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Monday Top Ten: Honoring the American flag

The United States flag
The United States flag Modesto Bee

The greatest symbol of the United States will be honored Tuesday, June 14, with National Flag Day, designated as such by an act of Congress in 1949 and signed by President Harry S. Truman.

According to nationalflagday.com, Flag Day quietly was spawned by a Wisconsin teacher in 1885 who with his students began marking the June 14, 1777, anniversary of the congressional adoption of the Stars and Stripes. The idea spread over the decades and was officially established as an observation by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916. Still, it wasn’t until Truman’s signature 30-plus years later that it became a nationally designated day.

Many people will fly the flag outside their homes Tuesday. Steve Olson, senior district executive of the Sierra Valley District of the Boy Scouts of America, uses information from the 2015 Boy Scout Handbook to share American flag propriety in this week’s Monday Top Ten.

The flag, Olson added, “is very important to the Boy Scouts of America.”

Here are Olson’s Top Ten things to know about the Stars and Stripes, etiquette regarding it, its care and retirement – including information on where in the Modesto region to take worn flags for proper disposal:

1. Remove your hat and place your hand over your heart when singing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” our national anthem.

2. Remove your hat and place your hand over your heart when the flag is hoisted or lowered or passes in front of you.

According to nationalflagday.com, Bernard John Cigrand was a 19-year-old teacher in Waubeka, Wis., who in 1885 placed a 10-inch 38-star flag in an inkwell and had his students write essays on what the flag meant to them. Regarded as the origination of Flag Day, his Stony Hill School is now a historical site.

3. The flag may be flown every day sunrise to sunset. If flown at night it should be illuminated.

4. The flag should be flown on all national and state holidays and other days proclaimed by the president of the United States.

5. When the flag is displayed with other flags, it should be in a position of honor to the right. It should be flown above other flags when sharing a flagpole.

6. In a group of flags, the American flag is hoisted first and lowered last.

7. The flag should be briskly raised and lowered slowly.

8. The flag should not be allowed to touch the ground when lowered. It should be folded into a “cocked hat” shape. See the Boy Scout Handbook or www.usflag.org/fold.flag.html

9. The flag is flown at half-staff to show sorrow following national tragedy. To do this the flag is first hoisted to the top of its flagpole and then down to the pole’s midpoint. When it is lowered, it is again raised to the top and then slowly lowered.

10. An American flag that is worn beyond repair can be burned to ashes in a private ceremony of dignity and respect. They also can be delivered to veterans groups for disposal. Locally they can be taken to the Vet Center at 1219 N. Carpenter Road No. 12, Modesto.

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