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As the fifth anniversary of the most devastating attack on American soil nears, keep in mind, you can show your patriotism and commemorate those injured or lost by flying Old Glory at home -- no matter where you live.

Just be sure to mind your star spangled manners.

About a year ago, Congress passed the "Freedom To Fly The American Flag Act of 2005" largely because some homeowner associations enforced architectural rules with near dictatorial dogma to stop some condo, townhome and community association home owners from flying the U.S. Flag.

Architectural rules are useful because they regulate, with aesthetic commonality, the look and feel of homes in a homeowner-association governed communities.

The rules of cookie-cutter likeness helps maintain home values. It's also easier to maintain the common areas shared by homes when like materials and colors are part of the upkeep costs.

Unfortunately, anti-flag displaying rules, often meant for those saccharine and sappy rainbow, floral, holiday and politically-motivated pendants, were sometimes applied to the Stars and Stripes.

That got U.S. flag-waving home owners and flag-wrapped politicians up in arms.

Home owners in non-homeowner association ruled neighborhoods also caught some flak from neighbors for 24-hour tacky flag displays reminiscent of year-end holiday displays and other fanatical flag waving habits.

The flag-flying flap peaked after September 11, 2001, now known as "9/11" when terrorists commandeered commercial jets and piloted them into targets in American.

The law that now underscores the right to fly the Star Spangled Banner, does indeed, however single out "condominium associations," "cooperative associations" and "residential real estate management associations" to say they "may not adopt or enforce any policy, or enter into any agreement, that would restrict or prevent a member of the association from displaying the flag of the United States on residential property within the association with respect to which such member has a separate ownership interest or a right to exclusive possession or use."

That means your governing association can't tread on you about flying the Stars and Bars beyond reasonable restrictions pertaining to the time, place, or manner of display necessary to protect the general interest for commonality in the community.

The law also says flag flying fans must adhere to the tenants of seldom-enforced federal law that applies to patriotic customs, including the handling and flying of the U.S. Flag, United States Code, Title 36, Chapter 10.

The code says, in part:

  • Fly the flag outside only from sunrise to sunset, unless it is illuminated for night time display.
  • If it rains, you must use an all-weather flag. Most produced today for home use are all-weather flags.
  • Do not fly another flag above the U.S. flag, or if the other flag is on the same level, do not fly another flag to the right of the U.S. flag.
  • Fly the flag with the "union" (the blue field of white stars) at the peak of the staff (unless the flag is at half staff) when flying the flag from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from the window sill, balcony, or front of a building.
  • When you suspend a flag over a sidewalk from a rope extending from a house to a pole at the edge of the sidewalk, hoist the flag, union first, from the building.
  • When you display the flag over the middle of the street, suspend it vertically with the union to the north in an east and west street, to the east in a north and south street.
  • When you display a flag horizontally or vertically against a wall or in a window, place the union uppermost and to the flag's own right, or to the observer's left.
  • Never allow the flag to touch anything beneath it, including the ground, the floor, water or other items.
  • Never carry the flag flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
  • Never place things on the flag or attach marks, insignias, letters, words, figures, designs, pictures, or drawings.
  • Aged flags no longer fit for flying should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferable by safely burning it.

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