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The US Flag and your avatar

Discussion in 'Community Help Center' started by KV6O, Aug 30, 2019.

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  1. KV6O

    KV6O Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not really sure where to put this, so I'll try here. Moderator - if this is more appropriate in "General Questions and Answers", or "Ham Radio Discussions", please move it. Since it wasn't directly ham radio related, but more site use related, I stuck it here.

    I have noticed an increase in the use of the US Flag on some Zedders avatar picture; as well as on people cars, trucks, etc. The "Flag Code" (US Code Title 36, Chapter 10) was enacted in 1923 to address how the US Flag should be displayed, and shown respect.

    The section on Respect is below:

    §176. Respect for flag
    No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.
    • (a) The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
    • (b) The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
    • (c) The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
    • (d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker's desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.
    • (e) The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
    • (f) The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.
    • (g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
    • (h) The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
    • (i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.
    • (j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.
    • (k) The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.

    I have always taken this code seriously, for my own personal reasons that aren't important. I also am aware that the 1st Amendment basically overrides all of this - there is no punishment for violating any of this. But I think that many or perhaps all of the the QRZ members who choose to display some image of the flag in their avatar are not doing so out of malice, but perhaps unaware that such a display is actually disrespectful to the flag and what it stands for as a matter of (unenforceable) law.

    Unfortunately, IMHO, the respect for the Ffag has been eroding. There are several business in town here that have various "flag" graphics on their work/delivery vehicles, and I personally will not do business with them. We see flags costumes, flags being worn as capes, etc., and I just see that as an erosion of the respect that I think many of us feel the flag should be shown.

    I just wanted to bring this up for discussion, and awareness. If you have the flag displayed in your avatar, please consider that there are some of us who find it disrespectful and distasteful - even if you're doing it for seemingly patriotic reasons.

    I'll get off my soapbox now, and in the big scheme of life this is pretty far down the list I guess. But I think holding a door for someone, using "please/thank you", etc., are respectful, courteous acts that make for a better society. How you respect your flag is part of that.


    Stephen Leander
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
    NY4Q and N0TZU like this.
  2. W0AEW

    W0AEW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Flag decals, t-shirts, car designs, etc. are a memory aid for folks who keep forgetting what country they're in.
  3. K3XR

    K3XR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Timely topic. Just returned from placing a row of flags on the property facing the road.
    WR2E likes this.
  4. ND6M

    ND6M Ham Member QRZ Page

    You confuse pictures, images, ect. with the actual flag.
    KK7AMB, N6HCM, K8MHZ and 1 other person like this.
  5. N1OOQ

    N1OOQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Bands quiet lately or something? My rig is down for repair...
  6. WR2E

    WR2E Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Stephen, if the avatar is respectfully displaying the American Flag, in what way do you find that improper?

    Understood if it's upside down, or in a mud puddle, or something like that... but if it IS an image of the US Flag, and displayed without malice, how is it a bad thing?

    I'm otherwise with ya 100%.
  7. WR2E

    WR2E Ham Member QRZ Page

    For example, what is wrong with this as an avatar?
    K3XR likes this.
  8. KV6O

    KV6O Ham Member QRZ Page

    No, I recognizance a difference. Just because it's a picture, doesn't mean anything goes. A picture of a Walmart with a flag flying is a picture of a Walmart that incidentally has a flag in it. A news story showing a video of protesters burning a flag is a news story. But a graphic design incorporating the flag as a main element IS (IMHO) "displaying" the flag.

    g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.

    See above. Again, this is my opinion and interpretation, and the 1st amendment right to free speech protects this.

    I know this might not be a popular notion, and many don't see it the way I see it. That's OK. I just hope I have you looking and maybe asking yourself what is OK.
  9. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I agree in general. But I don’t think that having a small flag image at the top of one’s bio page is an issue, as it just helps to quickly identify the country of the ham. Also, adding more flags to one’s bio doesn’t bother me as long as it’s done in good taste and respectfully. I view it as the internet version of flying the flag at one’s home, and if someone wants to do that, fine with me.

    (I am bothered by putting the flag on clothing as I think it greatly cheapens the flag patches worn by those in service to our country in the armed forces or public service. Unfortunately sometimes it can be hard to avoid. For example my Krav Maga shirt has a stylized flag on one shoulder, and the T-shirt everyone gets at my shooting range has both US and CO flags. I’ve been meaning to mention this concern to them, so thanks for the reminder.)

    (One cynical use of the flag that I wish didn’t happen is flying an enormous one at businesses, particularly car dealerships, as a way to attract attention and skirt the typical municipal sign code which doesn’t allow large commercial signs on extremely tall poles.)
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
    N6HCM likes this.
  10. KV6O

    KV6O Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ick. My respect for proper proofreading has also been eroding I guess... :rolleyes:

    This is a very much, "subject to interpretation" issue. There is no wrong, as the First Amendment allows for any position. Just sharing an opinion, and I do respect yours - not trying to make an argument, just share a point of view. I think it's worth reading the code to get a feel of how the law was written.
    N6HCM likes this.

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