Experience has proven that this is an impossible question to answer accurately. It is like predicting the weather, airborne contamination, and the treatment people will give a flag. Flags are a source of pride for people all over the world. Respecting your flag is the greatest factor in lengthening it's life.
The major enemies of your NorthStar flag will be wind, water, sun, pollution and carelessness (the single greatest cause of flag deterioration). Neither you nor we can control the weather, but you can take care of your flag and lengthen its life. Occasional washing in warm mild-detergent water will prevent dirt and pollutants from attacking the fabric. To prevent mildew, let your flag dry thoroughly before storing it. Have your flag repaired at the first sign of fraying, don't wait for the wind to blow it to shreds. Continuous day and night display will shorten a flag's life. If your flag is not lighted at night, you should consider taking it down to lengthen its life.
NorthStar's flags are manufactured to give maximum service in return for reasonable care and prudent use. Remember, no two flags receive identical wear. Because weather conditions vary, wearing conditions vary and consequently, the life of each flag is different.
Your NorthStar flag will work hard. It will shake... it will tremble ... it will drape ... it will whip... it will snap ... it will chafe .. it will bake ... it will freeze .. it will ripple ... it will flutter .. it will quiver ... it will furl ... it will roll ... it will twist ... it will flap ... it will strain ... it will fly ... it will unfurl ... it will hang! Is it any wonder that it needs to be taken care of?
The best way we know to stretch your "flag dollar" is to have three flags: one flying, one in the wash, and a clean one in reserve for special occasions.
The colors of the United States flag were derived from British flags familiar to the men who made the first American flag. The following is an excerpt written by Jim Kirby; Bellevue, NE, used during the flag disposal ceremony:
"The red stands for courage and reminds you of the blood shed by millions of men and women of our military forces protecting the freedom of others.
The blue field and 50 stars should remind you of our 50 states, united in freedom, and is also emblematic of the stars decked heavens above which look down and keep watch over you at night.
The white stands for purity, purity of thought, word and deed, may you practice these virtues in your daily dealings with those in whom you are in contact."
It is the universal custom to display the American flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.
1. When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left. 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. No other flag or pennant should be placed above, or, if on the same level, to the right of the flag of the United States of America, except during church services conducted by naval chaplains at sea…. for personnel of the Navy….when the church pennant may be flown above the flag. No person shall display the flag of the United Nations of any other national of international flag equal, above, or in a position of superior prominence or honor to, or in place of, the flag of the United States at any place within the United States or any Territory of possession thereof; provided, that nothing in this section shall make unlawful the continuance of the practice heretofore followed of displaying the flag of the United Nations in a positions of equal prominence of honor, and other national flags in positions of equal prominence or honor, with that of the flag of the United States at the headquarters of the United Nations.
2. When flags of States, cities, or localities, or pennants of societies are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the United States, the latter should always be at the peak.
3. When the flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the American flag should be jousted first and lowered last. No such flag of pennant may be placed above the flag of the United States or to the United States flag's left.
4. The American flag, when it is displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, should be on the right, the flag's own right, and its staff should be in front of the staff of the other flag.
5. The American flag should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of States or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs.
6. When flags of two of more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace.
When used on a speaker's platform, the flag, if displayed flat, should be displayed above and behind the speaker. When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium, the flag of the United States of America should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman's of speaker's right as he faces the audience. Any other flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker of the right of the audience.
The flag, when flown at half-staff, should be flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day. On Memorial Day, the American flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff. By order of the President, the flag shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of principal figured of the United States Government and the Governor of the State, territory or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory. In the event of the death of other officials of foreign dignitaries, the flag is to be displayed at half-staff according to presidential instructions of orders, or in accordance with recognized customs practices not inconsistent with law. In the event of the death of a present of former official of the government of any State, territory or possession of the United States, the Governor of that State, territory or possession may proclaim that the National flag shall be flown at half-staff.