How to Use Flags to Show Support for a Cause


The idea of using flags to show support for a cause is a relatively old one. At least as old as human civilisation itself. To some degree or another, flags, banners and pendants have all be used to show affiliation with particular groups, entities and organisations, whether its national flags for countries or waving banners for your favoured football team. They have also been used as a means of communication, such as flying a white flag for a truce, or as a means of inspiration, such as a military regiment’s colours. How to use a flag, therefore, may seem like a rather simple question, along the lines of “How do you tie your shoelaces” and “How do you breathe”. However, there are ways in which you can more effectively use them. Sure, it is easy to buy and then use a flag (just going to a website like It is hard to use them well.

So let’s say you’ve just decided to support a cause. You are for protecting whales. You are behind a particular presidential candidate. You want to support the local campaign to save an old building. Whatever it is, it is only natural to want to advertise this newfound calling, and flags are an easy and effective means of doing.

Why exactly you’d want to fly a flag to show your support for a cause may vary. For some people, it is to help raise awareness of the cause in question, which in turn may entice more people to take it up themselves, or at least make a token effort towards. Others may decide to do it to show solidarity with others within the group, helping to reinforce and encourage everyone from within. Others still may choose to display a flag simply for their enjoyment, taking a small measure of pride and delight in reminding themselves of what they hold important. The motive does play a role in how the flag is used.

For example, if you want to use a flag as a message to others, you usually want to fly it in as visible place as possible. Invariably this means raising to a significant height. Flagpoles are the traditional way of achieving this, as they can raise a flag several storeys off the ground, and they’ll naturally unfurl as they catch the wind. This means people can see the flag from several blocks away, immediately fulfilling the flag’s function as a means of signalling.

The problem with this, of course, is that flagpoles are not always practical to every situation. Indeed, it is very hard to use flagpoles very well at all outside certain situations. For example, say you wanted to fly a flag to show support for a cause inside a building, such as a convention hall? It is possible to acquire flagpoles that rest on a stand, allowing them to be erected without installing a more permanent base, however the results is a flag that’s constantly flopped limply to the side. This makes it difficult to see what exactly the flag is meant to show.

The solution here is to find somewhere to hang the flag so that it is unfolded and more visible, such as across the table, pinned up on a wall or hanging from a bannister above a stairwell. Doing so immediately makes it more visible to passers-by, and more clearly marks out both you and what you are trying to advertise.

The flag should always be able to fulfill its intended purpose well, without interference or confusion. It should not be obstructed by other objects, nor should jumble flags together. Ideally each flag should be distinct and separate from all the others. How you choose to display a flag will also reflect your sentiments regarding the things it represents. So if you have several flags flying together, and one is in the centre and flying higher than the others, it immediately gives the impression of prestige and importance. The size of the flag in relation to other flags will also have an impact on how it is perceived.

Needless to say, when using flags to show support to a cause, it is essential you fly the flags correctly. If you are flying a national flag, for example, make sure you read up on any protocol regarding how that flag is to be flown. The American flag, to use an example, has very strict rules: it is regarded almost literally as a living representation of the country. Thus, it must never be allowed to touch the floor, nor can it be folded in any old fashion – there is a specific way it is to be folded. It should also always be flown the correct way up. A US flag flown upside down is a sign of distress! Brushing up on these protocols can help prevent confusion or offense.

Using a flag correctly will immediately ensure that it can lend the proper support to a cause that it can. In so doing, you can quickly and immediately spread your message and awareness thereof to a large number of people, with little effort on your part.

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