American Flags Flying High This Veterans Day

POTOMAC - American flags are flown all over the country on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. Veterans Day celebrates the service of all United States military veterans. For one Potomac resident and veteran John Garberson, the flag represents the good of the United States and the freedom it provides.

Garberson grew up in a military family and spent 26 years in the military. On Veterans Day he somberly remembers servicemen and women and the support they receive from family.

"The single day recognizes the service women and men gave to our country, all veterans have served and sacrificed...some gave all they had...and Veterans Day is a promise that we will not forget what they gave to the country...what they gave to us," said Garberson.

"Old Glory" is a symbol that represents our nation. It shows thirteen alternating horizontal stripes of red and white with the canton, or union of the flag showing fifty white stars in a blue field.

Garberson has had American flags since he was 12 years old. "I can't briefly explain my interest but it was there from a very early age and the request for us to fly the flag was pretty firm," he said.

There are proper and improper ways to display, store and dispose of the American flag according to United States of America (USA) Flag Protocol.

If flags are displayed, according to the USA custom of sunrise to sunset, the flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously. The flag should not be displayed during harsh weather unless the flags are "all-weather."

Flags may also be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated when it is dark.

According to US Code Title 4 Chapter 1 improper flag use includes letting it touch the ground, floor or water, carrying it flat or carrying things in it. The American flag should not be used as clothing or as a cover; although flag patches may be attached to uniforms.

The flag should always be allowed to fly freely.

After displaying, flags should be stored correctly. Flags should never be wadded up. Instead they should be folded properly in a traditional triangle.

According to Potomac seventh grader Bowen Olson, to correctly fold a flag first fold the flag in half lengthwise. Then fold in half lengthwise again so the stars are up either way. Start with the striped side and then make a triangle equal to the width.

Then the flag should be folded over into another triangle, then fold up and then over again until it is folded up in a thick triangle of flag. Then tuck the white in and store carefully.

When folded in a triangular shape in this manner the red and white stripes are wrapped into the blue to represent the sunlight of day vanishing into the darkness of night, according to the United States Flag Organization.

Disposing of the flag means proper burning of it. The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) offers these instructions for properly disposing of a flag: The flag should be folded in its customary manner and placed in a fire hot enough to ensure complete burning of the flag. After the flag is gone, the fire should be extinguished and the ashes buried.

"For me, the flag represents all the good that our nation has been, is and will be," said Garberson. "There is a special-ness about America. The freedoms and the promise that all can have those freedoms."  


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