The flag of the United States of America, often referred to as the Stars and Stripes or Old Glory, consists of (according to Wikipedia) "13 equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton bearing 50 small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows of six stars (top and bottom) alternating with rows of five stars."
When the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, the United States had no official national flag. It wasn't until June 14, 1777, that the Marine Committee of the Second Continental Congress passed the Flag Resolution which stated: "Resolved, That the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation."
The American Flag is customarily flown year-round at all public buildings such as libraries, state houses, post offices, etc. During times of remembrance (i.e. Memorial Day) or loss, the flag is flown at half staff out of respect for those affected or as a symbolic gesture. The United States has a detailed Flag Code under U.S. Federal Law which outlines guidelines for proper use and display. For example it states that the flag should never be allowed to touch the ground and, if flown at night, must be illuminated. Surprisingly, there are no penalties for failing to comply with the Flag Code, nor is the code widely enforced because such enforcement would interfere with a person's right to free speech under the First Amendment.
On 16 Dec 2008 Crystal McCann wrote:
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