HOULTON, Maine — There are many myths and misconceptions when it comes to the proper etiquette for displaying the American Flag.
So on Flag Day, Friday, June 14, American Legion Post No. 47 in Houlton felt it was fitting for their group to recognize those businesses and individuals who properly display the flag during a special breakfast and ceremony.
Post Adjutant Gerry Riley said the Legion felt it was important to recognize those businesses and individuals who go above and beyond with their displays of the American Flag.
“Often when we get together here at the Legion, members have stated ‘Wow, this person has a nice flag display,” or “That business really did a nice job with their flag,’” Riley said. “We decided it was time for us to tell people we appreciate what they are doing.”
“The flag code originated from Congress in June of 1923,” Riley explained. “Over the years, there have been many revisions to that code. In 1976, Congress revised the code to state that the flag was a living symbol of a living country. That is why we honor and respect the flag.”
There are a number of myths surrounding the proper display of an American Flag. One myth states that only the current version of the American Flag, with all 50 stars, may be flown. Actually, according to the code, a U.S. flag never becomes obsolete, therefore, any prior versions of the U.S. flag are acceptable to display.
Another myth states one must destroy a flag when it touches the ground, while another false statement is that the flag code prohibits washing or dry cleaning of a flag. In actuality, there are no such codes prohibiting washing a flag.
One of the most common myths, however, is that the code no longer requires a flag flown at night to be illuminated.
According to the American Legion flag etiquette booklet, “It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flag staffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.”
Marking the first year that the Legion has lauded businesses and individuals for their flag displays, Riley said he hopes it will be something that continues each year.
A committee was formed to review and photograph the displays, which resulted in a group of more than 20 potential honorees. That group was narrowed down to six businesses and six individuals who were recognized during the ceremony.
Honored during the meeting were residents Carl Lord, Larry and Judy Suitter, Galen and Barbara Hogan, Barbara Foster, Matt and Cheryl Quint and Dana and Mary Williamson.
And businesses F.A. Peabody Company, Smith and Wesson, McDonalds, Houlton Water Company, Dunn Funeral Home and J. McLaughlin Construction.
Chaplin Dean Mitchell opened and closed the ceremony in prayer and also sang the National Anthem during the breakfast.