I am the flag of the United States of America. My name is Old Glory. I fly atop the world's tallest buildings. I stand watch in America's halls of justice. I fly majestically over great institutions of learning. I stand guard with the greatest military power in the world. Look up and see me!
I stand for peace – honor – truth and justice. I stand for freedom. I am confident – I am resolved – I am proud.
When I am flown with my fellow banners, my head is a little higher – my colors a little truer.
I am recognized all over the world. I am respected – I am loved and I am feared! And when attacked, my goal is victory.
I have fought in every battle of every war for more than 200 years: Gettysburg, San Juan Hill, the trenches of France, the Argonne Forest, Anzio, Rome, the beaches of Normandy, Guam, Okinawa, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, in the Persian Gulf and a score of places long forgotten, by all but those who were there with me ... I was there!
I led my soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. I followed them and watched over them. They loved me.
I was on a small hill in Iwo Jima, I was dirty, battle worn and tired. But my soldiers cheered me! And I was proud!
I have been soiled, burned, torn and trampled on in the streets of countries I have helped set free, but it does not hurt – for at least and at last, they are free!
I have flown over the rubble in New York City after a dastardly attack on America and the free world, where thousands of my citizens and other nations' citizens perished - and that does hurt. And my miracle men and women of the armed forces who are fighting to free Iraq and Afghanistan from the control of tyrannical dictators who have held their own people as slaves and who sponsor and train terrorists to bring havoc to all freedom loving people everywhere. The magnificent men and women of our military look up to me as they fight to turn the tide of this ruthless and despicable enemy. And how disheartening and demoralizing it is for my troops to hear the caustic and critical words from those who want and demand immediate success at no cost to anyone. Remember America, freedom doesn't come overnight – freedom has a cost! And now our troops are working around the clock to bring order and purpose out of "Katrina's" attack on our own soil, and I am proud of them as over any military victory in our history.
But I shall overcome – for I am stronger than the terrorists cowards and dictators who have now sealed their own fate- defeat! And this nation will not remain incapacitated by the forces of nature. Mark my word - we will not fail.
I have been a silent witness to all of America's finest hours and I now long to see us united as never before, but my finest hour comes when I am torn in strips to be used as bandages for my wounded comrades on the field of battle. When I fly at half-mast to honor my soldiers, my sailors, my airmen, my marines, firemen and policemen and medical workers, and when I lie in the trembling arms of a grieving mother at the graveside of her fallen son.
America, I am proud to be your flag and your banner for freedom. My name is "Old Glory". Long may I wave. Dear god, long may I wave!
When to Display your Flag
The flag should be displayed from sunrise to sunset on all days when weather permits and particulary on the following occasions :
Flag Etiquette and Standards of Respect
The Flag Code formalizes and unifies the traditional ways in which we give respect to the flag. It also contains instructions on how the flag is not to be abused, specifically ...
Displaying the Flag Outdoors
When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting from a window, balcony, or a building, the union should be at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half staff. When it is displayed from the same flagpole with another flag - of a state, community, society or Scout unit - the flag of the United States must always be at the top except that the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for Navy personnel when conducted by a Naval chaplain on a ship at sea.
When the flag is displayed over a street, it should be hung vertically, with the union to the north or east. If the flag is suspended over a sidewalk, the flag's union should be farthest from the building.
When flown with flags of states, communities, or societies on separate flag poles which are of the same height and in a straight line, the flag of the United States is always placed in the position of honor - to its own right. The other flags may be smaller but none may be larger. No other flag ever should be placed above it. The flag of the United States is always the first flag raised and the last to be lowered.
When flown with the national banner of other countries, each flag must be displayed from a separate pole of the same height. Each flag should be the same size. They should be raised and lowered simultaneously. The flag of one nation may not be displayed above that of another nation.
Raising and Lowering the Flag
The flag should be raised briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously. Ordinarily it should be displayed only between sunrise and sunset. It should be illuminated if displayed at night.
The flag of the United States of America is saluted as it is hoisted and lowered. The salute is held until the flag is unsnapped from the halyard or through the last note of music, whichever is the longest.
Displaying the Flag Indoors
When on display, the flag is accorded the place of honor, always positioned to its own right. Place it to the right of the speaker or staging area or sanctuary. Other flags should be to the left.
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, localities, or societies are grouped for display.
When one flag is used with the flag of the United States of America and the staffs are crossed, the flag of the United States is placed on its own right with its staff in front of the other flag.
When displaying the flag against a wall, vertically or horizontally, the flag's union (stars) should be at the top, to the flag's own right, and to the observer's left.
Parading and Saluting the Flag
When carried in a procession, the flag should be to the right of the marchers. When other flags are carried, the flag of the United States may be centered in front of the others or carried to their right. When the flag passes in a procession, or when it is hoisted or lowered, all should face the flag and salute.
To salute, all persons come to attention. Those in uniform give the appropriate formal salute. Citizens not in uniform salute by placing their right hand over the heart and men with head cover should remove it and hold it to left shoulder, hand over the heart. Members of organizations in formation salute upon command of the person in charge.
The Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem
The pledge of allegiance should be rendered by standing at attention, facing the flag, and saluting.
When the national anthem is played or sung, citizens should stand at attention and salute at the first note and hold the salute through the last note. The salute is directed to the flag, if displayed, otherwise to the music.
The Flag in Mourning
To place the flag at half staff, hoist it to the peak for an instant and lower it to a position half way between the top and bottom of the staff. The flag is to be raised again to the peak for a moment before it is lowered. On Memorial Day the flag is displayed at half staff until noon and at full staff from noon to sunset.
The flag is to be flown at half staff in mourning for designated, principal government leaders and upon presidential or gubernatorial order.
When used to cover a casket, the flag should be placed with the union at the head and over the left shoulder. It should not be lowered into the grave.
Produced by intrepid Boy Scouts, this informative 2-part video covers flag retirement ceremony organization and safety