Do You Have an American Flag that has Seen Better Days?
Flags that are no longer serviceable may be dropped off at the Vacaville Veterans Hall. We are located at 549 Merchant St., Vacaville, CA 95688. In front of the building, next to the memorial bench, is a well marked, converted mailbox where you can retire your flag.
I Am Old Glory
I am Old Glory: For more than ten score years I have been the banner of hope and freedom for generation after generation of Americans. Born amid the first flames of America’s fight for freedom, I am the symbol of a country that has grown from a little group of thirteen colonies to a united nation of fifty sovereign states. Planted firmly on the high pinnacle of American Faith my gently fluttering folds have proved an inspiration to untold millions. Men have followed me into battle with unwavering courage. They have looked upon me as a symbol of national unity. They have prayed that they and their fellow citizens might continue to enjoy the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, which have been granted to every American as the heritage of free men. So long as men love liberty more than life itself; so long as they treasure the priceless privileges bought with the blood of our forefathers; so long as the principles of truth, justice and charity for all remain deeply rooted in human hearts, I shall continue to be the enduring banner of the United States of America.
Originally written by Master Sergeant Percy Webb, USMC.
Hello, Remember Me?
Some people call me Old Glory, others call me the Star Spangled Banner, but whatever they call me, I am your Flag, the Flag of the United States of America. Something has been bothering me, so I thought I might talk it over with you, because it is about you and me.
I remember some time ago people lined up on both sides of the street to watch the parade and naturally I was leading every parade, proudly waving in the breeze. When your daddy saw me coming, he immediately removed his hat and placed it against his left shoulder so that the hand was directly over his heart. Remember?
And you, I remember you. Standing there, straight as a soldier. You didn’t have a hat, but you were giving the right salute. Remember little sister? Not to be outdone, she was saluting the same as you with her right hand over her heart. Remember?
What happened? I’m still the same old flag. Oh, I may have a few more Stars since you were a boy. A lot more blood has been shed since those parades of long ago.
But now I don’t feel as proud as I used to. When I come down your street, you just sand there with your hands in your pockets. I may get a small glance and then you look away. Then I see the children running around and shouting; they don’t seem to know who I am. I saw one man take his hat off, then look around. He didn’t see anybody else with theirs off so he quickly put his back on.
Is it a sin to be patriotic any more? Have you forgotten what I stand for and where I’ve been? Europe, Anzio, Guadalcanal, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. Take a look at the Memorial Honor Rolls sometimes, of those who never came back to keep this Republic free. One Nation Under God, when you salute me, you are saluting them. Well, it won’t be long until I’ll be coming down your street again. So, when you see me, stand straight, place your right hand over your heart and should you be a veteran render a military salute and I’ll salute you, by waving back, and I’ll know that YOU REMEMBERED!
When to Fly the Flag
- NEW YEAR’S DAY, January 1st
- INAUGURATION DAY, January 20th
- LINCOLN’S BIRTHDAY, February 12th
- WASHINGTON’S BIRTHDAY, 3rd Monday in February
- EASTER SUNDAY, Date varies
- MOTHER’S DAY, 2nd Sunday in May
- ARMED FORCES DAY, 3rd Saturday in May
(POW-MIA Flag Also Recommended)
- TRADITIONAL MEMORIAL DAY, (half-staff until noon), May 30th
(POW-MIA Flag Also Recommended)
- OBSERVED MEMORIAL DAY, (half-staff until noon), the last Monday in May (POW-MIA Flag Also Recommended)
- FLAG DAY, June 14th (POW-MIA Flag Also Recommended)
- FATHER’S DAY, 3rd Sunday in June
- INDEPENDENCE DAY, July 4th (POW-MIA Flag Also Recommended)
- LABOR DAY, 1st Monday in September
- PATRIOT DAY, (half-staff all day) September 11th
- CONSTITUTION DAY, September 17th
- COLUMBUS DAY, 2nd Monday in October
- NAVY DAY, October 27th
- NATIONAL POW-MIA RECOGNITION DAY, Third Friday in September
(POW-MIA Flag Highly Recommended)
- VETERAN’S DAY, November 11th
(POW-MIA Flag Also Recommended)
- THANKSGIVING DAY, 4th Thursday in November
- CHRISTMAS DAY, December 25th
- ANY DAY YOU WISH IN-BETWEEN!
The Basic Rules of Flag Etiquette
- The flag may be flown 24 hours a day as long as it remains illuminated.
- If the flag is not illuminated it should only be flown from sunrise until sunset.
- The flag should be taken down during inclement weather so that it does not get wet.
- When lowering and storing the flag, it should not be allowed to touch the ground.
- On a pole, the flag’s field of stars should be on the top. An upside-down flag signals distress, or governmental protest.
- When displayed with other flags, the Stars and Stripes should occupy the center and highest point.
- On a dais or pulpit, the flag should be placed to the right of the speaker or minister.
- When the flag is no longer fit to display, (torn, frayed, faded, etc.) it should be destroyed in a dignified way, not simply thrown away.
- When the flag passes in a parade, observers should stand and salute it by placing their hat, if covered or their right hand over their heart.
- If a veteran or active duty, in or out of uniform, a full military hand salute should be rendered.
- When a flag is flown at half-staff to signify mourning, it should first be hoisted briefly to the top before being lowered again.
- The flag should be hoisted again to the top before being removed.
- On Memorial Day, the flag should be flown at half-staff only until noon, then raised to the top.
- If the flag is displayed during the national anthem, everyone should face it and salute.
- The flag should not be used as a drape at the unveiling of a statue or monument.
- A flag may be used to cover the coffin at a funeral, but it should be removed before the coffin is lowered into the ground. It may be used again after.
- The POW MIA Flag is authorized to be flown below or beside the American Flag.
Conduct During Hoisting, Lowering, or Passing of the Flag
During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in a parade or in review, those present in uniform should render the military salute. Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute.
All other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Citizens of other countries should stand at attention. All such conduct toward the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes.
The Tradition of the Flag and the 13 Folds
This is a tradition regarding the meaning of the 13 folds that it takes to fold the flag. This is a tradition that is in keeping with the American spirit and should be perpetuated as such. Numerous veterans organizations as well as others use this to conduct a very moving flag folding ceremony that is worth seeing.
- The first fold of the flag is a symbol of life.
- The second fold is a symbol of the belief in eternal life.
- The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing the ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense our country to attain peace throughout the world.
- The fourth fold represents the weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as times of war for His divine guidance.
- The fifth fold is a tribute to the country. For in the words of Stephen Decatur; “Our Country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong.”
- The sixth fold is for where people’s hearts lie. It is with their heart that they pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
- The seventh fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is the Armed Forces that protect our country and our flag against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
- The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day.
- The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood, and Mothers. For it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of men and women who have made this country great, has been molded.
- The tenth fold is a tribute to the father, for he too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of their country since they were first born.
- The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies in the Hebrew’s eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
- The twelfth fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies in the Christian’s eyes God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
- The thirteenth fold or when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding us of our nations motto, “In God We Trust.”
After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington and the Sailors and Marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for them the rights, privileges and freedoms they enjoy today.