Which Way Is Which?

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With a renewed sense of patriotism in America, and a newfound respect for the Arizona flag, several people have reported sightings of the state flag flying upside down.

What rules apply to flying the state flag and why do people persist in hanging it upside down with the sunburst at the bottom?

Local flag enthusiast Lee Pretsch ventured some information regarding the proper etiquette for the Arizona flag.

"No flag can fly higher than the U.S. flag," Pretsch said. "But the state flag can fly right underneath it on a separate pole or even on the same pole."

Michael Carman of the Arizona Capitol Museum in Phoenix offered some added information.

"There is no written flag etiquette for the state flag," Carman said. "The rule is, if it applies to the U.S. flag, it applies to the state flag.

With that in mind, here are some guidelines that should be observed when flying the Arizona flag:

It should be hoisted briskly and ceremoniously.

It should never touch the ground or the floor.

It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up in fold, but always allowed to fall free.

It should never be flown in inclement weather unless it's an all-weather flag.

It can be flown from sunrise to sunset and at night if illuminated properly.

It should be destroyed in a dignified way when it becomes so badly torn, soiled or faded that it is no longer a fitting emblem.

It may, however, be washed, dry cleaned or mended.

Finally, it should never be flown upside down except as a signal of distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.

If you fly it upside down otherwise, Carman says, you better hope it is not seen by a vexiologist a person who engages in the study of flags.

"They will cut you no slack," he said, and then you might have a good reason to fly it upside down.

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