Flag etiquette

Flag etiquette

Dear Editor:

As an army signals vet, may I clarify that flag etiquette only applies if you’re actually in the military?

Flag etiquette originates in ancient signaling devices. Before radios were invented, they were a general’s walkie-talkie. Handling them reflected practicality on the battlefield.

For example, a flag that touches the ground could get muddy, and no longer be legible. So flags had to be kept clean, and off the ground. Saluting a flag demonstrated that a soldier had seen it and understood the signal.

You can get arrested in the military for not standing for various flag and oath events. As a citizen – the actual commanders in chief – you are not required to do so. If you’re not in the military, the etiquette doesn’t apply to you. You can tie a flag bandana around your dog’s neck if you want.

If you want to just hang it in front of your house, you can do that, too. Right-side-up or upside-down. It’s your flag. It’s all good. Chillax. But I will admit our flag makes the prettiest holiday bunting.

Donna Barr

Clallam Bay