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Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Outreach/Flags - Advanced

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Flags - Advanced
North American Division


Skill Level 2
Year of Introduction: 2013



1. Earn the Flags Honor

This Wiki has a page with instructions and tips for earning the Flags honor.

2. What is the study of flags called?

The study of flags is called Vexillology.

3. Know and identify the following basic types of flags and list one flag for each type

a. Badge

a design element used to make a flag distinct when the basic design of the flag is used by other dominions, colonies, or territories within an empire. The Bermuda flag crest is a good example because the basic flag design is shared by other UK territories. Flag of Bermuda.svg

b. Bicolor

two base colors, either side by side or one above the other. The Vatican flag uses yellow and white side by side. Flag of the Vatican City.svg as is the flag of Singapore with a red top and white bottom. Flag of Singapore.svg

c. Burgee

A burgee is a distinguishing flag, regardless of its shape, of a recreational boating organization.  Yacht club members fly them and exchange them on the first visit by a member of one club to another club. 

d. Canton

where it exists, the upper inside section. The stars and blue field(officially the Union) in the American flag form the canton, as does the Union Jack in the Bermuda flag above.

e. Couped Cross

a cross that does not extend to the edge of the flag.  The Swiss national flag has a white couped cross on a red field, Flag of Switzerland (Pantone).svg  and the International Red Cross flag is the reverse of the Swiss Flag.Flag of the Red Cross.svg

f. Cross

two intersecting lines. The UK flag consists of three different crosses on top of each other.Flag of the United Kingdom.svg, NorwayFlag of Norway.svg, SwedenFlag of Sweden.svg, and Iceland Flag of Iceland.svg all have crosses on their flags.

g. Pennant

flags (often nautical) tapering to a point or swallowtail and used for identification or signaling. Pennants tend to last longer in strong wind conditions. The flag of Nepal is the only non- four sided national flag in the world and is based on two attached pennants of differing sizes. Flag of Nepal.svg

h. Quartered

the flag is divided into 4 sections or quarters of either solid colors or solid colors with designs. Panama Flag of Panama.svg and the Dominican Republic Flag of the Dominican Republic.svg are the only two current national quartered flags. However, quartered flags are common in history and for sub-national entities like the US State of Maryland Flag of Maryland.svg. The Pathfinder and Master Guide flags shown on the honor patch are also quartered.

i. Serration

two colors meeting at a serrated line. Bahrain and Qatar are two national flags with this feature. (White on the left) Flag of Bahrain.svg Flag of Qatar.svg

j. Triangle

three sided flag feature.  Many countries include a triangle on their flag incuding South Africa  Flag of South Africa.svg , Bahamas Flag of the Bahamas.svg , Cuba Flag of Cuba.svg , East Timor Flag of East Timor.svg, Sudan Flag of Sudan.svg  and more. 

k. Triband

about 30% of the worlds national flags are considered tribands. Sometimes the bands are three different colors (tricolor), but some have just two colors with one of the colors between bands of another color. Often additional symbols are imposed on top of one or more of the bands. The Canadian flag is a triband, with the maple leaf over the center white band Flag of Canada.svg . France has a three color triband without any extra decoration called the Tricolour Flag of France.svg. A triband that has a thin bands of another color between the major bands is called a fimbriated tricolor or triband and in a few cases the bands are not horizontal or vertical but rather on the diagonal. Both these variations are seen on the flags of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Flag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.svg and Tanzania Flag of Tanzania.svg.

l. Guidon

a flag that represents a specific unit or branch in the military. USA Medical Corp Guidon USA - Guidon - Medical.png, and USA Psychological Operations Corps Guidon (note the chess piece) HQ 498 Psyops Bn.PNG Pathfinder units also use Guidons for individual units.

4. Choose three national flags, including your own, that combined have all the following colors. On those flags, what do the colors represent:

a. Red

b. Blue

c. Black

d. Green

e. White

f. Yellow

Australia The colors of the flag canon follow the symbolism of the colors of the UK flag. The blue field and white stars have no official meaning, but depict the sky with white stars, much like we see the sky. Flag of Australia.svg

Canada Red: From the Cross of St George (an element in the UK flag) White: French royal emblem. Together the official colors of Canada since 1921 long before the Maple Leaf was designed. Flag of Canada.svg

USA Red, White and Blue: the colors on the flag have no official meaning. http://usflag.org/colors.html Flag of the United States.svg

Malaysia: Red and White: equal states Blue: Unity of the Malaysian people. Yellow: Color of Malaysian Royalty. Flag of Malaysia.svg

Republic of China: The twelve rays of the white Sun symbolize the twelve months and the twelve traditional shichen (時辰, shíchén), a traditional unit of time which corresponds to two modern hours. Sun Yat-sen added the "Red Earth" to the flag to signify the blood of the revolutionaries who sacrificed themselves in order to overthrow the Qing Dynasty and create the ROC. Together, the three colors of flag correspond to the Three Principles of the People: Blue represents nationalism and liberty; White represents democracy and equality; and Red represents the people's livelihood and fraternity. President Chiang Kai-shek proclaimed on the National Day in 1949, "As long as a national flag with Blue Sky, White Sun, and a Wholly Red Earth flies on the land of China, it symbolises the independence and liberty of the descendants of the Huang Emperor". Flag of the Republic of China.svg

South Africa: The colors have no official meaning but Black, Gold and Green were part of the African National Congress flag and Blue, White, Red and Green were on the previous South African flag. Therefore it is commonly understood the colors represent a blending of the black and white societies and the design suggests moving forward. Flag of South Africa.svg The South African flag includes all the colors listed in the requirement.

Peoples Republic of China: According to the current government interpretation of the flag, the red background symbolizes the revolution and the golden colors were used to "radiate" on the red background. The five stars and their relationship represents the unity of Chinese people under the leadership of the Communist Party of China. The orientation of the stars shows that the unity should go around a center. In the original description of the flag by Zeng, the larger star symbolizes the Communist Party of China, and the four smaller stars that surround the big star symbolize the four social classes (the working class, the peasantry, the urban petite bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie) of Chinese people mentioned in Mao's "On the People's Democratic Dictatorship". The five stars that formed an ellipse represent the territory of China (including Outer Mongolia) which is shaped like a Begonia leaf. Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg

The Olympic Rings are blue, yellow, black, green, and red on a white background.

The symbol was originally designed in 1912 by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, co-founder of the modern Olympic Games. Coubertin stated the following in the August, 1912 edition of Olympique: "...the six colors [including the flag’s white background] thus combined reproduce the colors of all the nations, with no exception. The blue and yellow of Sweden, the blue and white of Greece, the tri- colors of France, England and America, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Hungary, the yellow and red of Spain next to the novelties of Brazil or Australia, with old Japan and new China. Here is truly an international symbol."

5. Learn how to properly hoist and retrieve the following flags.

a. National flag

Australia: raise briskly and lower ceremoniously. If flown with other flags the National flag should raised first and lowered last, unless all flags are raised and lowered together

b. State/Province

c. Pathfinder/AY

d. Christian/Area (District or County)

6. Learn when and why a flag is flown at ½ staff.

Flags are flown at half mast or half staff (term varies by country) as a sign of mourning, respect, or distress. The tradition may relate to leaving room for the invisible flag of death. In some areas the flag is left one flag height from the top of the pole, while in other places it is moved to 3/4 or 2/3 of the way up the pole. Half staff does not usually mean literally 1/2 way up or down.

When raising a flag to half mast one should raise it briefly to the top than lower it to the half mast position. When taking down the flag, raise it to the top briefly and than lower to the base.

The rules and reasons depend on the country. This wikipedia article provides information on the customs in many countries. Half mast

7. What are the conditions that require a National flag to be lighted?

USA: The flag should be lighted at all times, either by sunlight or by an appropriate light source.

Canada: The Maple Leaf flag may be flown at any hour and there are no requirements to light it.

Australia: flag should not be raised before dawn or lowered after dusk. The flag may be flown at night only when it is illuminated.

8. Teach proper techniques for folding and storing flags.

a. National flag

b. State/Province flag

c. Christian flag

d. AY/Pathfinder flags



There are no rules or protocol for folding the Canadian flag other than doing it respectfully.

United States


  1. Have two people stand on either end of the flag, holding a corner in each hand.
  2. Fold the flag in half twice, length-wise.
  3. Beginning at the striped end, fold one corner into the opposite side of the flag, forming a triangle.
  4. Repeat this triangular folding until only a small strip of the star field shows.
  5. Tuck this strip into the triangle.

Be sure to keep the flag from touching the ground while folding.

9. Learn how to properly display your National flag.

a. Parade –alone, with another, or in a row of flags (US flag never dips)

Australia -

In a line of flags carried in single file, the Australian National Flag should always lead. Flags are carried so that the right hand of the carrier is above the left hand. In a line of flags carried abreast, it is preferable to have an Australian National Flag carried at each end of the line. If, however, only one Australian National Flag is available, the following applies: If there is an odd number of flags, the Australian National Flag should be carried in the centre of the line. The flag next highest in order of precedence should be flown to the left of the Australian National Flag (as seen by a viewer facing the flag bearers), the next ranking flag to the right of the Australian National Flag and so on. If there is an even number of flags, the Australian National Flag should be carried on the right-hand end of the line facing the direction of movement (that is, the left end of the line as viewed by a person facing the flags).

b. On a platform



When the National Flag of Canada is displayed in a place of worship or on a speaker's platform, it should be against the wall, or on a flagpole on the left from the point of view of the congregation audience facing the celebrant or speaker (See Figures for examples).

United States

Same rules as Canada.


When the Australian National Flag is displayed alone on a speaker’s platform, it should be flat against the wall or on a staff on the right of the speaker as he or she faces the audience.

c. Vertically or horizontally on a wall

If hung horizontally, the flag should be right side up (don't hang the flag upside down!).

Flags hung vertically should be hung so that the canton is in the upper left corner. So the stars on the US flag (its canton) should be in the upper left corner as observed from the audience. The Union Jack on the Bermuda flag should be in the upper left. The Canadian Maple Leaf should be placed so that the upper part of the leaf points to the left and the stem to the right from the point of view of the observer facing the flag.


Whether the flag is displayed flat against a surface (either horizontally or vertically), on a staff, on a flag rope, or suspended vertically in the middle of a street, the canton should be in the uppermost left quarter as viewed by a person facing the flag. In the case of the Australian National Flag, the Union Jack should be seen in the top left quarter of the flag. 1 Even when the flag is displayed vertically, this rule must be followed, although to the casual observer the flag appears to be back to front. The reason for this is that the canton is the position of honour on the flag

d. On a casket


The canton should be draped over the upper left corner of the casket. The flag should be removed before the casket is lowered into the grave or, at a crematorium, after the service. The flag size for a standard adult-sized casket should be 4 1/2 X 9 feet/ 1.40 X 2.80m.[1]


The Australian National Flag may be used to cover the coffin of any deceased Australian citizen at their funeral. The canton should be draped over the ‘left shoulder’ of the coffin, representing the heart. The flag should be removed before the coffin is lowered into the grave or, at a crematorium, after the service. The deceased’s service headdress, sword or baton, awards or medals if any and family flowers may be placed on the flag covering the coffin. Care should be taken during the interment to maintain the dignity of the flag.

e. In a group of flags on the same halyard

National flag always goes on top of any other flag (with the exception of certain Royal flags). In Canada it is unacceptable to fly the Maple Leaf on the same halyard with another flag.


When displayed on a flag rope (a ‘halyard’), the flag should be as close as possible to the top, with the flag rope tight. If the national flag is vertically suspended in an east-west street, the canton should be towards the north. In a north-south street the canton should be towards the east

f. Flags from two or more nations

After the flag of the host country, the other flags should be displayed in alphabetical order using the common name of the countries, excluding words like "the" and "commonwealth" or "republic of". A number of other scenarios are detailed here. The position of honor (for the host country flag) is to the left as observed. Alternatively the position of honor is the center. The position of honor flag is raised first and lowered last, unless all flags are raised and lowered together.

At Commonwealth events or where only Commonwealth country flags are raised, after the host country flag, the flags of each member of the Commonwealth of Nations are displayed in the order the country first joined the Commonwealth with the Union Jack first, than Canada (first to be independent) and so on. All country flags should be flown at the same height and should be the same size vertically (some are shorter or longer horizontally).

10. Properly carry one of the flags in # 8 as part of a Pathfinder Color Guard at a special event (Parade, Civic Event, Pathfinder Sabbath).

Here you practice some of what you learn in this honor.

11. Learn how to properly & respectfully dispose of a torn/worn National flag. Be part of a ceremony to properly dispose of a National flag

Note: Pathfinders should wear full Class A uniform when participating in a flag retirement ceremony.


http://www.flaginstitute.org/pdfs/Flying_Flags_in_the_United_Kingdom.pdf. The rules of handling UK flags apply. Burn the flag respectfully or cut it apart so it no longer looks like a flag.


If you are considering if your flag has reached the point it needs to be replaced, it is time to replace it. Flying a flag with rips, tears, or stains is disrespectful. There is no official protocol for disposing of an old Canadian flag but respectfully burning it privately is suggested. A camp fire, brush fire or a wood stove are all acceptable. Burning the flag with garbage would be unacceptable as the flag should not be combined with garbage.

Modern flags are often made from more durable nylon so they last longer. According to DuPont’s ‘Material Safety Data Sheet’ burning nylon produces: “Hazardous gases / vapors produced in fire are formaldehydes, ammonia, carbon monoxide, cyclopentanone, oxides of nitrogen, traces of hydrogen cyanide, incompletely burned hydrocarbons.” Some suggest cutting up the flag (now it is not a flag) and recycling it - perhaps into new flags.

United States

There is no official protocol for retiring a US Flag other than that it be done by burning and that it be done respectfully. Here is an outline for a ceremony that you might consider using.

  • Kindle a fire near the center of the area where the flag will be retired. Assign someone to tend the fire, seeing that it does not get out of control and that it is sufficiently robust to consume the flag completely.
  • Six Pathfinders march forward, with one carrying the flag.
  • The flag is unfolded and held horizontally while Taps is played.
  • While five of the Pathfinders hold the flag, the sixth one removes the union (blue field) with a pair of sharp scissors.
  • The union is placed on the fire.
  • The top-most red stripe is then cut from the flag (and the remainder of the flag is still held horizontal to the ground).
  • The red strip is placed on the fire.
  • Each stripe is then removed, one at a time and placed on the fire.
  • When the fire has consumed all the parts of the flag, it should be put out completely.
  • When it is cool enough to do so, any grommets that were part of the flag should be collected and buried.


When a flag becomes dilapidated and no longer suitable for use, it should be destroyed privately and in a dignified way. For example, it may be cut into small unrecognisable pieces then disposed of with the normal rubbish collection. In some circumstances it may be fitting to hold a ceremony to mark the retirement of a used Australian National Flag. The order of ceremony below is provided as a guide to how such an event could be run. Introduction/Welcome by Master of Ceremonies Acknowledgement of Country Comments regarding the history and symbolism of the Australian National Flag (flag to be retired brought to be displayed to those in attendance) Comments regarding retired flag’s history (where flown, how long, memorable events in that time) Speech about retirement of flag (Short Silence while flag is retired) The flag can be ceremonially cut into three pieces with solemnity. Two cuts should be done in such a way to ensure that the three symbolic elements of the flag are left intact: The Union Jack, The Federation Star and the Southern Cross. The parts of the flag can be placed in a suitable receptacle and either escorted from the scene or left until those attending the ceremony depart. After the ceremony the flag may either be placed in a permanent place of storage or should be destroyed privately and in a dignified way such as cutting it into small unrecognisable pieces, placing it in an appropriate sealed bag or closed container and then putting it in the normal rubbish collection. Australian National Anthem is played. Information on Anthem protocol and downloadable music files are available on the PM&C website Closing Remarks



  1. http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/ceem-cced/etiqtt/101-eng.cfm