As an American patriot, you feel the bliss to show love for everything in red, white, and blue. When it comes to civilian wearing the American flag patch on your clothing, you may have some concerns. Let's have a look, can civilians wear reverse flags?

A reverse flag is usually not a real flag you fly on a pole, but rather a graphic or emblem placed on something else. This article is about why the US Army Flag Patch is reversed? Why does this happen, and what does it mean?


Can civilians wear American flag patches

Yes, civilians can wear American flag patches on their clothing in the same manner as the military wear. Wearing anywhere else can be seen as disrespectful, so be careful and not forget to follow the proper rules to avoid disrespecting the American flag.

The Meaning of A Reverse Flag


As a military professional, you know that your profession has its own unique set of codes and language that can easily confuse a civilian. When it comes to the meaning of the reverse flag, this is one of the many things that may be well known to you, but a mystery to the civilian.


Let's take a closer look at the meaning of the flag

While some may mistakenly think that the reverse or reverse flag is a sign of disrespect showing it in military uniform is a sign of respect. The American flag defines freedom and a set of values ​​that are held as dear as a nation.

There are rules and codes for how the American flag can be worn like it is not allowed to wear a flag as clothing, and rules for how the flag is usually hoisted and manipulated to sustain the respect and honor it deserves after so many sacrifices.

The only time you should see the flag forward, or backward is on a professional military uniform, as a patch on the sleeve. On the right sleeve of the military uniform, the reverse flag is worn depicting courage and respect.

History of the Backward Flag

The idea behind a reverse flag is to make it look like the flag is fluttering in the wind when the person wearing it moves forward.

During the Civil War, both mounted cavalry and infantry units would appoint a standard-bearer who carried the flag into battle. When this standard carrier was loaded, its front link pushed the flag back.

Since the stars and stripes were set so that the canton was closest to the pole, that part of the flag remained to the right while the stripes flew to the left.

Thus, the flag is worn on the right shoulder, and carrying it on the reverse side creates the effect of a flag waving in the wind as the wearer moves forward.


American Flag Patch Placement on Clothing


If you wear the flag patch other than uniform, it may be considered disrespectful. The flag patch can be worn anywhere else, but the sleeve is regarded as the proper placement.


As many people add patches to bags and backpacks, people wonder if there are rules regarding this type of patch placement concerning the flag. If you place a flag patch on a bag, the same rules are applied to it.


  • Make sure it is in the highest position compared to other patches.

  • The stars are in the top forward position.

  • Make sure the tape is not near the bottom of the bag to avoid hitting the ground.

While this is not the same as letting the current American flag touch the ground in terms of disrespect, it should still be seen as a guarantee that you always respect the flag of our great nation.

The Flag Patch: A Way To Differentiate Civilian And Military Officials


The flag patch will help you distinguish between civilian and military. Military flag patches are worn with the stars facing forward, while civilians such as firefighters and police officers wear flag patches with stars facing backwards.


Why Is The Reverse Flag Not A Show Of Disrespect?


The reverse flag is only visible on the uniformed professional's right shoulder. The reason for this is that the stars on the flag must be displayed high; that is, the stars are always positioned so that they are in the upper left corner when shown.


Wearing a flag patch on the right shoulder, the stars cannot be in the left corner, so the new position becomes the front, as well as the conspicuous position, that is, the stars placed in the front of the design speak more and not in the left corner.


While this is partly due to the placement of the stars, it is also because the flag patch is meant to show that the flag is flying in the wind, and this arrangement helps for this purpose when worn on the right shoulder of the uniform.


Can A Blue Field Be Reversed?

It doesn’t matter if the blue field is reversed. The blue field must be in front i-e closer to the front of the body when worn on the sleeve. If worn on the chest or back, the blue field is usually on the left side. Wearing upside down is another matter.

According to Section 4, Chapter 1 of the Flag Code:

8(a)The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.

If someone deliberately wears the flag attached upside down on their clothes, they are most likely trying to be disrespectful, although you should ask them to make sure.




Army Uniform Flag Rule

Army Regulation 670-1 states

The American flag patch must be worn on the right or left shoulder so that the star field is oriented in front of or to the right of the flag. When worn in this manner, the flag is oriented to the right of the observer and creates the effect of a flag waving in the wind as the wearer moves forward.


Wearing The American Flag Patch - That's Completely Normal

The flag code does not determine how the flag patch should be positioned. The only rule for wearing the flag is if it is worn on the sleeves, as usual, it should be star-positioned in front as if it was hanging from your arm and streaming behind you. For this reason, if you place a patch on the right sleeve, you will need a star patch on the right side.

Patch A must be worn on the left sleeve. Patch B must be worn on the right sleeve. If the patch is not on the sleeve, Patch A will be preferred because this is how the flag is usually displayed.

What To Do When Wearing Multiple Flags?

When using multiple flags, the US flag should always be higher. So, to show this courtesy to your jacket, You must wear it on any flag patches you wear as it would be disrespectful to place other country’s flags on top of it. The flag code probably does not account for the situation where someone is wearing multiple flag patches, so this is not a formal rule.


Meaning Of Wearing Reverse Flag Other Than Uniform

Still, many civilians wear the US flag on their hats, backpacks, T-shirts, etc., perhaps to let others know that they are combat veterans and are proud of their achievements. Not everyone wearing such clothing is combat veterinarians; some only support those who have served or have a family member who has served, been wounded, or killed in action. Not everyone agrees to wear such clothing or a flag.









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