You’ve seen these patches on countless military men and women out in public (especially at the airport) and maybe you’ve asked yourself, is the flag facing the wrong way on the uniform’s right shoulder?
It may appear to look that way to people untrained in military customs, but the way the patch is affixed to the uniform is done for a very specific reason.
Here’s why: when a military member marches forward, they assume the position of a flagpole, and the flag sewn onto their uniform is meant to look like a flag flapping in the wind. So the patch on the left shoulder looks like the stationary image we’re used to seeing, but the flag on the right shoulder is correct as well because the flag is fluttering behind the service member as they walk.
The official term for this is called “reverse side flag.” So now you know!
h/t: Mental Floss