Fix it: In honor of Flag Day (June 14, 2010), we're sharing some tips on respecting the flag.

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Q: Are women required to take off their caps when the national anthem is sung?

A: No. According to the U.S. Flag Code, when the national anthem is played or sung, everyone should stand, face the flag and place the right hand over the heart. Men should remove their cap with their right hand and hold the cap over their left shoulder so the hand will be in line with the heart.

Men and women in uniform are to salute during the anthem, rather than remove their hats.

Backward flags?

Q: Why do flags on uniforms and on airplanes look like they are backward?

A: They don’t anymore.

Whitney Smith, a vexillologist (flag expert) and executive director of the Flag Research Center (www.flagresearchcenter.com) in Winchester, Mass., explained that during World War II, the U.S. flag was often depicted on airplanes. “The normal artistic rendition, with the canton of blue with the white stars, gave the impression that the flag was flying backward,” he said.

Eventually, there was a ruling requiring images of flags to be painted so that the blue canton and white stars would always be in the lead position on an airplane so that “the flag should appear to be moving ahead with the canton with stars in the advance position,” Smith said. After that, he said, U.S. flag patches worn by soldiers were designed and displayed the same way.

More flag tips

For tips on how to properly display the flag and what not to do with the flag can be found at

www1.va.gov/opa/publications/celebrate/flagdisplay.pdf.

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