Memorial Day is upon us. Many Americans like to honor the departed, especially those who served in the armed forces or were first responders, by placing a small U.S. flag on the grave of their loved one. Title 4 U.S. Code, Chapter 1 says, “It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.”

Since lighting a flag on a grave in a cemetery is impractical, if you place a flag on the grave of a departed family member, it is important to return before sundown and retrieve the flag. Allowing the flag to remain after sunset is to dishonor the flag the deceased served under.

Placing bunting on the grave is an acceptable alternative and does not need to be retrieved before sundown. Plus, go to cemetery and you can find unserviceable U.S.flags that have been left for months.

As we seek to honor the service of our departed, let’s make sure we do so in a way that also honors our nations flag.

Jonathan White


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