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Why Does The American Flag Look ‘Backward’ On A Military Uniform?

U.S. Troops Train In Kuwait
Getty Images

When we see the American flag pictured, the blue field containing 50 stars is usually on the left. When we see it on a soldier’s right shoulder, the image is reversed. Why?

The Business Insider offers an explanation from Tim Marshall, author of “Worth Dying for: The Power and Politics of Flags.” He explains that the Star Spangled Banner is positioned on a flag pole with the stars on the leading edge, closest to the flag pole.

When it’s flying from a vehicle, the stars are always on the forward edged, attached to the flagpole. The flag must always be moving forward, never in retreat. That’s why it’s “reversed” on a soldier’s right shoulder.


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