Respecting Old Glory: Rotary Club of LaPlace shares American Flag etiquette

Published 7:31 am Saturday, June 17, 2023

RESERVE — On Flag Day, members of the Rotary Club of LaPlace made a special visit to the St. John the Baptist Parish Council on Aging Senior Center in Reserve to share facts about Old Glory.

The skit, performed annually for fourth graders at every school in St. John Parish, showcases the proper folding of the American Flag. Rotary members carefully demonstrated the process as Cheryl Millet explained the significance of each fold.

  1. The first fold is a symbol of life.
  2. The second fold is a symbol of our belief in the eternal life.
  3. The third fold is in honor of all veterans who have served the United States.
  4. The fourth fold reminds us of our weaknesses.
  5. The fifth fold is a tribute to our country. In the words of Stephen Decatur, “Our country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right, but it is still our country, right or wrong.”
  6. The sixth fold reminds us of our hearts. Love for our nation has to come from the heart.
  7. The seventh fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces.
  8. The eighth fold is a tribute to all those who have died serving our country.
  9. The ninth fold is in honor of women, who have contributed just as much as men have.
  10. The 10th fold is in honor of our forefathers.
  11. The 11th fold represents Judaism.
  12. The 12th fold represents Christianity.
  13. The final fold, which places the stars upright, is a symbol of “In God We Trust.”

Rotary members shared other fun facts about the American Flag, including how it can be flown 24 hours a day but should be illuminated at night. The flag is to be flown at half-staff for 30 days following the death of a president or a former president.

Pins were awarded to seniors who correctly answered trivia questions regarding the flag.

Also discussed was the proper procedure for disposing of an American Flag no longer fit to be displayed. According to the Rotary Club of LaPlace, flags should never be thrown away; instead, they should be presented to a local VFW to be formally discharged from service.

The Rotary Club of LaPlace adopted the “Meet the American Flag” skit as an annual tradition in 2009 after seeing it performed by VFW members from Hammond.

“We fell in love with it. We thought it was something that would be worthwhile, and they graciously allowed us to take their skit. We’ve been performing it for the fourth graders ever since,” Millet said. “We go to 12 schools every year. We enjoy it as much as the kids.”

According to Millet, etiquette surrounding the American Flag isn’t being taught in schools. Even the adults in the Rotary Club knew very little about the American Flag prior to the seeing the skit. Now, they are able to stop someone on the side of the street and tell them if their flag is backwards.

Each school additionally receives a pristine American Flag each year. It was Rotary member Betty Martin’s idea to bring the skit to the seniors at the Council on Aging for the first time in honor of Flag Day on June 14.

For more information about the Rotary Club of LaPlace, visit https://laplacerotary.org/