A flag is the most common of all national symbols. It incites feelings of nationalism, loyalty, and pride on one’s citizenship. It can be seen almost everywhere as there are a lot of nationalists who takes pride in identifying themselves by their flags. As one may have observed, flags are commonly seen in front of most government and private offices, in national parks and in conventions and gathering where people from different countries come together.
The use of flag badges or pins in the US dates back in the Civil War Era and was limited to both military and federal facilities. When the confederates started winning battles, people began to fly their flag badges as a sign of pride. This makes the flag closely related to a nation’s crisis or conflict.
It was in the late ‘60’s and early ‘70s that flag badges and lapel pin become a widely used symbol of unity and divisiveness. During the 1970 congressional race, Republican candidates wore flag badges as a symbol of patriotism; however, it was Richard Nixon, who called the national attention by wearing a flag badge or pin and requiring his aides to follow suit.
To date, flag badges and pins name badges have become very popular. In the Gulf War, the sale for flag badges and pins are alongside the yellow ribbons. To be able to establish eye contact with the person one is shaking hands with, and at the same time see the badge and remember, a flag badge is worn on the upper right side of one’s suit. It was mentioned in many references that placing a flag badge on the right gives an impression of the flag “flying against the breeze”.
On authorized uniforms of the US Army, when a flag badge is placed on the left shoulder, the stars should likewise be seen on the left. The same goes when the flag badge is placed on the right shoulder.
The typical size of a flag badge is 2×3 inches, anything larger are reserved and worn by firefighters, police officers, and most local officials.
In the US, the way a flag badge is worn differentiates a civilian from a military official. A military official’s flag badge is worn with the stars facing front whereas civilians (i.e. fire, police officials) wear them with the stars displayed backward. A flag badge can be either made of metal or embroidered.
During Obama’s announcement of Bin Laden’s death, the President of the United States was seen wearing the US flag on his lapel as a testimony of what he believes in.