I posted this on the Fourth last year. Since the sentiments in it are still mine -- what the heck? I'll post it again!
I took this picture of our front porch this morning. (If you click twice to enlarge you can glimpse at the far right the tail fins of the 57 Imperial.)
I always display flags on occasions like this one, but I have mixed feelings about it.
If you look up the rules for flag etiquette - actually, they seem to be a lot more than mere etiquette - they seem pretty weird. It must never touch the ground. If has to be lowered by sunset, unless an artificial light is shining one it. It must be disposed of properly. Here's the oddest one: If flown with another flag (including my favorite, the Gadsden standard, and yes I often display it as well) - which side must the Stars and Stripes be on? Old Glory must be on "the flag's own right." What? You mean, like the flag has a face and eyeballs? Yes, that's right. (In case you need to know, the flag's right is the viewer's left.) The flag is being treated as if it were a living thing - and in fact there are official statements of the relevant rules that say exactly that, in those very words.
It's as if it were a mystic symbol sacred to the religion of state-worship.
I display the flag because red, white, and blue are such cheery colors. And because it makes my house look a little like the Auvers town hall on Bastille Day, in van Gogh's wonderful painting (click to enlarge). Also, because to me it is a symbol of freedom, and not of any particular government.