Happy Factual Friday! I was watching the movie “Zero Dark Thirty” the other day (great movie, by the way. I would highly recommend it) and I noticed once again, that the flag on the uniforms of the military personnel was backwards. I’ve seen this so many times I’ve lost count but this time, it really irritated me that I didn’t know why it is displayed like that in the movies. Here’s the explanation (and it’s not just displayed this way in the movies!):
According to multiple question-answering websites (and I found the more detailed answer on About.com): this is done so it gives the observer the effect of seeing the flag flying in the breeze as the wearer moves forward. I’m not sure I, as the observer, really feel that effect when I see it in motion but I don’t think I would care either if I were the enemy and I saw our brave military personnel bearing down on me. However, this is just one of the many ways the U.S. Armed Forces pays tribute to its history. What do you think?
Something else I learned was that it used to be (until 2005) that the flag could only be worn by servicemembers on their utility and organizational/camouflage uniforms and only during joint-duty and multi-national deployments. However, this was changed in 2005 to be displayed at all times since the U.S. was and is still actively engaged in a war.
It’s displayed on the right shoulder because the “place of honor” is to the servicemember’s right. But when displayed on the left shoulder, the flag will appear “correct” (stars in the upper left-hand corner, stripes to the right). The one on the right (called the “reversed field patch”) is the most common one displayed.
Do you know of any fun facts about military uniforms you would like to share?