I don’t know about you, but i’ve always wondered that: why is the American flag “backwards” on an arm patch of a soldier’s uniform? I mean, why not just have it as it’s on a flag pole with the blue field of stars on the left?
Well, several years later, i’ve decided to search for the answer and as it turns out, there’s a pretty good reason for it.
So, without further ado, here’s how it goes. (the article continues after the ad)
It all has to do with proper display of the flag – the blue field of stars should always face forward/be in the highest and most prestigious position of honor. And that is the reason why only the flag patches worn on the right shoulder are reversed:
It may look strange at first, but it actually makes sense. You see, when we look at a flag on a wall or printed on a piece of paper, the highest position for the blue field is the upper left. When the flag is on a moving object, on a vehicle or… on a person for that matter, the highest position for the blue field is for it to be at the front, and not the rear; for the right shoulder that means that the flag must be “reversed”.
In fact, a soldier’s right shoulder is not the only place you’ll see the flag that way. The next time you’ll find yourself in an airport, just look for the US-flagged aircraft and you’ll notice that the flags painted on their right side, are in “reverse”. Here’s a picture of the most famous US-flagged aircraft out there:
Think of it, not as a patch, but rather as a loose flag attached to a soldier’s arm, as if it was a flag pole. When that soldier moves forward, the stripes will flow to the back and the blue field will face forward.
As the Institute of Heraldry addresses: “When worn on the right sleeve, it is considered proper to reverse the design so that the union is at the observer’s right to suggest that the flag is flying in the breeze as the wearer moves forward.”
And now you know!
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Photo: Educate Yourself, Bryan on Scouting
Photoshop: I’m A Useless Info Junkie
Sources: Why is the Flag patch “backwards” on Military uniforms? | Why Is The Army Flag Patch Reversed? | Worth Dying for: The Power and Politics of Flags