What US laws says about the anthem and flag

After all the can of worms Donald Trump opened up last week, here is roughly what US laws state about what you can and can’t do regarding the anthem and flag. Note that much of them aren’t enforced.

US national anthem etiquette is laid out under US Code Title 36, Subtitle 1, Part A, Chapter 3. Under this code, any non-military member is required to “face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart.” And, if there is no flag present, “all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed.”

That means facing the wrong direction, slouching or failing to put your right hand over your heart while the anthem plays at a sports event is technically a sign of disrespect. But everyone does it anyway. I’m sure talking during the anthem is frown upon but is done anyways.

US flag laws are even more stringent under US Code Title 4, Chapter 1, section 8. This section dictates that the flag should never be upside down except in times of distress, that the flag should never touch anything beneath it, that it should never be carried flat or horizontally, and that it “should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding or drapery.”

Seen the flag carried horizontally many times such at sporting events, plenty of cases where the flag [or a portion] used in bathing suits, t-shirts, shorts, etc.

Other prohibited acts include:

  • Putting any mark, letter, word, insignia, design or picture on the flag
  • Using it to carry anything
  • Using it for advertising [except it has been quite often]
  • Using it as a costume or athletic uniform [tell that to Captain America, Harlem Globetrotters, Team USA and others]