Red, white and blue on display in all forms on Memorial Day

Allison Manning
Corpural Kyle McKelvey salutes the flag during Flag Day festivities.

Red, white and blue on display in all forms on Memorial Day

It’s the time of year when red, white and blue are everywhere – on flagpoles, on clothing and even on our party decorations. But no matter in what form the colors come, they still symbolize the pride of America, veterans say.

“When you see a flag, that’s a unifying thing that rallies all Americans,” Air Force veteran Conley Ford said. “It represents our nation and what we stand for.”

Veterans Agent Anton Materna recounted displays of flags at the funeral processions of fallen soldiers, most recently Spc. Matthew Pollini and Marine Lance Cpl. Walter O’Haire.

“I think when you see a casket-draped flag, that is symbolic of one’s sacrifices for this country,” he said.

“I think the flag, the Stars and the Stripes, represents what America is all about,” said Materna, a Navy veteran.

Around holidays like Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, there is a bonanza of red, white and blue merchandise. Ford said he didn’t see any harm in napkins or place mats with the colors.

Those displays are fine, Materna said, as long as the wearing of the colors isn’t “sloppy.”

Sometimes it can go too far, Ford said. “If that happens, people don’t buy it anymore,” he said. “It’s self-regulating.”

Flag etiquette

- Must be illuminated at night.

- On Memorial Day, the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon, then raised to the top of the staff.

- It should never touch the ground.

- It should never be carried flat or horizontally.

- It should not be draped over a vehicle or boat.

- Not for use as clothing, bedding or drapery, ceiling covering, advertising, printing for napkins, boxes or anything that is discarded.

- Not for use as a costume or uniform, but can be used as a uniform patch.

Source: American Legion; Anton Materna

By the numbers

5 MILLION flags a year are manufactured by Annin and Co., the largest flag maker in the U.S.

3-BY-5 FEET is the most popular size.

30-BY-60 FEET is the largest. 

4-BY-6 INCHES is the smallest.

Source: Annin and Co.