flags onlineThe Fourth of July is just behind us, and it sparked a considerable amount of debate about flag etiquette and what is and isn't acceptable behavior, when it comes to flying and otherwise displaying the American flag. There are clear guidelines, and The American Legion and Flag Code answer some of the most controversial questions.

Are 50 Stars Strictly Necessary?
Simply put, the answer is no. For a long time now, there has a been a misconception that any American flags or flag merchandise that does not contain 50 stars is a blatant sign of disrespect. This is a myth. Although the traditional American flag contains 50 stars in its canton or upper left corner, feel free to fly the original version with fewer stars in a circle and other common variations.

Star-Spangled Jean Shorts, Flag-Inspired Bandannas, And Stars and Stripes Sunglasses: Are They Disrespectful?
You see them everywhere. Teens and even fully grown adults in shorts with stars and stripes, flag emblems on shirts or sunglasses, and an endless amount of flag accessories. Whether you buy flag merchandise at flag shops or purchase flags online, unless it's literally straight off the flagpole -- it should be more or less okay to wear and wear proudly. Experts advise Americans to use common sense and discretion, however.

Washing Your Flag Does Not Equal Burning It
For decades, there was a myth flying around (sometimes literally) that washing a U.S. flag was somehow equivalent to burning it. It is perfectly acceptable -- and usually even encouraged -- to launder dirty flags, according to the American Legion.

Vexillologists, or people who study the meanings and origins of flags, reveal that Romans first used flags to communicate. Now, the American flag is everywhere -- the Flag Code can help you determine what is and is not okay (and when it is or isn't acceptable to purchase flags online).