As Hoosiers honor the country this Fourth of July, they're being encouraged to follow proper flag etiquette when flying "Old Glory."
Mike Buss, a deputy director with the American Legion National Headquarters in Indianapolis, says the American flag represents the nation's freedom and should be honored by all citizens, regardless of their political views.
"No matter what party is in office, it represents all of us," says Buss. "It represents our country, it represents what we believe in, our freedoms - and we should always think the flag is that, and it should be respected as such."
According to the U.S. Flag Code, the United States flag can be displayed 24 hours a day only if it is properly illuminated at night. And it can be displayed in inclement weather if it is an all-weather flag. If the flag is not a fitting emblem for display and is tattered and torn, Buss says, it should be taken down. An American Legion post will properly dispose of it in a ceremony.
Buss encourages all Americans to fly the flag every day of the year, especially on patriotic holidays. And he says it is OK to decorate or dress in items that resemble the flag.
"As long as an article of clothing or anything really is not made from a United States flag, then that's fine," he explains. "We see many people that will have the United States flag maybe silk-screened on a t-shirt. That's great, they're being very patriotic."
The American Legion has the Flag Code on its website, along with common questions and answers about flag etiquette.
The American flag was officially adopted 237 years ago, one year after the United States declared its independence from Great Britain. The original design has been modified 26 times and the current 50-star flag was ordered in 1959.