By JENNIFER ROBINSON
Although “Old Glory” flies daily over BYU’s “amber waves of grain,” few students realize they are adhering to a congressionally-mandated Flag Code, Title 36, Subtitle I, when they stop to respect the flag. According to this code, all persons must stop and stand at attention while passing the American flag as it is raised and lowered.
Cadet James Peterson, wing commander of the Air Force ROTC at BYU, said most BYU students stop to respect the flag as it is raised or lowered; however, some students are too busy or rushed to stop and give proper respect.
“All of us have that much time to be thankful for the freedoms we have,” Peterson said.
If people get too busy to respect the flag, they must stop and re-evaluate their priorities, he said.
The flag code requires all persons to stand at attention and face the flag if the national anthem is being played or the flag is being raised or lowered.
“The flag of the United States of America is a living thing that calls to our spirit, reminding us of the greatness of our America. We cherish and uphold it because it is the standard of honor under which we live,” the National Flag Foundation council noted.
Peterson said many BYU students have the idea that BYU is the only institution that holds daily flag ceremonies to raise and lower the flag. In reality, every military installation across the world holds the same formalities, he said. Many other non-military institutions also hold flag ceremonies.
During the summer months, custodial services take over the flag responsibility at BYU. The flag is flying by 6:30 a.m., so many students are not on campus when the flag goes up, James Bonnett, custodial supervisor of the ASB said.
However, Bonnet re-emphasized that even though a complete flag ceremony does not take place during the summer months, flag respect does require people to stop wherever they are to honor the freedoms the flag symbolizes.
To show respect during the raising or lowering of the flag, a person must stop, face the flag and place a hand over his or her heart. Persons are asked to show this respect for men and women who have given their lives in life and death to allow all Americans to enjoy the freedoms they do, Peterson said.