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Column: Fly your flag with pride, legally

Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s publicist let the world know they gave a million dollars to the disaster relief fund. And while that is a generous contribution, don’t forget Shriver comes from one of the wealthiest families in the universe – the Kennedys – and Arnold makes $20 million a movie. So, it is similar to you or me giving 10 bucks. I’ve made at least a $15 donation to the Red Cross, so my public relations guy should be contacting Larry King any day.

Yes, the celebrities are back in the news and capitalism is once again popular. I think these are good signs that the country is getting back to normal.

For example, as I was watching the tube today I saw the ultimate in American culture – a commercial. This one was selling American flags for your car. A flag that can easily be attached to any car or truck window and can wave in the wind as you dash in an out of traffic.

With this flag, all the other commuters will know you are more patriotic than the guy with the Buccaneer flag. But it has so many more uses. You can put it on your bike or lawnmower.Or you can display it in your home. Attach it to your computer so you can see “Old Glory” while you work.

But wait. In addition to the American flag, you also receive this one-of-a-kind “God Bless America” flag to put on your other car window. Or on your other bicycle, lawnmower, etc.

And if you call now, you will also receive four American flag plastic decals to put all around your house and office. All for only $14.99. Not sold in stores and supply is limited.

Yes, just as 80-degree weather marks the beginning of the autumn season in Florida, this commercial gave me some comfort in the resilience of America. We’re back and ready to sell you something.

Now, before you start calling me a communist and tell me to go back to one of those communist countries, it has given me much joy and solace to see the open display of patriotism during the past three weeks. But I am concerned that people are not being flag-savvy. We are just whipping out the Stars and Stripes and putting it anywhere and everywhere. And that is not a good thing.

According to the U.S Flag Code, it is customary to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. The flag can be flown at night for patriotic effect if it is properly illuminated. The flag should not be flown in inclement weather, unless it is an all-weather flag.

The code also says when the flag is displayed on a motorcar, the staff should be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.

Continuing down the list, the code states that the flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding or drapery or used for advertising purposes.

When wearing a flag pin, it should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.

Now you are all vexillologists. So go and get your flag and display it properly. And yell at the people who don’t. Isn’t that what America is all about?

  • Ann Norsworthy is The Oracle senior staff