Flag Day puts focus on treatment of flags in city

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

Dale Harner has lived in Clovis for 31 years, and not a week goes by where he doesn’t take some umbrage at a flying flag as he drives around the city.

Harner, a retired lieutenant colonel with the Air Force, said he has nothing against the Stars and Stripes — just the way it’s sometimes improperly displayed at residences, private businesses and government buildings.

“I’m not trying to make myself an expert,” Harner said on Friday, the weekend leading up to Flag Day on Monday. “I just don’t like seeing shaggy flags and disrespect for the flag.

“My view is if you’re going to be patriotic enough to fly the flag, then you should do it properly.“

Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened June 14, 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress.

Traditions associated with the flag are covered in the U.S. Flag Code, established in 1923.

According to the U.S. Flag Code, available at usflag.org, Section 8.e says, “ The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled or damaged in any way.”

That’s the violation Harner said he sees the most, as he notes a few flags across the city are torn.

“A flag that’s tattered is the first indication that somebody’s not respecting the flag,” Harner said.

Also according to the code:

• A flag should not be flown in inclement weather.

• A flag should not be flown during nighttime unless there is proper illumination.

• A flag should not be part of a costume or athletic uniform, but flag patches may be affixed.

• When it reaches a condition unfit for display, the flag should be destroyed by a private burning.

There is no punishment for violating the Flag Code, partially due to Supreme Court rulings that politically motivated violations are Constitutionally protected. Other segments of the code are also routinely violated, including the flag’s usage in advertising or as a decoration for disposable items like napkins.