As the daughter of a naval officer, I grew up watching my father raise and lower the flag on a daily basis – when he wasn’t deployed overseas. My four brothers, my sister and I learned the basics and all of the flag protocol starting at very early ages. Labor Day is a national holiday that honors the social achievements of U.S. workers and celebrates their contributions to national prosperity. In order to achieve the standards of fair pay and 40-hour work weeks that we enjoy today, protesters in New York and Chicago organized strikes to champion better labor rights. Originally proposed as a holiday in 1882 in New York City, this yearly tribute to national workers became a national celebration in 1894 under President Grover Cleveland, and has since inspired similar holidays around the world.
Today, instead of striking in the streets, U.S. Americans observe Labor Day with barbecue, and celebrations between family and friends while flying the U.S. American flag in honor of those who fought for worker’s rights. Unsure about how to display and handle the flag this Labor Day? Here are some guidelines for raising the star-spangled banner with pride.
Proper flag handling procedure is covered under federal law in Chapter 1, Title 4 of the United States Code. Our U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that displaying the U.S. flag is a protected right under the 1st Amendment; however, it is possible to be cited for improper use of the flag. The United States Flag Code stipulates that as the symbol of a living country, the flag is considered in itself a living thing and must be properly cared for and displayed. To properly honor the flag, display it correctly and remember to:
- Raise the flag briskly and lower it ceremoniously
- Never allow the flag to touch the ground or floor
- Avoid flying the flag in bad weather, unless you are 100% certain it is an all-weather flag
- Fly the flag only from sunrise to sunset
- Fly the flag at night only if it is properly illuminated at all hours
- Allow the flag to always fall freely
- Avoid using the flag to carry, store, or deliver any items
- Avoid flying the flag upside down; except to signal an emergency
The U.S. American flag should be displayed every day, and especially on the days listed below. We have indicated the dates to fly the flag at half-staff. From September 1, until December 31, 2021, important dates to note are:
- Labor Day, September 6,
- Patriot Day, September 11 (Half-staff)
- Constitution Day, September 17
- Gold Star Mother’s Day, September 26
- Columbus Day, October 11
- Navy’s Birthday, October 13
- Election Day, November 2
- Marine Corps’ Birthday, November 10
- Veterans Day, November 11
- Thanksgiving, November 25
- Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, December 7 (Half-staff)
- Christmas Day, December 25
- Texas’ Birthday, December 29
We hope these tips help you raise the Star-Spangled Banner with honor and style. Enjoy your Labor Day festivities!
Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a diversity and inclusion consultant, cross-cultural trainer, etiquette expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre, she is an attorney and mediator. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia, won a coveted Kirkus Star, and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books. She is a winner of numerous awards, including the British Airways International Trade Award at the Greater Austin Business Awards.
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