There are a lot of traditions surrounding the United States flag. Sometimes, it can be difficult to distinguish actual traditions from the myths that come from misunderstandings about these traditions. Here, we’ll debunk five common myths about the United States flag.
Myth 1: Betsy Ross Made the First United States Flag
The story goes that George Washington and a couple of other Founding Fathers visited Betsy Ross and asked her to make a flag for the Continental Army. Ross tweaked Washington’s design, creating a flag that we now call the Betsy Ross flag. In reality, there’s very little evidence that this event ever occurred.
There’s also plenty of dispute over what constitutes the first American flag. Was it the stars and stripes design, or do earlier militia flags count?
Myth 2: Destroy Any Flag That Touches the Ground
One common myth about the United States flag is that you have to destroy it if it touches the ground. While it’s true that letting the flag touch the ground is considered disrespectful, it’s also disrespectful to let the flag touch nearby objects or drape across a railing. The point is that the flag should always be flying or hanging freely. However, you don’t need to burn a flag that you catch violating this rule. Just move it to a more respectful location.
Myth 3: No Burning the Flag
Publicly burning the United States flag is a clear sign of disrespect. For a long time, this practice was illegal. However, in 1990, the Supreme Court decided to allow flag burning under the First Amendment, which protects free speech. Additionally, burning flags that are too tattered to fly is a common method of disposal, though it’s not disrespectful because it’s not a public speech act.
Myth 4: No Flying Flags Used for Burials
Anyone who wishes may have a United States flag draped over their coffin as a sign of their patriotism. This practice is most common with veterans who have passed away. Many people believe you can’t fly flags used for funeral services, but that is not true. The main reason you wouldn’t want to fly an interment flag is that it’s not made from the same durable fabric as outdoor flags.
Myth 5: Flying the American Flag Is an Old Tradition
Many Americans like to fly the flag to show off their patriotism. However, there was a time when doing so would have looked very odd. Before the Civil War, government and military buildings were pretty much the only places you might see a flag flying. However, flying the flag became a common patriotic act during the Civil War, and the practice stuck around.
If you’re looking for a sectional flagpole kit to fly your United States flag, check out our options at Liberty Flagpoles. Our kits make it easy to raise the flag and lower it as needed.