Sadly, most people who decide to show their patriotism by flying a flag on the back of their truck are actually disrespecting America.

You've most likely seen people driving through the Hudson Valley proudly displaying an American Flag on the back of their truck. While their intentions are good, many of the people I've seen showing off their patriotism are actually doing it in a way that's terribly disrespectful.

Veterans groups and those who hold the flag sacred would cringe if they saw some of the embarrassing ways the American Flag is being displayed by people who should know better. On June 14, 1923, the United States instituted Flag Day and released official guidelines on how Americans should treat the flag. The document includes rules for displaying the flag, when it can and can't be used and the proper way to handle this symbol of American freedom.

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If you decide to mount an American Flag to your truck or car, you need to follow the flag code. There's a debate whether the flag even should be put on a vehicle because of how difficult it is to do it respectfully, but if you're determined to have a flag on your truck there are some important things to keep in mind.

First of all, the flag should only be temporarily mounted to your vehicle. Flags are not allowed to be displayed at night unless they are illuminated. Unless you are mounting a food light on the back of your pickup, the flag should never be flying on your car after sunset. Also, the flag shouldn't be flown in inclement weather unless it's a specially made all-weather flag.

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Most importantly, the flag code clearly states that the flag should not be "fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way." By keeping a flag attached to your bumper and driving over 70 miles per hour, you're most likely breaking this important part of the flag code. Etiquette states that the flag should be brought inside during a hurricane, so driving at hurricane wind speeds with a flag mounted to your vehicle is a big no-no.

Almost every flag I've seen mounted to the back of the truck is ripped and frayed from flapping behind a fast vehicle. The flag code clearly states that a damaged flag should never be flown. This is why the flag should only be temporarily flown from vehicles in parades or through towns and neighborhoods at slow speeds on special occasions.

Another problem with displaying the flag on a truck or car is that most times it can't be done without the flag resting on a bumper or part of the vehicle when it's not moving. This is a direct violation of the flag code. The flag should never fall on any part of the vehicle when it's not moving. Unless you have a pole tall enough to make sure the flag never touches anything else, you shouldn't have it on your vehicle.

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Finally, one big mistake many people make is where they place the flag on their truck. Flags always need to go on the passenger side of the vehicle. If your flag is on the driver's side, it's breaking the flag code unless two flags are being flown on both sides of your vehicle. Also, when flying the American flag with a different flag, the American flag should always be mounted higher. I've seen many people driving around with American flags next to political flags that are of the same height, this is extremely disrespectful.

So, this Flag Day, if you decide to proudly fly a flag on your vehicle, make sure you're doing it respectfully. It's the least our country and those who fought for it deserve.

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