GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — On Sunday, multiple players knelt during the national anthem following comments by President Donald Trump, leading to a debate over what it means to respect the American flag.
The United States Flag Code has some guidelines to go by.
On June 14, 1923, the National Flag Conference adopted the National Flag Code.
Under section 176 of the code, it lists 11 ways to respect or forms of disrespect in regards to handling and displaying the stars and stripes.
Not everybody realizes that they may have already disrespected the flag and the code.
Luke Lish is just one of many who read the flag code for the first time.
“I think a few people know a few rules about the code,” said Lish. “I think a lot of them would come as a surprise to most people.”
After President Trump’s remarks on Friday, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag to say get that son of a ***** off the field right now out he is fired,” questions of what is considered disrespect arose. Some already had an idea.
“You’re not supposed to wear the flag it’s not supposed to be printed on plates or anything that we eat off of and that it should be flying freely and not held horizontally,” said Taylor Derrenbacher.
Others were surprised to hear they’ve been breaking code all their lives.
“‘It should never be used as a covering for a ceiling;’ here in Greenville everyone uses a flag as part of their ceiling cover,” said Lish.
“It says the flag should never be used as wearing apparel bedding or drapery, duh, we have that all the time,” added Pitt County resident Marilyn Davis.
After learning of the code, some said there is a bigger problem.
“I don’t understand how he can tweet stuff like that with knowledge that we disrespect the flag so much already,” Lish said.
Davis said the flag should be used to unite.
“We are one nation and we have that one flag so one flag represents all of us we are the land of the free home of the brave and that’s all I got to say about this matter,” said Davis.
In the code, it does not discuss whether it is disrespectful to sit when addressing the flag.
But it does note that the commander-in-chief can alter or modify a rule or custom pertaining to the display of the flag.
The Flag Code does not impose penalties for disrespecting the flag.
You can read the Flag Code here.