July is a month of parades, laser shows, fireworks where allowed, picnics and fun. Utah celebrates two major holidays in July: the Fourth of July and Pioneer Day—aka “Days of 47” or “Pie and Beer Day.” Frankly, it’s Pioneer Day that draws the biggest crowds.
July is also the month when many of us fly the American flag. With so many protests taking place across the country and in Zion, many opt not to fly the flag.
There’s a proper way to hang the U.S. flag vertically. If you’re protesting, you’d hang the flag backwards, upside down or in some other inappropriate way. To hang it properly—say, from a window or against a wall—the canton portion with the stars should go on the observers’ left. Other rules you may or may not have heard of include:
1. The flag shouldn’t touch the ground or floor or get into water. As a kid, we were told if the flag touched the ground, you had to destroy it, but nowadays you only destroy a flag if it’s past its time and too worn to fly.
2. The flag is only flown at half-staff when we, as a nation or a state, are in mourning, like when Ruth Bader Ginsberg passed in 2020. Government officials inform us when to lower our flags. Also, you can fly the flag at half-staff from sunrise to noon on Memorial Day.
3. If you have a flagpole that’s big enough to fly multiple flags, the U.S flag must be the top flag flying. It must be the first one raised and the last one lowered.
4. You are only supposed to fly a flag at night if it is properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.
5. Only fly a flag in inclement weather if it’s made of an all-weather material.
6. Only fly a flag in good condition. You can repair small tears and wash a flag, but if it’s overly torn, worn or faded, it should be properly disposed of.
7. The federal flag code simply states that flags too worn out to fly must be burned in a respectful manner. Burning a flag at a protest is obviously not respectful—which is the point of a protester. There are flag disposal ceremonies, which usually take place around the country on Flag Day, June 14. You can contact any American Legion in your area to see if they might be holding any ceremonies in the future.
8. The federal code also states that a flag should never be used as a covering for something (like a bedspread, curtains, etc.), and you should never draw or write on an American flag.
If you’ve never attended the funeral of a veteran, then you’ve maybe missed the amazing and moving ritual of properly folding a flag. Each fold represents different things—like life, belief in eternal life, honor, etc. Thirteen folds are made before the flag is handed to the family.