The U.S. Flag Code is a remarkable document, but it doesn’t explain some of the rules. Section 8(c) of the Code says: The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
So why are the giant flag displays shown below a severe violation of the U.S. Flag Code?
Because there is only one circumstance in which the U.S. flag is permitted to be laid flat and draped, and that is when the flag is placed flat and horizontally on the coffins of our veterans, and those who have died in service to others. It is the only time the blue field is purposely—symbolically—placed to the left, over the heart.
The flat and horizontal flag position is symbolic of honor and mourning, and just like a half-staffed flag, it is reserved for this occasion only. It is this country’s greatest sorrow and our greatest honor, to drape the Stars and Stripes over the coffins of our veterans. It is not a half-time show.