Our Flag

Students and Staff at American University as well as residents of Northwest Washington, D.C. all felt strongly about the American flag and the values it represents, but they are indifferent to the use of it as clothing, something that a 2007 House of Representatives document opposes.

In 2007, the House of Representatives published a book titled Our Flag, which explains how the flag should be handled and treated. It stated, “The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery,” something many interviewed in June disagreed with.

The flag represents a “living nation” and therefore should be treated with the same respect that a person deserves, according to language in Our Flag.

But, for Stephana Sullivan, 25, an American University graduate student, that seems “weird.”

“It’s a fashion statement,” Sullivan said.  “If you go on holiday to another country and buy a shirt that has that country’s flag on it there is nothing wrong with that.”

According to people interviewed, the meaning and values that the flag hold change when the flag is put onto an article of clothing or is super-imposed onto a paper plate or napkin. It no longer means what it did when it is a literal flag flying high and proud in front of a school or government building.

“The American dream, the dream of freedom and passing the insurmountable,” said Max O’Neil,18, about what the flag represents for him.

There is a discrepancy between what the government deems acceptable use of the flag and what the public thinks is right.

The use of the flag on shirts should be seen as showing a person’s patriotism and love for their nation. People are simply expressing their love for the country by wearing clothing that is the same color scheme as the flag, and although their is nothing illegal about wearing these clothing items, it should not be seen as a breach of etiquette.

“Not being allowed to wear it takes away people’s freedom expression,” Lateef Mangern said. “A value the nation is built on and something the flag represents.”

Flag in front of school. By Bennett Okun