"I am what you make me; nothing more. I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color, a symbol of yourself."
-The Flag, in a vision to Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior, as recited on the Flag Day of 1914
What one does to the flag, he does it to his nation, and this necessitates ‘The Flag Code’ which standardizes and formalizes the treatment and usage of the Flag:
- The Flag, when on display, should be appropriately illuminated by artificial light sources or the sun.
- The Flag is flown at half-staff only under special circumstances- mourning, and for half of the Memorial Day. It should never be allowed to touch the ground while lowering, which needs to be steady and formal, and should be raised briskly.
- The Flag can be flown upside down only in emergency situations. It should never be dipped down for any person, flag, vessel or thing.
- The flags of other states and local communities are flown lower than the National Flag, whether on the same or different poles, and in such a case, the National Flag is the first to be raised and last to be lowered. When flown with those of other nations, each of them, of the same size, is raised to the same height, and lowered, simultaneously on independent poles.
- The Flag is maintained to the left of the observer- during marching ceremonies and parades, when displayed in a row, and when displayed on any flat surface horizontally or vertically (in this case, the union or the blue field of stars remains uppermost).
- The Flag should never be tampered with, or marked with symbols, marks, advertising signs, logos and drawings of any kind. It should not be used as a symbol on, or as, a handkerchief, curtain, drapery, receptacle or costume. The only permitted use of a flag patch is in the uniform of personnel of armed forces, government services, and patriotic organizations.
- Everyone salutes the Flag in attention- persons in uniform pay a formal/ military salute and those otherwise, salute by placing their right hand over the heart and with their head cover if any, held to the left shoulder- upon command.
- The Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem are both rendered facing the flag, in attention and salute.
- The flag should be stowed, maintained and cleaned appropriately. When it can no longer serve as the Flag, it should be completely destroyed by honorable burning and the ashes buried.