Next week we will commemorate Flag Day, and because the American flag is the symbol of the hopes, dreams and people of the United States, we thought it only made sense to celebrate with you – our Girl Scout family in Middle Tennessee!
While always prepared and ready to adapt to modern times, Girl Scouts also has deeply rooted ceremonies and traditions. These include our opening and closing ceremonies, investitures, rededications and the topic of today: flag ceremonies!
Flag ceremonies honor the American flag and can be used for beginning and ending of special activities, events or troop meetings. Flag ceremonies may take place indoors or outdoors, and if your group includes girls or volunteers from other countries, they can honor their flags in an international flag ceremony too!
When planning a flag ceremony start simple and scale the ceremony to the event. A flag ceremony for a troop meeting can look very different than the flag ceremony for an awards banquet. Remember, the most important part of the flag ceremony is always respect for the flag.
A few tips from the United States Flag Code include:
- The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of states or countries (or localities or pennants of societies) are grouped and displayed from staffs on America soil.
- When the flags are posted in stands or raised on a pole, the American flag is always kept higher than other flags, so it is placed in its stand after other flags are lowered into their standards, or it is raised up a pole first. When it’s time to retire the colors, the American flag is taken out of its stand first so it remains the highest flag at all times.
- The flag, when carried in a procession with other flags, should be either on the marching right or, if there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line.
- When you display the flag on a wall or in a window where people can see it from the street, it should appear flat with the blue part at the top and on the flag’s own right (which is the observer’s left).
- When displayed after dark, the flag should be illuminated.
- The flag is to be hoisted briskly and lowered slowly, with dignity.
- Never use the flag as a cover or place anything on top of it.