In the Spirit of the Red, White & Blue, Take Proper Care of the American Flag

Give the American flag its proper due.

With the spirit of the Fourth of July flying strong this month, many will proudly wave the nation’s flag, but there are several important elements of the Flag Code. Jim Schindler, the American Sergeant at Arms for the Chanhassen American Legion, is quite familiar with the  unified standard of how to properly handle the American flag.

During this year’s Chanhassen’s Fourth of July parade,  which is in its 26th year, the Chanhassen legion, as well as Schindler, will make a traditional appearance. “It’s important that there’s only one national flag per unit,” Schindler says, “It should always be the lead in that unit, and it should be in the front.”

For those of us not marching in parades, there are a few practices that are important to note. “It’s important that if your flag is left out in the evening, it should be under a light,” says Schindler, mentioning that it’s also important to be aware of Old Glory’s materials. “If you don’t have an all-weather [flag], it shouldn’t be left out in the rain,” he says.

And what about retiring a flag? “You have to make your own decision on when it’s time,” Schindler says, noting that it may be time if tears appear and the flag begins looking worn. While lowering or removing a flag from its post, it’s important to remember that it should never touch the ground.

The American Legion offers a convenient place for locals to bring their flags ready for retirement. Approximately 3,000 flags come in per year, and  Schindler assists during the biannual ceremonies to properly fold and incinerate the flags.

“I enjoy doing the Legion business,” Schindler says. “It’s important to make sure that we’re talking to the veterans and making sure that they are taken care of. It’s why I joined here.”

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