American Flags That Aren't American? Oops.


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How many people pride themselves on being "flag-waving" Americans?

Some citizens own flags which they raise and lower proudly in their front yards. Even if individuals don't consider themselves all that patriotic, it's still pretty common to buy a flag on July 4th, the nation's birthday and a popular US holiday.

What many well-meaning flag buyers don't know is that there is a disturbing truth to the origin of a number of American flags—one that would make the most jingoist American fall over dead from shame and shock.

Believe it or not, there's a chance that American flag you were flying wasn't actually American in origin.

An estimated 7.5 million foreign-made American flags are sold each year. Over $3.8 million in foreign flag purchases were made in 2012 alone.

The origin of many of those imported flags was actually China. My condolences to the families of the ultraconservative patriarchs that didn't make it through that last sentence.

Given how many items Americans use or wear that come to us directly from China, this probably isn't much of a surprise to anyone. However, it seems a bizarre thing to import, if only from the perspective of national pride.

Before you pick up your pitchforks and head to Washington, there is some comforting news: These imported flags represent on average mere 5% of all flags used in the United States.

If you want to be absolutely sure that your American flag was made here, it's best to check the item or company as to where the flag and all related materials are made and shipped from.

Also know, before you get too down on yourself, that our very own Pentagon is a much bigger offender on the terms of American flags not being so American.

Rules went into effect on Friday that said that any and all flags used and purchased by the Department of Defense have to originated in the United States. It seems startling to think that there had to be a rule made for this and that it's only just now going into effect.

It was a necessary change because prior to this new rule, some flags and many flag-making materials originated in other areas of the world. This adjustment keeps all tax dollars "in house".

Why would we outsource "Old Glory" in the first place? It comes down to money. Often flags made abroad are less expensive than the flags made in the United States.

Image via Wikimedia commons