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ETIQUETTE EXISTS FOR FLYING OLD GLORY

Like most building administrators in charge of the American flag, James F. Connolly, Hamburg highway superintendent and chief of buildings and grounds, made sure the flag at Town Hall was lowered to half-staff following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

And like many others, Connolly wasn't sure how long the Stars and Stripes should remain at half-staff.

"I wasn't going to be the first to put it back up," he said.

Alden Central School Superintendent Donald Raw Jr., who is a member of the Army Reserve, said he always checks the official White House Web site, www.whitehouse.gov. That's where he found the president's proclamation as well as a photograph of the White House.

"The flag is at half-staff, even on the Web site," he said.

President Bush ordered flags to be flown at half-staff "as a mark of respect for those killed by the heinous acts of violence perpetrated by faceless cowards upon the people and the freedom of the United States." They will remain at half-staff until sunset today, according to his proclamation.

With many people displaying the U.S. flag as a sign of patriotism in the wake of last week's terrorist attacks, the following points of flag etiquette are offered, based on U.S. public law:

he flag should be flown from sunrise to sunset only, unless properly illuminated during hours of darkness.

When the flag is displayed horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union (or blue field) should be in the uppermost corner and to the left of an observer when viewed from the front.

When flown at half-staff, the flag should first be hoisted to the peak for a moment and then lowered to the half-staff position. It should be raised to the peak again before it is lowered for the day.

No other flag should be placed above the U.S. flag.

When flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the U.S. flag should be hoisted first and lowered last.

Always hoist the flag briskly and lower it ceremoniously.

Don't allow the flag to touch the ground.

Never place anything on the U.S. flag, such as an insignia or design.

The flag should not be used on cushions, handkerchiefs or the like or printed on paper napkins or other objects intended for temporary use or to be discarded.

When it becomes old and tattered and is no longer a fitting emblem for display, a flag should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by means of a flag-disposal ceremony at a veterans post.

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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