March 30, 2017
To clarify, only the United States flag patches worn on the right shoulder are reversed. And no, this is not due to a mistake.
Many civilians have expressed concern regarding this practice, claiming that it was disrespectful of Old Glory and misrepresents our country that the Department of Defense felt compelled to offer an explanation to clear things up:
"Thank you for your inquiry about the proper placement of the American flag on the uniform of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Army Regulation 670-1 addresses explicitly the proper and lawful placement of the U.S. flag patch on the Army uniform.
The regulation states that when authorized for application to the proper uniform the American flag patch is to be worn, right or left shoulder, so that “the star field faces forward, or to the flag’s own right. When worn in this manner, the flag is facing to the observer’s right, and gives the effect of the flag flying in the breeze as the wearer moves forward. The appropriate replica for the right shoulder sleeve is identified as the ‘reverse side flag’.”
So there you have it, it’s all about the proper display of the flag.
When displayed, the blue field with the stars should always have the highest place of honor. This place is the upper left when the flag is displayed horizontally and vertically on a wall. When on a moving object though, the highest position of honor becomes the front and facing the viewer’s right.
If you have noticed in airports, the US-flagged aircrafts also display the reverse side flag.
In vehicles where the US flag is allowed to be displayed, the same principle applies.
It’s no different with military uniforms. When viewed on a moving object, the flag should always appear like it’s going forward, with the stripes flying behind, instead of retreating (which it would seem, if the flag is not reversed on the moving object’s right side).
In the updated Army Battle Dress Uniform, the red, white and blue flag patch on military uniforms will be replaced with a muted color that won’t defeat the purpose of camouflage.
A Bit about the US Flag in Sports Uniforms
The United States Flag Code which was written in 1923 states that “No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform.” However, the US Flag is a common part of sports uniforms, particularly in America’s favorite pastime – baseball.
The Flag Code is essentially just a guideline, despite having been passed into law during World War II. The power of the First Amendment, which protects the right of Americans to free speech, prevents the direct enforcement of the Flag Code.
The first team to put an American flag on its uniform was the Chicago White Sox in 1917 in honor of our troops during World War I. After the events of 9/11, every Major League baseball team embroidered the American flag on their jerseys and hats for the rest of the season. MLB’s tradition of wearing the flag on their uniforms and hats continue to this day.
March 31, 2017
Thank you for sharing this! I love ol Glory! If people still had encyclopedias they can find flag uhh rules?.. Well things such as where and how flags should be flown in home and on/ around home. One of my favorite less known is that the stars ( when a flag is flown over a street or other such area) should always be in north and/or east. This honors the original 13 that are in the north east. You can also find flag rules in old student dictionaries. Shame old books like those get thrown away! Even bigger shame that ol glory is not getting the deserved respect and honor due. Thank you for your time!
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