Derrek Coss

Recent Posts

U.S. Flag Facts They Never Taught You in School

Posted by Derrek Coss on Jul 20, 2017 8:09:00 AM

Did you know that the current 50 star U.S. Flagdesign of the United States flag has lasted longer than any other design in U.S. history? Essentially this is because we have not added a new state to our great country since the addition of Hawaii on August 21, 1959. Luckily, Robert Heft the designer of the 50 star U.S. flag has already designed a 51 star flag so if we ever choose to add another state we’ll be good to go! Learn more flag facts below!

 CTA- Flag Life

(Short on Time? Click Here to Download our FREE Guide to Maintaining Your U.S. Flag!) 

 

Alt colors for original U.S. flag design

In colonial America there were only 8 different dye colors that were easily produced. Light blue, indigo blue, gold, red, white, yellow, green and black. A few of these colors we’re ruled out right away as yellow was the color of quarantine and black has long been symbolic of death in western culture. That leaves just green, gold, and light blue as the colors not selected by Francis Hopkinson for use in his flag design.

 

flag facts

Get this! Using the flag as decorative bunting has played a major roll in U.S. history at least once. President Lincoln visited Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865.  He was provided a box seat decorated with bunched flags, a common practice at the time. Later that night John Wilkes Booth crept up behind Lincoln and shot him. Booth then jumped onto the railing of Lincoln’s box seat and proclaimed “Sic semper tyrannis” (“Thus always to tyrants”). He then planned to jump down to the stage to make his escape. However, as Booth went to make his move his spur caught on the decorative flag bunched along the railing causing him to loose his balance, land awkwardly and injure his leg. Booth pushed thru the pain and escaped only to be captured nearby, a few days later.


For years after this an urban legend was spread that the flag that reached up and grabbed Booth was “Old Glory” herself. However, it turns out that the actual “hero flag” was the flag of the Treasury department Regimental Unit.

*Referenced The Care and Display of the American Flag by the editors of Sharpman.com 2004 for entire blog post.

Flag Care

 

Topics: american history, American flag, flag facts, U.S. flag, flag history

Common Flag Maintenance and Flag Disposal Questions

Posted by Derrek Coss on Jul 18, 2016 2:00:00 PM

 

What is flag retirement?flag maintenance

Flag retirement is the term used to define the proper, dignified way of destroying United States flags that are no longer fit to serve the nation. In this blog post we attempt to answer some of the more common questions around flag maintenance, flag disposal, and flag repair.

 

How badly damaged does a flag need to be before it should be retired?

It is in the eye of the beholder to determine the condition of a flag. Often a flag only needs cleaning to restore its original appearance. Before retiring it completely regular flag maintenance is your best way to restore an old flag. Flags can be machine-washed in cold water with a mild detergent.They should be laid flat or hung to dry. Never fold the flag when it is damp. It is recommended that you mend a tattered flag at early signs of wear, if possible. The first part of a flag to show wear is usually the fly end, the outer edge of the flag where hems or seams have begun to unravel due to stress from the wind. If the flag appears too tattered for repair, then the flagshould be retired.

 

What is the preferred way to destroy old, worn, frayed and/or faded U.S. Flags?

The preferred method of flag disposal for old, worn, frayed and/or faded U.S. Flags is by burning them.

flag repair

(Before and After image of a flag badly in need of repair)

 

Isn’t burning the flag an act of desecration and a sign of rebellion?

No. Throughout history, burning or cremation has long been considered a dignified way of paying respect to the deceased and to objects worthy of veneration. Burning has been applied to flag retirement to offer the most reverent method of final tribute.

 

Can anyone retire a U.S. Flag?

The Flag Code does not authorize any particular organization with the duty of retiring unfit flags.Any one person or group can do it.

 

Where and how should a flag retirement ceremony be performed?

Flags should be retired in private at a non-public location and the ceremony should be a solemn, dignified event.

 

Is there an official ceremony for retiring flags?

No. There is no one official ceremony.

 

My municipality prohibits open fires and/or the burning of flags. What can I do?

If you live in such a community, you will need to find an organization that provides flag retirement services. Contact your local government for information regarding such organizations. Another option is to separate the blue starfield from the stripes and then to separate the stripes from each other. Once this is done the material is no longer a flag and the pieces may be respectfully disposed of.

 

Is it permissible to cut up the American flag?

Yes. Some organizations even recommend cutting the flags into smaller pieces before placing them in the incinerator or on the fire. When doing this, please keep the union of blue intact. Doing so symbolizes that the unity of our union should never be broken.

 

Flag Care Precautions:

When burning flags made of synthetic fibers, be aware that they may burn quickly, drip melted fabric, and emit noxious gases into the air. Handle such flags with care.

 New Call-to-action

Topics: flag repair, flag disposal, flag maintenance

USA Flag Anatomy and Vexillology Terms

Posted by Derrek Coss on Jan 22, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Do you know the definition of “vexillology?”   If you over heard a discussion between two vexillologists (and we’re sure there are at least two of them) it would likely sound like a conversation in some strange alien language.  Well, hold on to your potatoes folks because we’re about to give you a lesson in vexillology, the scientific study of flags.

 gonfalonsFlag Anatomy and Vexillology Terms

The study of flags is quite interesting. No, seriously it is.  Just, do a  Google search on the term “gonfalon” and you’ll see tons of examples of what we mean. To learn more about gonfalons check out our gonfalon page. 

 

Gonfalon - an elaborate flag, usually of intricate design hung from a crossbar. Gonfalons can be used for a variety of reasons. Often graduation gonfalons are used at high school or college graduations. 

 

 

 

 

Here are some additional flag terms you may find interesting:

 flag terms or parts of a flag

Canton – the upper hoist quarter of a flag (see hoist below)

Charge – an emblem or device added to a flag or shield

Cockade – an ornament (rosette) or other significant colors worn as badge

Field – the background color of a flag or shield

Fimbriation – a thin band of color that separates two other colors

Fly – the half of a flag away from the flagstaff

Hoist – the half of a flag nearest the staff

Jack – a flag flown at the bow of a ship to indicate its nationality

Jolly Roger – common name for flag supposedly used by pirate…Arr

Livery Colors – the main colors of the field and main figure on a coat of arms

Obverse – the side of a flag seen when the staff is on the spectator’s left

Saltire – a diagonal cross

Staff – the pole from which a flag is flown

Fascinating isn’t it? Don’t forget to search “gonfalon” and may, your un-tattered flag always fly true in a stiff breeze.

New Call-to-action

 

 

Please note the source for the above information is from Flags by Kent Alexander & Dr. Whitney Smith (Consulting Editor), published in 1992 by Mallard Press, NY, NY.

Topics: American flag, flag facts, flag terms, flag repair, U.S. flag, flag history, USA flag, flag parts, flag anatomy, gonfalon, vexillology

Subscribe to Email Updates