If you're headed out to one of the Hudson Valley's many Fourth of July parades you'll want to leave the camping chair at home.

Whether you're barbecuing, heading to the lake or watching your local fireworks display, there's no better place to be for the Fourth of July than right here in the Mid-Hudson Region. Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays to celebrate. Not only does it signal the beginning of the summer months, but it's also a great time to get together with friends and family to give thanks for our freedom.

Towns, villages and cities will be marking the Fourth of July holiday with elaborate parades. Thousands of people are expected to line the streets in Dutchess, Orange and Ulster Counties to celebrate the red, white and blue. The purpose of these huge parades is to honor our country. Unfortunately, many paradegoers are doing the exact opposite and may not even realize it.

Texas Town Holds Parade On Independence Day
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Most people are unaware that bringing a chair to a Fourth of July parade can cause you to insult our veterans and other patriotic Americans who take our freedom seriously. It turns out that sitting down is almost impossible at any local parade if you truly want to be a patriot.

You may not realize that Americans must stand up whenever an American flag is presented during a parade. That's right, every single flag that marches past you during a parade should be respected by standing at attention. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs makes it very clear that anyone seated whenever an American flag passes is showing disrespect.

According to the U.S. Flag code, there are two situations when Americans must stand at attention for the flag. One is when the flag is either raised or lowered on its pole and the other is when it is presented at a parade.

During the hoisting or lowering of the flag or when it passes in parade or review, Americans should stand at attention facing the flag and place their right hand over the heart. Uniformed military members render the military salute. Men not in uniform should remove any headdress and hold it with their right hand at their left shoulder, the hand resting over the heart. Those who are not U.S. citizens should stand at attention.

If you've ever been to a local Independence Day parade, you know that there are A LOT of American Flags on display. Once the parade begins, it would be almost impossible to sit, as flags are presented by almost every group that passes by. So, unless you wish to be disrespectful to our veterans and our country, you're going to have to stand at attention for all of it.

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Some people may think all of this sounds a bit ridiculous, but if you're going to attend a Fourth of July parade that honors our country, why wouldn't you honor the flag? I can only imagine what our combat veterans would say to someone who thought standing at a parade for an hour or so was too much trouble.

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