This is the time of year we let our patriotism fly....in buntings, banners, and flags. Whether your home boasts a brand-spanking new flag, or a faded heirloom one, there's much to be said for properly displaying, storing and using flags in our decor while still honoring and respecting what they represent.
There's something about unfurling and hanging a new stiff cotton flag and hearing it snap smartly in the breeze. There's also something about feeling a soft and faded banner that has waved proudly for years from someone's flag pole or front porch.
Old? Or New?
You can tell a lot about an American flag by the number and position of its stars. Our nation has had many flag changes over the years - from the first official flag with thirteen stars (not the one with them in a circle though) to 48, 49 and 50 stars, If you yearn for an older flag, look for good quality replicas of the past flags, as it's not likely you'll find one dating back to the 1700s or 1800s. The true antique flags range in value from several hundred to several thousand dollars, some going as high as $50,000 and more in collector's specialty auctions.
Flag etiquette is a story unto itself, but basic general flag care involves positioning your flag post correctly so the flag cannot touch the ground - that means larger flags must be positioned higher. A flag can remain outdoors as long as a light shines on it at night. If you hang a flag on a wall, remember to position it properly with the blue union field uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is. When displayed in a window, the American flag should be displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.
Buntings and banners and pennants
Along with other patriotic memorabilia, cotton and twill bunting and banners can be found both new and old (and new that looks old.) They add a traditional appeal to summer porches and historic homes. Look for good quality fabric that won't fade when exposed to direct sunlight, and won't bleed when rained on. Pennants were often made of felt and popular items to celebrate the end of the world wars of the 20th century. Modern-day pennants may be made of fabric or paper, and are a fun way to make our summer homes a little more festive for the summer months.
As with Old Glory, care should be taken to display buntings, banners and pennants correctly whether they are old or new, paper or cloth. It's a simple thing to respect this profound and enduring symbol of freedom that our flag has come to represent around the world.
Note: All photos are courtesy of Pinterest. This article was originally shared with our friends at the Busy Bee Trader in their July 2020 issue. We are proud to create articles and advertise in this long-running guide to antiques and boutique stores in the mid-south.
WHO WRITES THIS STUFF?
I'm Terry Lea, owner of Re-Invintage Home, a vintage home goods shop just south of Nashville in Murfreesboro, TN. A lifelong passion for vintage picking led me to open a shop with my picking pal, Sherri in 2017. Come see us!