Q. Should the flag be taken down whenever it rains or snows?

A. If the flag is made of cotton or wool, it should be taken down. Special all weather flags may be flown even during bad weather. If there are strong winds, you should take your flag down so that it doesn't tear.

Q. Does my U.S. Flag need to be illuminated at night?

A. Yes, it does. A spotlight is great for this purpose, but you can also use a porch light or even a street light, as long a people can recognize from a distance that your flag is a U.S. Flag.

Q. Why do we half-staff the flag on Memorial Day?

A. We honor the memory of all those who have died to preserve liberties we have by flying the flag at half staff until noon. At noon, the flag is raised to full staff. This shows that we are looking forward to the future with hope and that we are committed to preserving freedom in America.

Q. Is there a difference between half-staff and half-mast?

A. A staff refers to a flagpole that is on land. A mast is a Navy term.

Q. Who decided that there should be a Flag Day holiday (June 14)?

A. William T. Kerr of Pittsburgh, Pa., is given partial credit as the founder of Flag Day. Kerr campaigned from 1882 to 1949 for a national holiday. President Harry Truman signed the Flag Act of Congress on Aug. 3, 1949, to make Flag Day the official birthday of the American Flag.

Q. What is "patriotism?"

A. Patriotism is love and respect for your country, the freedoms it represents and the desire to help preserve those freedoms.

Q. Can you wear a flag as a uniform?

A. No, an actual flag should never be used as clothing, bedding or drapery. It is okay to wear a flag patch or picture on your shirt or hat. It should never be used as a costume or athletic uniform.

Q. Is it ok to clean or repair a flag?

A. It is okay to wash and dry the flag. You can also sew the flag if it is torn. When the flag cannot be cleaned or repaired, it should be retired respectfully by burning.

Q. Can another star be added to the flag if we add another state?

A. Yes, the new star will be added to the flag on the 4th of July following the state's admission into the union.

Q. Is there still a flag on the moon?

A. As far as we know, the flag that Neil Armstrong placed on the moon in 1969 is still there.

Q. How did we get the Pledge of Allegiance?

A. In 1892, Pres. Benjamin Harrison decided that the nation's school children should be involved in a special celebration to commemorate the 400 anniversary of Columbus' discovery of America. Francis Bellamy, a 19th century writer, was inspired by this and wrote the Pledge of Allegiance.

Q. How many official flags does the United States have?

A. There have been 27 official flags in the U.S. since 1777, when the first Stars and Stripes was described by Congress. Replicas or information about numerous historical flags can be seen in the Flag Room at Flag Plaza home of the National Flag Foundation, Pittsburgh, Pa.

For more information about the National Flag Foundation 800-615-1776 or go online to www.americanflags.org.

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