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Old 09-25-2016, 02:17 PM
jebert jebert is offline
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Do nations other than the US have specific protocols for folding their flags?

In the US the nation's flag is traditionally folded into a triangular shape via a specific procedure, familiar to the military and Boy Scouts. Are there any other countries that have a specific folding procedure? Do any individual US states have such a procedure for folding their state flags?
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Old 09-25-2016, 02:28 PM
engineer_comp_geek engineer_comp_geek is online now
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This wiki page doesn't go into a huge amount of detail, but it does list some things:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_protocol

This site has more detail. I checked a few countries and some list protocols and some don't.
http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/
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Old 09-25-2016, 03:29 PM
Nava Nava is offline
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The Spanish Armed Forces regulations include details on how to fold flags, but they only apply to whichever branch that specific regulation applies to.

The rest of the country just folds them like any other flat piece of cloth.
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Old 09-25-2016, 05:27 PM
bob++ bob++ is offline
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It seems that the US has a great deal more 'reverence' for its flag than most other contries.
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Old 09-25-2016, 05:28 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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Here's a page from Wikihow (so take the content with a huge grain of salt) on how to fold the American, Canadian, British and Australian flags. The instructions for the American flag give the familiar triangular shape, while the Canadian flag appears to end in a rectangle. The British and Australian flags end up in a rolled bundle, sort of like a burrito.

And I remember seeing a page (that I can't find now) about how to roll up a Canadian flag so that you could attach the roll to the flagpole and then have it unfurl after it's raised.

Edited to add, this PDF document explains how to "break the flag."

Last edited by Dewey Finn; 09-25-2016 at 05:31 PM.
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Old 09-25-2016, 08:38 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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I think the state of Ohio has an official procedure for folding our flag, but that's just because nobody would be able to figure it out without instructions.
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Old 09-25-2016, 09:50 PM
Wallaby Wallaby is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob++ View Post
It seems that the US has a great deal more 'reverence' for its flag than most other contries.
I did read somewhere a theory that says because the US doesn't have a Royal Family (and the President is just another politician - ie hated by 50% of the population by definition), they use the Flag and the Anthem as their Sacred Historic Symbols that don't actually mean anything, but create a historical narrative, and create a focus for patriotic/nationalistic celebration.

I'm paraphrasing from when I read it (many years ago) - I apologise for not describing it clearly - but I can see what the writer intended. Noit 100% sure I agree, but I can see where he's coming from.
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Old 09-26-2016, 02:21 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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Originally Posted by bob++ View Post
It seems that the US has a great deal more 'reverence' for its flag than most other contries.
Depends on how you look at it. On one hand you have a lot more protocols on how to deal with it, and on the other you consider it normal to wear it in your asscrack, and protected speech to burn it so long as the person doing the burning is himself American.

Last edited by Nava; 09-26-2016 at 02:23 AM.
  #9  
Old 09-26-2016, 03:16 AM
Francis Vaughan Francis Vaughan is offline
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That way of rolling a flag for breaking it is what we were taught in the Scouts here in Oz.

Breaking of a flag, rather than raising it unfurled seems to be the critical difference. It allows the saluting of the flag to be performed in a well choreographed and quick ceremony.

The rule set of handling of a flag was reasonably complete, although it tends to be ignored, or perhaps superseded in many places. For instance the flag was not to be flown outside after dusk. Quite a few flags in Oz are seen at night now, but I would assume flags that are illuminated get a pass on this rule. Never letting the flag touch the ground is another rule. Thus lowering and folding the flag was typically a two person job.

Another rule that I have never been round to witness the enforcement of, is that if a flag is to be flown at half mast, it must be raised to the full height and then lowered, and not simply raised to half way.

Last edited by Francis Vaughan; 09-26-2016 at 03:20 AM.
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Old 09-26-2016, 06:15 AM
PatrickLondon PatrickLondon is online now
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I've never been particularly aware of any great rules in the UK. I learnt about breaking a flag (or even worked it out for myself?) with the school rowing club flag at a boathouse open day (and that was mainly because there was a good breeze blowing, and I thought it would look a bit more dramatic).

As for not letting it touch the ground, IIRC, it's not uncommon when dipping hand-held flags at Remembrance Day parades.

I've just googled around a bit, and apparently dipping to the ground as a salute is known as "vailing" and is indeed not uncommon in a number of countries.

It also appears that some MPs have taken it upon themselves to issue a protocol guide:
http://www.flaginstitute.org/pdfs/Fl...ed_Kingdom.pdf
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Old 09-26-2016, 08:41 AM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Gosh I remember how seriously it was taught at summer camp and how seriously I took it for years, and will do, in a way, for years. I even remember and understood one part, as as a boy, the outrage Abbie Hoffman wore a flag shirt.

It is similar (unsurprisingly, less stringent) than the Jewish customs and outright strictures on taking out, displaying, and putting away the scroll of the Torah, including (as an adherent, I feel mandated to write "God forbid") letting it touch the ground.

About the US flag, it still is an issue for me, although I only now am directly involved as an observer and society member: eg, calling my housing complex management and giving them hell for allowing the maintenance staff to get away with half-assed half-mast flags flying in the absence of symbolic need.

Last edited by Leo Bloom; 09-26-2016 at 08:42 AM.
  #12  
Old 09-26-2016, 08:43 AM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Nm

Last edited by Leo Bloom; 09-26-2016 at 08:46 AM.
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Old 09-26-2016, 08:45 AM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Nm

Last edited by Leo Bloom; 09-26-2016 at 08:47 AM. Reason: Triple post;a record
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Old 09-26-2016, 08:46 AM
MrDibble MrDibble is online now
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South Africa has all the usual rules about not defacing, which way up, where it goes relative to other flags etc, but nothing about folding, AFAICT.
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Old 09-26-2016, 09:07 AM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Quote:
Quoth Francis Vaughan:


The rule set of handling of a flag was reasonably complete, although it tends to be ignored, or perhaps superseded in many places. For instance the flag was not to be flown outside after dusk. Quite a few flags in Oz are seen at night now, but I would assume flags that are illuminated get a pass on this rule. Never letting the flag touch the ground is another rule. Thus lowering and folding the flag was typically a two person job.

Another rule that I have never been round to witness the enforcement of, is that if a flag is to be flown at half mast, it must be raised to the full height and then lowered, and not simply raised to half way.
Yup, these rules apply to the American flag, too. Flying at night with illumination is allowed, but the Flag Code explicitly says that if possible, taking it down every evening is still preferred. Which of course doesn't stop the people one would think would take the Flag Code most seriously from flying it 24/7.
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Old 09-26-2016, 09:36 AM
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Most people in the UK don't even know that flying the union flag upside down is even a thing, let alone recognise when it is. I once almost got beaten up by a far-right skinhead for pointing out his tattoo was upside down - not sure if it was me calling him disrespectful to the Queen or my sniggering when doing so, but he sure got mad!
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Old 09-26-2016, 09:47 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallaby View Post
I did read somewhere a theory that says because the US doesn't have a Royal Family (and the President is just another politician - ie hated by 50% of the population by definition), they use the Flag and the Anthem as their Sacred Historic Symbols that don't actually mean anything, but create a historical narrative, and create a focus for patriotic/nationalistic celebration.
That doesn't really make sense, though. Most countries don't have royal families (even if you include the various Commonwealth states for whom the Queen is still nominal head of state) and even those non-monarchies that have separate heads of state and government usually elect both.

Besides, from prior threads I understand that the Danes are the only people in the world who are as into their flag as us, and they have a monarchy too.
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Old 09-26-2016, 09:58 AM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob++ View Post
It seems that the US has a great deal more 'reverence' for its flag than most other contries.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallaby View Post
I did read somewhere a theory that says because the US doesn't have a Royal Family (and the President is just another politician - ie hated by 50% of the population by definition), they use the Flag and the Anthem as their Sacred Historic Symbols that don't actually mean anything, but create a historical narrative, and create a focus for patriotic/nationalistic celebration.

I'm paraphrasing from when I read it (many years ago) - I apologise for not describing it clearly - but I can see what the writer intended. Noit 100% sure I agree, but I can see where he's coming from.
The argument I heard is that most of the Old World countries have centuries of history and tradition as a people. The English have been the English for over a thousand years, as have the French, the Germans and other peoples.

But the US is only a couple of hundred years old and doesn't have this history and tradition as a people, so we ascribe greater meaning to symbols like the flag.
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Old 09-26-2016, 10:11 AM
Si Amigo Si Amigo is offline
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
I think the state of Ohio has an official procedure for folding our flag, but that's just because nobody would be able to figure it out without instructions.
Apparently the instructions for properly folding the Ohio Burgee were codified into a law in 2005.

Last edited by Si Amigo; 09-26-2016 at 10:13 AM.
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Old 09-26-2016, 10:19 AM
PatrickLondon PatrickLondon is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
The argument I heard is that most of the Old World countries have centuries of history and tradition as a people. The English have been the English for over a thousand years, as have the French, the Germans and other peoples.

But the US is only a couple of hundred years old and doesn't have this history and tradition as a people, so we ascribe greater meaning to symbols like the flag.
Or perhaps the US is just old enough to have inherited the feeling that it ought to sacralise some symbol of national unity, albeit with no overt religious connections, whereas both older countries with a different locus of national identity (and heaven knows, that's a fraught enough question in many) or a more recent establishment have either a more world-weary or pragmatic approach?

Compare and contrast, as the old exam questions used to say, the habit of officially voting for State Bird or Flower, or whatever, which is something we don't do in the UK (apart from those odd MPs who do things like creating the flag guidelines I linked to above), nor AFAIK most other European countries.
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Old 09-26-2016, 11:51 AM
puzzlegal puzzlegal is offline
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Originally Posted by Francis Vaughan View Post
...For instance the flag was not to be flown outside after dusk. Quite a few flags in Oz are seen at night now, but I would assume flags that are illuminated get a pass on this rule...
One thing that's changed is that flags used to be generally made of cotton, and likely to mildew or rot if left out overnight to often. Now they are often nylon, which is much more resistant to getting damp from evening dew.

The rules aren't completely arbitrary, even if elements are arbitrary.
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Old 09-26-2016, 12:04 PM
Quercus Quercus is offline
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
I think the state of Ohio has an official procedure for folding our flag, but that's just because nobody would be able to figure it out without instructions.
Well, nobody from Ohio, anyway.

Hey, at least the average Buckeye can read instructions! Could be worse!
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Old 09-26-2016, 12:14 PM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is offline
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I am reasonably certain that when Americans who own flags need to fold them, the vast majority just do it any way that seems convenient.

The Proper Care Of The Flag Militia mainly exists in the form of occasional outraged letters-to-the-editor writers.
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