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Bill outlines Alaska flag etiquette

JUNEAU -- Ever wonder the correct way to display the Alaska flag? Or how to fold it? Or properly retire it?

A bill in the state Legislature prescribes flag etiquette.

The measure arose after cadets in the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps at Dimond High School researched the issue and couldn't find instructions, state Rep. Craig Johnson told the House State Affairs Committee Thursday morning.

As it is, people fold the flag "willy nilly," said Johnson, an Anchorage Republican and sponsor of House Bill 98.

The cadets, through much trial and error, figured out the best way was to fold it into a rectangle shape that results in the North Star being on top. The bill lists the eight steps required for proper folding.

An easy way to remember is to fold it like a hot dog bun, or lengthwise, twice, then like a hamburger bun three times, cadets told Johnson's office.

The bill also specifies that when the flag is displayed horizontally, the North Star should be in the upper right corner. For vertical displays, the star should be in the lower right.

If possible, a worn or tattered official state flag should be retired in a public ceremony with uniformed military personnel, though a private ceremony is also acceptable, the bill says.

There are no penalties for not handling it correctly, Johnson said. Documents filed on line with the bill include a flag etiquette brochure.

A video shown to the committee features uniformed cadets folding the flag outside of Dimond High with Alaska's Flag -- the state song -- playing in the background.

"Watching that just makes you proud you are Alaskan, doesn't it?" said state Rep. Wes Keller, R-Wasilla.

All five State Affairs Committee members at the Thursday morning hearing are recommending the bill pass. Besides Keller, they are: Reps. Bob Lynn, R-Anchorage, Pete Petersen, D-Anchorage, Paul Seaton, R-Homer, and Kyle Johansen, R-Ketchikan.

The bill isn't scheduled to be heard by any other committees in the House.

Reach Lisa Demer at ldemer@adn.com or 257-4390.

By LISA DEMER

ldemer@adn.com

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