tampabay.com

Old Glory's day

By TIMES WIRES
Published June 14, 2007


I am what you make me; nothing more. I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color, a symbol of yourself.

Secretary of the Interior Franklin K. Lane spoke those words during a 1914 Flag Day address, words he said the flag had spoken to him that morning. Nearly a century has passed since that address, but the nation still pauses once a year, on June 14, to recognize Old Glory. There's also etiquette involved when dealing with a flag.

Dos and don'ts

Do: Raise the flag briskly on a flagpole. But lower it slowly, or, as U.S. flag code puts it, "ceremoniously."

Don't: It's fine to cover a coffin with a flag, but it should be removed before lowering the casket into the ground.

Do: When flying a flag to show mourning, first hoist it to the peak and then lower it half-staff.

Don't: Fly the flag at night unless it's properly lighted. Flag facts

- The flag is flown at half-staff for 30 days for the death of a current or former president. Vice presidents get 10 days; members of Congress get two.

- Flag Day is believed to have been started by a Wisconsin teacher in 1885. It became official in 1916.

- You can buy a flag that has flown over the U.S. Capitol. To order, visit Sen. Mel Martinez's Web site (martinez.senate.gov) and click on "flag requests."

How to fold the flag

Bring corners together lengthwise

Fold again lengthwise

From stripe end, bring corner to flat edge

Fold in triangle pattern up to stars end

Folded flag will be triangular