Monday, July 3, 2017

No Flags on Confections

While there is no greater symbol of freedom worldwide than “Old Glory,” the authors believe that its patriotic display is only mildly more inconvenient, but far more reverent and appropriate, if done compliant with federal law and consistent with the Rules of Flag Etiquette.

Question: Hey…here’s one for you… is it disrespectful to decorate a July 4th cake with the flag?

Answer: It is, of course, entirely fitting that patriotic themes are ubiquitous with Independence Day. The significance of the date and one’s enthusiasm for their homeland are customarily and rightfully accentuated with dress, décor and like trappings in reds, whites and blues. They typically include various stars and stripes designs, among other symbols intended to evoke sentimental thoughts of our country and its auspicious history. Indeed, the American flag is often displayed at commemorative venues on this date, consistent with the Flag Code, a practice we ardently support.

While patriotic dress and décor is not the subject of federal legislation, however, display of the American flag most certainly is. “No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America.” Flag Code Section 8. That brings us to our reader’s question.

Aside from that generality, Section 8 also provides an array of specific examples of “disrespectful” activity to guide us in our approach to this use of the American flag. Section 8(i) says that a flag “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” (emphasis added). Based on that, we know for certain that the napkins at this July 4th event cannot bear the image of the American flag.

But what about the cake? Certainly, Flag Code Section 8(i) instructs that although mere patriotic accessories can be discarded at the end of the event indiscriminately, summarily and uneventfully, the flag of the United States of America or its “impressed” image cannot be. Hence, drawing on that, our view is that the American flag’s depiction on a cake, the consumption of which by its nature is traditionally unceremonious, and by its nature “designed for temporary use and discard,” would be an inappropriate use. If you wish to maintain a patriotic theme for your cake, that’s fantastic—opt for red, white and blue themes, and feel comfortable using stars and stripes designs. Compliance with the Flag Code requires that you not depict the American flag itself.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Presidential Proclamation -- Honoring the Memory of John Glenn

IMPORTANT UPDATE - President Obama has ordered US flags to half-staff as a mark of respect for John Glenn (astronaut, military leader, pilot, and U.S. Senator), beginning immediately and continuing until sunset on the day of interment.

 - - - - - - -

As a mark of respect for the memory of John Glenn, I hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, that on the day of his interment, the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset on such day.  I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same period at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017

Yesterday, President Trump signed the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017, which designates every March 29 (the first one being today) as National Vietnam War Veterans Day and encourages display of the United State Flag on that day.