The American flag has long stood as a physical symbol of the United States of America and it's triumphs and accomplishments from its very founding up to the shuttle launch. National flags become very closely associated with the countries they represent over time, and the U.S. flag is no different in this manner. Any American who has lived stateside for some period of time doubtlessly has viewed and gained understanding at some level of this national symbol. The different visual elements including the colors chosen as well as the symbols depicted all stand for something. In reverence for U.S. flags and in their defense, there are rules and regulations on how this item is supposed to be handled as well as how it is supposed to be used and even stored.
The Stars and Stripes
The American flag is also known as the "Stars and Stripes" because of the design elements that appear upon it. There are thirteen equally sized stripes going across the surface and alternating between red and white. And in the upper corner there is a blue box with fifty white stars in a certain ordered formation. The number of the stars is significant because it represents the number of the thirteen original colonies. Upon the close of the Revolutionary War, these colonies became states as they ratified the U.S. Constitution.
The stars in the blue box symbolize the fifty states in the country today. Ever since Hawaii and Alaska were granted statehood in 1959 and 1960, this number has been constant. The number of states in the Union is significant for many different reasons. One of the important ones is the fact that we draw membership figures in the American Senate from that number. There are two Senators from each state, so the country currently has 100 members in the Senate.
Flag Decoration and Etiquette
Traditionally, it has been acceptable to decorate the inside edge of the American flag that sits up against a flagpole with golden fringe as long as it does not get in the way of the main design. This is not, however, an official part of the design, only a way to dress it up a little bit and enhance its beauty. Governments of many states in the country have also adopted this custom in the decoration of their flags. It is not uncommon at all to see on these flags in front of courthouses and other official governmental buildings.
There are some specific rules for etiquette that people are supposed to follow in regards to the American flag. For instance, the flag is never supposed to be left out on a pole at night without being lit. If there is no means of lighting them up at night, American flags are supposed to be taken down before sundown. This is an important part of the etiquette in dealing with these symbols. The same rules also pertain to flags on cars and pinned to houses. Even high performance car insurance customers are subject to American flag etiquette.
There are many other ways in which folks are to work to treat this national symbol with respect and reverence. Even edges of the flag are not supposed to touch the ground, for example. There are many other examples as well, and anyone who wishes to display this national symbol needs to read up on what is expected before they do so, because even in an effort to show patriotism, they could unwittingly fail to follow convention and proper etiquette. American rules for dealing with the American flag are somewhat similar to those in use for flags of countries all around the globe.