With very few exceptions, it used to be unacceptable to fly the American flag after dark or in stormy or even overcast weather. At schools, government buildings, military locations and any other places where the flag was flown it would be taken down slowly, ceremoniously folded, and put away every evening. If the weather wasn't bad it would be briskly raised again the next morning.
Those rules were changed when synthetic fabrics became available because flags were no longer likely to be damaged by moisture.
But there are still rules about how the flag should be displayed. For instance it should be always at the highest, central place between other flags. And the American flag should never be allowed to touch the ground. There are even rules about having it on clothing or fabrics.
Most people in the USA today aren't even aware of the rules about the flag.
I remember after September eleventh 2001 when people all over displayed American flags many of those were draped over cars hoods, fences or furniture so the edges dragged on the ground.
But I guess that doesn't really matter as long as everyone understands displaying the Stars and Stripes shows loyalty to "the Republic for which it stands."
Come to think of it, why do we pledge allegiance to a piece of cloth instead of just to the nation it represents? The American flag is a symbol and pledging allegiance to it shows we still value the values our country has fought to maintain for centuries.
As we celebrate the Fourth of July let's remember the importance of liberty and justice for all.