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Flag Etiquette

Natalie Gulbis won her first LPGA tournament last weekend in France. In the post-round celebration, she was posed on a stool holding the trophy.

The problem is, she's also sitting on a U.S. flag which is displayed upside down and touching the ground.

Natalie On a Flag

This triple breach of etiquette has been talked about in a few places, like a thread in my forum (which I started) and here.

The offense ranks pretty low on the scale of errors, but I find the people saying "it's just a piece of cloth" and otherwise dismissing her lack of etiquette as incredibly more egregious.

More on the flag code (and general flag etiquette) can be found at Wikipedia.

7 Responses to "Flag Etiquette"

  1. From the linked Wikipedia-article: "This etiquette is as applied within U.S. jurisdiction. In other countries and places, local etiquette applies."
    So, is this actually a violation? Since, as I understand, this picture was taken in France? I don't know the french regulations about the handling of foreign flags.

    Cheers!

  2. This is just horrible etiquette. This isn't a french person doing something wrong to the flag within their own jurisdiction but a U.S. citizen attempting to take pride but doing it the wrong way. Or whoever set up the photo shoot.

    I don't attempt to get all high and mighty about patriotism but an intelligent level of respect should be expected in this example in particular.

  3. Here's a question: is it still a violation of etiquette when the girl sitting on the flag is that hot?

    More seriously, I get irked when "tride-true Americans" don't even know how to hang the flag. I often encounter people who hang the flag long-ways with the stars to the right. Wrong people, stars to the left so they never change position whether hung vertical or horizontal.

    Or my favorite is when people fly them outside of their car window and are often embarrassingly tattered and torn. Those tacky mini-car-flags have got to go.

  4. Considering how often the flag is used as clothing, wallpaper, and jewelry, and allowing for it not happening in this country, it's at best, a tad tacky.

  5. John C. Welch said on August 1, 2007:

    Considering how often the flag is used as clothing, wallpaper, and jewelry, and allowing for it not happening in this country, it's at best, a tad tacky.

    There's some debate as to whether it's considered improper etiquette to use a likeness of a flag on clothing as opposed to an actual flag.

    As I said above, though, I consider the three offenses seen above as much greater than an Old Navy shirt with a U.S. Flag on it and "Old Glory" written beneath it.

  6. The picture reflects her patriotism, yes, but also her ignorance (and the photographer's) about flag etiquette.

    For me, the biggest reason for pointing out the breach of etiquette is to educate those (and there are apparently many) who do not know enough about the matter. She doesn't deserve to be crucified in the media over this, or fined by the LPGA, nor is she obligated to issue any formal apology (although the latter would show some class).

    I think (but am not sure--I'm a veteran but not a historian on the flag) that using the colors or other parts of the flag or a likeness of the flag on clothing, jewelry, as part of a mural or decoration of something, etc., is not considered a breach of etiquette. We can debate whether or not it's "tacky," but I don't think it is the same thing as hanging an actual flag upside down, etc.

    She's a cute girl, and there is no doubt that it affects people's impression of the photo. If this were Osama bin Laden posed this way, smiling, holding up a machine gun, or even someone unknown to all of us but unattractive, I suspect the objections voiced would be more intense.

  7. An upside down flag can be a sign of extreme distress. Anecdotally, I notice that many of the people who get all worked up over flag etiquette will sit idly while the Constitution is dismantled right in front of them. I think upside down is an acceptable way to fly the flag, starting, at the latest, from the time of the New Deal. 😉

    I'm sure that wasn't the intent of the photographer. I agree that sitting on the flag and allowing it to touch the ground are in poor taste.

    Please don't think I'm lumping you in with the aforementioned flag-etiquette'ers.


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