Why Is the American Flag Displayed Backwards on Navy Uniforms?


In 1968, famed activist Abbie Hoffman determined to crash a gathering of the Home Un-American Actions Committee in Washington by exhibiting up in a shirt depicting the American flag. Hoffman was shortly surrounded by police, who ripped his shirt off and arrested him for desecration of the Purple, White, and Blue.

Hoffman’s arrest is notable at the moment as a result of, whereas it could be unpatriotic to some, carrying the American flag, burning it, or in any other case disrespecting it isn’t a violation of any federal legislation. In 1989, the Supreme Court docket dominated that it will be unconstitutional to prosecute any such motion. Nonetheless, Individuals have very fervent and strict attitudes towards displaying the flag, a longstanding image of our nation’s freedom. In accordance with the U.S. Flag Code, which was first published in 1923, you shouldn’t let the flag contact the bottom or hold it upside-down. Whereas there’s no specific prohibition about reversing the picture, it’s most likely a secure wager you shouldn’t do this, both.

But branches of the U.S. army are sometimes noticed with a seeming mirror reflection of the flag on their proper shoulder. In case you take a look at a member in profile, the canton—the rectangle with the celebs—is on the fitting. Isn’t that backwards? Shouldn’t it appear like the flag on the left shoulder?

Not likely. The flag is definitely facing forward, and it’s not an optical phantasm.

When a service member marches or walks ahead, they assume the place of a flagpole, with the flag sewn on their uniform meant to resemble a flag flapping within the breeze. With the canton on the fitting, the flag could be fluttering behind them. If it have been depicted with the canton on the left, the flag could be flying backward—as if it had been hung by the stripes as an alternative of the celebs nearest to the pole. The place of the flag is noted in Military Regulation 670-1, mandating the star area ought to face ahead. The official time period for this depiction is “reverse facet flag.”

As for Hoffman: His conviction was overturned on enchantment. In 1970, whereas at a flag-themed artwork present in New York, he was invited to stand up and communicate. He wore a flag shirt for the event.

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A model of this story ran in 2018; it has been up to date for 2021.





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