Barely two months after protesting with his Yippies at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, Abbie Hoffman took another hard hit at long-held traditions and ideals that many Americans held regarding patriotism. This time, it had everything to do with what he was wearing. Hoffman appeared here dressed in an American flag shirt to protest against the gathering, which was aimed at investigating the Chicago riots.
He’s thought to be the first and only person that faced arrest and charges of flag desecration because of wearing a shirt of the US flag. The shirt was ripped off his back by the police in the process of his arrest.
Now it’s about five decades later, and Americans routinely plaster their flag on shirts, socks, swimwear, election campaign merchandise, as well as party items such as plates and napkins. Everyone from political leaders to athletes to swimsuit models to your friends and relatives at the Sunday barbecue don flag attire. The practice is now baked into the American culture.
- The late 1800s came with technological advancements in print technology. As a result, the American Stars and Stripes started being displayed on numerous products. This was effectively the first wave of items printed with the Old Glory.
However, patriots become upset with the widespread ads that took advantage of flag imagery. As a result, individual states started enacting laws related to the use of the American flag with the aim of protecting it.
- As the 1900s drew closer, a sort of “cult of the flag” emerged, with many Americans developing an near-religious deference toward the Star-Spangled Banner. This reverential attitude gained momentum during the 1898 Spanish-American war—the first war in which the North and South fought under the same flag.
It was in this period that Flag Day was proposed and schoolchildren started doing the Pledge of Allegiance. It marked the genesis and progression of various patriotic groups such as Sons of the American Revolution. Reverence of the Stars and Stripes spread throughout the country after starting in the North.
- The US Flag Code, rules that guide the use and display of the United States flag, was established in 1942. But it wasn’t enforceable, meaning you police can’t arrest someone for violating the flag code.
The code discourages use of the flag for commercial purpose. According to the code, you shouldn’tuse the American flag in attire, bedding, and drapery. Moreover, the code states no one should use any part of the flag as an athletic uniform or costume. Lapel pins and patches are permissible under certain exceptions. But you can’t use the flag in ads, embroidery, and disposable items such as napkins.
- It was until later, in the 50s and 60s, that the red, white and blue began to features again in fashionable dress, usually as a way to protest or support the involvement of the US in the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Nowadays, the American is customarily flown throughout the year at most public building and many private homes, especially during civic holidays such as Memorial Day, President’s Day, Veteran’s Day, Independence Day, and Flag Day. Top-quality flag poles such as the best telescoping flagpole can last for years with no maintenance.