the proper way to hang a flag from Fire Depatments Aerial Ladders. I do understand that if the flag would be over a street there are some rules that do apply, but the only problem is that when we are doing a funeral for a Public safety officer (Police & Fire) or member of the armed services that has died defending our great nation it looks like the flag is flown wrong. (Backwards). It is a very emotional and impresive sight to see this 30ft by 15ft flag hanging from the aerial ladders and sometimes people get very upset when the flag looks backwards. They get very offended and I can understand it. So the Question is does the rule for flying a flag over a street more for a purminant display and does it apply to a funeral also?
  2. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Greetings, nrfd90!

    The relevant language from the Flag Code is Chapter 7, paragraph j:

    When the flag is displayed over the middle of the street, it should be suspended vertically with the union to the north in an east and west street or to the east in a north and south street.

    Since the flag is visible from both sides, one of them is obviously going to be "backward" with respect to the other one. This particular paragraph was presumably designed to address that situation.


    Peter Ansoff
  3. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Are you from Boston? :D

    I cannot think of a location where the US flag is permanently displayed over a street, so any such display is "temporary." On the GWashington Bridge carrying Interstate Route 95 over the Hudson River a huge flag is displayed on major holidays, weather permitting, and although the flag itself is a permanent fixture on the GW Bridge, its display is temporary as is is only displayed on those holidays.

    So Mr. Ansoff's response is appropriate regardless of the duration of display.

  4. Burquedoka

    Burquedoka New Member

    Greetings all. I too am charged with the operation of an ariel fire apparatus in Albuquerque New Mexico. Part of our, fairly regular duties is to hang a very large flag between our truck and an other ladder. It seem EVERY time we hang a flag, someone comes out of the crowd and declares we got it wrong. I understand the two rules that most closely apply to our methods of displaying the US flag are:

    (i) When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag’s own right, that is, to the observer’s left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.
    (j) When the flag is displayed over the middle of the street, it should be suspended vertically with the union to the north in an east and west street or to the east in a north and south street.

    We follow the second rule, that seems to best cover the way the flag looks flown vertically between two ladders, wether we are over a road way or in a parking lot! The Union is either facing north or east, depending on how the two trucks are able to position themselves. Would you guys agree with that?

    Today, during a Veterans Day get together at a local Harley shop, we set up in the parking lot like we always do, with the Union facing, in our case today it was East. Then all the Veterans assembled together in front of it for a photograph, with the Union over their left shoulders, the viewers right. We got several people telling us it was wrong, and a couple Marines who thought we were correct. My question is, since the flag was in a picture, used as a backdrop to a batch of people, should the North East rule be disregarded and the rule for hanging it against a wall, where the Union would be to the viewers left be implemented?

    Thanks for any input on the matter. It is not much fun arguing with someone who passionately feels they are upholding proper etiquette of our Nations flag.

    Attached Files:

  5. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Greetings, Bruquedoka -- welcome to the forum!

    The flag code is pretty clear about the union facing north/east when the flag is visible from both sides. The only possible argument I could imagine is that if the flag is being displayed for the primary purpose of being the backgroup for photo, then it would make sense to put the union on the viewer's left. (This would be analogous to the case of a row of flagpoles in front of a building. The position of honor is on the left of a viewer facing the building, even thought it's technically possible to view the display from behind.)

    Just as a personal comment, I find it strange that people get so wound up about this kind of issue. The rule about the union being on the right is mostly a just a convention to promote uniformity, and there's nothing inherently disrespectful about doing it the other way. It's true that it originated with the heradic rule that the right is the position of honor on a shield. However, a flag is different from a shield in that it has two sides, and both are equally valid as means of recognition and honor. As I said, just a personal opinion . . .

    Peter Ansoff
  6. Burquedoka

    Burquedoka New Member

    Thank you for the reply Sir. I couldn't agree more with your personal opinion on the matter, and your clarification of my inquiry helps tremendously. I shall print out the national code and keep copies with us to share with and educate the uneducated.

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