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Backwards Flag

Backwards Flag

When it comes to the American flag, we all know it deserves to be treated with the utmost of respect. The flag stands as a testament to the values of the citizens and a tribute to all the brave men and women making the ultimate sacrifice to ensure our way of life. When you see a backwards flag, you might have a few questions. Let's take a look at why this happens and what it means.

A backwards flag is usually not an actual flag you fly on a pole, but rather a graphic or emblem placed on something else. For example, police cars and military uniforms are two common places you will see backwards flags. When you see the flag display in such a manner, you may think it is a sign of disrespect since our brains are always trained to see the flag as the blue field of stars being in the left-hand corner. However, there are times when it is impossible to have that happen because of the positioning of the emblem. There is even an Army regulation code which refers to the backwards flag. Army Regulation 670-1 says, "The American flag patch is to be worn, right or left shoulder, so that the star field faces forward, or to the flag's own right. When worn in this manner, the flag is facing to the observer's right, and gives the effect of the flag flying in the breeze as the wearer moves forward."

This code makes it clear that there are two reasons why you will see a backward flag. The flag must be displayed with the blue field of stars in the highest honor or position which will be the left when displaying a material flag on a wall for instance, but the place of position when on a uniform or vehicle becomes the front. It is also important to make the flag look like it is waving in the wind and the backward position helps with that.