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Things To Consider When Buying an American Flag

Why do we have flags? The truth is, there are a multitude of reasons deeply embedded in global and American history. Take a moment to look around, and you will quickly find that there are flags everywhere. 

We have flags for ships, flags for decoration, flags for navigation, even flags for war. But perhaps the most significant flags are those that we fly out of pride for our nations, both our state flags and national ones. These flags are not only a scrap of cloth but symbols that carry with them the full weight of the sovereign countries they represent.

Of these national flags, the American flag is the single most widely recognized flag in the world. That means something. All eyes rest on us, and that attention should be met with dignity and respect. So, when you decide to purchase an American flag, you should put quality and authenticity above all else. 

That fabric you aim to hoist bears with it a responsibility and an identity indicative of our great nation. You should fly it high and fly it proud. In order to do that, you will need a flag that can, and will, stand up to whatever is thrown at it, just like the country for whom it flies.  

What Is Your Flag Made Of?

One of the most obvious considerations to take into account with your flag will be the materials used. Over the course of America’s history, the flag has been composed of a few different materials. Initially, flag manufacturers would use either wool or cotton, but all that changed in the late 1930s with the introduction of nylon. 

Almost all flags today are made from nylon. However, despite the durability of the fabric, it’s important to be wary of mass-produced flags made with cheap materials, as they tend to deteriorate more quickly when exposed to the elements.

The Significance of Nylon

One of the strongest and best materials, nylon is a synthetic textile that is used in everything from stockings to parachutes. This famous fabric was also instrumental in the success of the U.S. troops during WWII. 

So, how did the material for women's stockings help turn the tides of war and become the primary material for United States flags? 

When nylon hit the shelves in 1938, it was a massive success, revolutionizing the fashion and textile industries. In 1940, 90 percent of the material was being used to meet the demand in those markets.

By the time 1942 rolled around, the U.S. military had become embroiled in the European conflict that was the Second World War. All hands were on deck, both for the men and women overseas and their families back at home, and that went doubly for those in manufacturing. 

Soon, nearly all nylon was re-routed from the commercial settings and store shelves to the war front. It was there that this superior product's true versatility was realized. By the end of the war, nylon was being used in parachutes, paracord, aircraft fuel tanks, tow lines, flak jackets, shoelaces, mosquito netting, hammocks, and more.

WWII proved that nylon had superior durability, strength, and weather resistance than any other synthetic fiber available at that time. It was that dependability and sturdiness that made it the perfect material with which to construct our nation's colors. 

In With The New: Honor The Old

There are plenty of reasons to get a new, high-quality flag. It could be that you want something for your patriotic boat, your front porch, or good old-fashioned July 4th parades, celebrations, or even reenactments.

Maybe your old flag has deteriorated from weather and age and needs to be retired. If that’s the case, there are several ways you can retire a flag and pay it the respect it is owed.

Burning

One of the most traditional ways to retire a flag is by properly folding it and placing it into a fire. Make sure the flag is completely consumed, then carefully bury whatever remains.

You can also call your local Boy/Girl Scout chapter, the VFW, or The Elks lodge, all of whom will take your old flag and ensure that it is properly put to rest. These groups have years of experience and will be able to retire your flag safely and respectfully and answer any additional questions you have. 

Burial

Though less common, it is also acceptable to bury the flag. For this, the USA flag should be folded and placed neatly in a bag or box with extra care, then respectfully interred into the ground. 

During flag retirement ceremonies, especially burning or burial, many people also choose to have a brief moment of silence or recite the national anthem. This, of course, is optional, but regardless of your methods, it is good to perform the ceremony with the appropriate level of reverence.

Recycle

Though burning is seen as the “proper” way to retire a flag, it is worth noting that this practice started back when the flags were made of organic fibers like wool or cotton. 

There are often laws against burning polyester or nylon flags (along with other materials), so make sure to check your area's codes. Since nylon is synthetic, it can release numerous chemicals when burned. Because of this, many people chose to recycle their flags instead.

There are a couple of ways you can go about it. Many flag companies will accept your old flags, which they recycle so that they can be made into new products. You can also write “recycle” on the header of the flag and deliver it to your local scout troop or one of the other organizations listed above.

By Americans, For Americans

It may sound obvious, but if you want to purchase an American flag, you should have one that was made here in America. Some companies outsource materials and products to foreign companies. 

Allegiance Flag Supply was founded because we were tired of seeing cheap flags. We believe that when you fly the symbol of this nation, it should be crafted with the utmost care by the hands of your fellow Americans. It’s for that reason that each of our flags is hand-made by 3rd generation seamstresses who are experts in their craft.

For a high-quality flag, you need the highest quality materials. We only use American materials; everything from our grommets to the thread in our stitching is made here in the USA. Made with the labor of skilled artisans, our flags have the strongest seams and most durable fabrics that create a product we know will last. 

Location, Location, Location

Where are you hanging your flag? How are you hanging it? These are questions you probably have answered already, but there are other factors you might want to take into consideration.

Hanging Your Flag

There are several ways to hang your flag, from your front porch to a towering, free-standing pole. You can even hang it vertically indoors if you feel inclined. But wherever you decide to put it, you will need the right accessories for the job.

Since flags come in various sizes, you need to take into account the dimensions of your flag. If you are using an in-ground pole, our site has a great sizing chart that will tell you exactly what size flag you may need based on specific flagpole height. As for what will fit your porch, ultimately, that’s up to you, but a 3’ x 5’ flag is always a good place to start.

Nuts and Bolts

You want to be sure that your flag flies proud, regardless of wind or rain. That means avoiding the risk of tangled fabric and cheap poles. Getting flagpole spinners goes a long way toward ensuring that your flag is free and visible at all times, no matter what conditions it may face. 

You also want to avoid flimsy plastic brackets and poles that will eventually dry rot and crack under the weight of the elements. A sturdy metal mounting bracket and a treated Vermont White Ash pole will keep your flag secure and help it stand out as the refined and distinguished symbol of freedom that it is. 

Ready To Hoist

Hopefully, this article was able to provide you with an adequate foundation on which to base your future flag purchases. Maybe some of the information we covered was old hat for you, or maybe you learned a few interesting tips and tricks.

Whatever the case, we hope you leave here equipped with the knowledge to properly hoist and maintain your American flag and keep it flying for years to come.

 

Sources: 

 

Nylon: A Revolution in Textiles | Science History Institute

Flag Code FAQ part 1: general questions | Independence Hall 

How to Properly Dispose of an American Flag | NFT

Why Do Americans Celebrate the Fourth of July with Fireworks? | Britannica