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Adoption of the Federal Flag Desecration Law

By July 5, 1968

Congress approves and President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Federal Flag Desecration Law in the wake of a highly publicized Central Park flag burning incident in protest of the Vietnam War. The federal law made it illegal to knowingly cast “contempt” upon “any flag of the United States by publicly mutilating, defacing, defiling, burning or trampling upon it.” The law defined a flag in an expansive manner similar to most States.