by Tim Werle
In Romans 13 we read, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God”.
Our Country, The United States of America, is run by appointed authority, and Yes! It is appointed by God. (Like it or Not). There are two governing authorities in our lives. Our appointed government determines what is right and what is wrong when it has to do with the governing laws of the land and God who is our authority over all things. When Paul was writing this letter to the churches in Rome, he was telling the early Christians to respect authority, submit to its laws, and do good.
Back to our country… The one thing that represents our freedom more than anything else, well other than the Cross, is the American Flag. “Old Glory”, it’s white stars set in a field of Blue, and the 13 Stripes of Red and White. In this Operation we will learn more about the flag, how to display it, store it, respect it, fold it, and dispose of it.
- Read the following comments regarding the flag
- Download and print Flag Bingo
- Go out on this beautiful Labor Day Weekend and put this Operation in action.
On June 14, 1777 congress passed the first Flag Act to establish a symbol for our nation. It stated, “That the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation”. Today the flag consists of thirteen horizontal stripes, seven red alternating with 6 white. The stripes represent the original 13 colonies, the stars represent the 50 states of the Union. The colors of the flag are symbolic as well: Red symbolizes Hardiness and Valor, White symbolizes Purity and Innocence and Blue represents Vigilance, Perseverance and Justice.
- No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing.
- The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
- The flag should never touch anything beneath it
- The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
- The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery.
- The flag should never be used in a manner as to permit it to be easily damaged.
- The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.
- The flag should never have on it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
- The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
- The flag should never be used for advertising purposes.
- No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform.
- The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.
During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in a parade or in review, all persons 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 present should stand at attention. All such conduct toward the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes.
Displaying the Flag:
- When the flag is displayed the union should be at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half-staff.
- When it is displayed from the same flagpole with another flag, the flag of the United States must always be at the top except that the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for Navy personnel when conducted by a Naval chaplain on a ship at sea.
- When the flag is displayed over a street, it should be hung vertically, with the union to the north or east. If the flag is suspended over a sidewalk, the flag’s union should be farthest from the building.
- When flown with flags of states, communities, or societies on separate flag poles which are of the same height and in a straight line, the flag of the United States is always placed in the position of honor – to its own right.
-The other flags may be smaller but none may be larger.
-No other flag ever should be placed above it.
-The flag of the United States is always the first flag raised and the last to be lowered.
- When flown with the national banner of other countries, each flag must be displayed from a separate pole of the same height. Each flag should be the same size. They should be raised and lowered simultaneously. The flag of one nation may not be displayed above that of another nation.
Raising and Lowering the Flag
The flag should be raised briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously. Ordinarily it should be displayed only between sunrise and sunset. It should be illuminated if displayed at night.
The flag of the United States of America is saluted as it is hoisted and lowered. The salute is held until the flag is unsnapped from the halyard or through the last note of music, whichever is the longest.
Displaying the Flag Indoors
- When on display, the flag is accorded the place of honor, always positioned to its own right. Place it to the right of the speaker or staging area or sanctuary. Other flags should be to the left.
- The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of states, localities, or societies are grouped for display.
- When one flag is used with the flag of the United States of America and the staffs are crossed, the flag of the United States is placed on its own right with its staff in front of the other flag.
- When displaying the flag against a wall, vertically or horizontally, the flag’s union (stars) should be at the top, to the flag’s own right, and to the observer’s left.
- When carried in a procession, the flag should be to the right of the marchers. When other flags are carried, the flag of the United States may be centered in front of the others or carried to their right. When the flag passes in a procession, or when it is hoisted or lowered, all should face the flag and salute.
The Flag in Mourning
To place the flag at half-staff, hoist it to the peak for an instant and lower it to a position half way between the top and bottom of the staff. The flag is to be raised again to the peak for a moment before it is lowered. On Memorial Day the flag is displayed at half-staff until noon and at full staff from noon to sunset.
The flag is to be flown at half-staff in mourning for designated, principal government leaders and upon presidential or gubernatorial order.
When used to cover a casket, the flag should be placed with the union at the head and over the left shoulder. It should not be lowered into the grave.
Fold the flag in half width-wise twice. If done by two, then the blue field should be facing the bottom on the first fold. Fold up a triangle, starting at the striped end … and repeat … until only the end of the union is exposed. Then fold down the square into a triangle and tuck inside the folds.
The following is a non-official flag folding ceremony that represents the same religious principles on which our country was originally founded. The portion of the flag denoting honor is the canton of blue containing the stars representing the states our veterans served in uniform. The canton field of blue dresses from left to right and is inverted when draped as a pall on a casket of a veteran who has served our country in uniform.
In the Armed Forces of the United States, at the ceremony of retreat the flag is lowered, folded in a triangle fold and kept under watch throughout the night as a tribute to our nation’s honored dead. The next morning it is brought out and, at the ceremony of reveille, run aloft as a symbol of our belief in the resurrection of the body.
(Wait for the Honor Guard or Flag Detail to unravel and fold the flag into a quarter fold–resume reading when Honor Guard is standing ready.)
- The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
- The second fold is a symbol of our belief in the eternal life.
- The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks who gave a portion of life for the defense of our country to attain a peace throughout the world.
- The fourth fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in times of war for His divine guidance.
- The fifth fold is a tribute to our 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 our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we 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 through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.
- The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered in to the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor mother, for whom it flies on Mother’s Day.
- The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood; for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great have been molded.
- The tenth fold is a tribute to father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since they were first born.
- The eleventh fold, in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
- The twelfth fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost.
- When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, “In God we Trust.”
- (Wait for the Honor Guard or Flag Detail to inspect the flag–after the inspection, resume reading.)
- 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 us the rights, privileges, and freedoms we enjoy today.
Destroying/Disposing the Flag
The best way to dispose of a flag is to give to one of the following organizations:
- American Legion
- Boy Scouts of America
- Girl Scouts of America
- Marine Corps League
But remember, there is nothing wrong with keeping an old tattered flag. It represents the time that it was in service. It just does not need to be flown in that condition.
Now that you have learned more about the flag, what does it mean to you?
How does its construction, color, and symbolism relate to Jesus?
Paul went on in Romans 13 to say to, ”Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.”
Lets be sure to exemplify this as a Christian. Obey laws, respect authority, and honor those who deserve honor.
December 19, 2011
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