Observing Proper Memorial Day Flag Etiquette

On #Memorial Day, American #flags should be raised “to full staff briskly, then lowered to a half-staff position, where they will remain until noon,” according to the Farmer’s Almanac. If you wish to volunteer to place small flags or wreaths on the #graves of those who served, contact the local chapters of #veterans organizations such as Vietnam Veterans of America, American Legion or Daughters of the American Revolution. “The ritual of visiting family graves and memorials was never a morbid tradition,” the almanac says. “Rather, it was an annual act of #remembrance, as well as a chance to clean and decorate family memorials.”

Make Memorial Day Meaningful

While most Americans see #Memorial Day as an excuse to kick back, cook out and watch a parade, make time to remember those who gave their lives in service, the Wounded Warrior Project says. Pay tribute to their memory by flying the #flag or placing flowers or wreaths on deceased service members’ graves. When it comes to #thanking a #veteran, remember that the holiday is reserved for those who lost their lives in conflict, so ask living veterans to have a “meaningful” Memorial Day and/or say the name of someone who made the ultimate sacrifice, the project says. “You can even say, ‘Today and always, I’m remembering [veteran’s name].’” #MemorialDay

Be True to the Red, White & Blue

#Memorial Day is a great time to break out the patriotic red, white and blue decorations, says The Pioneer Woman, including #flags, wreaths and bunting. To observe the original spirit of the holiday and honor those who served, do a patriotic reading such as “In Flanders Fields” — the poem that inspired the wearing of poppies. You might also write letters or send care packages to active-duty members of the military or lay a wreath on a grave at the local #veterans cemetery. And to celebrate with a #cookout, try baking a red-white-and-blue trifle for your family. #MemorialDay

Retiring Worn Flags With Dignity

The U.S. Flag Code suggests retiring damaged or worn U.S. flags in “a dignified way, preferably by burning.” The Vietnam Veterans of America, American Legion and Scouts often offer assistance in flag disposal, collecting used flags and ending their service at public events. “If you can’t drop [your used flag] off with one of the aforementioned groups, you can do your own small ceremony — as long as it’s still held in a dignified manner,” says the U.S. Department of Defense. Fold the flag into its customary tucked triangle and build a fire big enough to fully incinerate it. Place the flag on the fire, salute and hold a moment of silence. #FlagDay

American Flags Appear in Unusual Places

In addition to adorning countless homes, facilities and businesses for Flag Day, Independence Day and other holidays, American flags have been planted in plenty of unusual places such as the North Pole, South Pole and Mount Everest. Thanks to a 1989 Supreme Court decision, stars-and-stripes designs also appear on countless articles of clothing, advertisements and even foodstuffs. The farthest-flung flags ever planted, however, are the six left by the manned moon missions of the Apollo era. They are now deteriorating and likely completely white, having been bleached by unfiltered ultraviolet light. #FlagDay