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Sen. Cruz Introduces Legislation to Allow Uniformed Servicemembers to Participate in Flag Unfurling at Sporting Events

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) introduced the Updating National Flag Use to Reaffirm Liberty (UNFURL) Act to amend the U.S. Flag Code to allow uniformed military servicemembers to participate in the ceremonial unfurling of large American flags. Sen. Cruz’s legislation also rescinds a recent Department of Defense (DOD) policy that interprets the U.S. Flag Code to prohibit servicemembers from participating in such displays of the American flag, including at sporting events as well as at patriotic observances.

Upon introduction, Sen. Cruz said, “Our troops should be able to participate in unfurling and displaying the American flag at large public events, such as sporting events. The military is struggling to meet its recruiting targets and young people are increasingly disinclined to serve. We should rally around the ultimate symbol of national unity: the American flag. Not allowing our military servicemembers to participate in such events defies simple common sense.”

Read bill text here.


Since September 11, 2001, patriotic observances have become common at major sports events. Those observances often include the unfurling of a large American flag. The U.S. Flag Code (contained in Title 4 of U.S. Code) prohibits carrying the American flag horizontally. In February 2023, the Department of Defense issued a memorandum prohibiting uniformed servicemembers from participating in the unfurling of large flags at sporting events because those flags are unfurled and displayed horizontally. The UNFURL Act revises the Flag code to clarify that Department of Defense personnel may participate in such patriotic displays and rescinds that Department of Defense memo.