Have you ever thought about the act of flying the flag as being patriotic? The word, patriotic, is found twice in the U.S. Flag Code, once in Section 6(a) and once in Section 8(j).
The first refers to a desire for a patriotic effect in flying the flag 24 hours a day. I’m not sure if flying the flag 24 hours a day makes someone more patriotic, but it apparently gives the effect. Flying the flag 24 hours a day does come with the requirement to illuminate the flag during the hours of darkness.
Have you ever come upon a huge American flag illuminated brightly in the darkness of night? It is an awe-inspiring site to behold, and a real thing of beauty.
Section 6(a) … (a) It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.
Section 8(j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.
The second reference concerns who can display a flag on their person. This is most interesting because seeing the flag on an athletic uniform is quite common today. For example, during the Super Bowl, both teams had U.S. flag decals on the back of their helmets.
There you have it. The U.S. Flag Code and patriotism in a nutshell.