These are highly decorated cloths which can be hung from either a vertical or horizontal pole. The decorations bear the coat of arms or other emblem of a regiment or organisation. In any location they are regarded with honour and great respect.
(Of course, many call the flags banners but hey, what’s in a name! What I have described is just one way of describing them. Depends what you are using them for. It doesn’t really matter but for the purposes of clarity on this website, flags will be the things you hold in your hand and wave, banners will be things you hang on a bar or on the wall.)
Banners, standards and flags played an important role in military history. Their function is to embody the spirit of the regiment, to provide a focus of belonging and loyalty amongst the troops. They were (and are still) paraded before the troops regularly and with great ceremony to ensure that each man can readily recognise and bond with the colours of his regiment and therefore know whom to follow on the battlefield or where their home base is.
Who can forget this stirring image of St Joan leading her troops into battle as portrayed here in this famous statue in New Orleans, USA
The best known modern equivalent is probably the athletes parading their nation’s flag at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.
And when one of them wins gold and sees their nation’s flag raised not just before the stadium but millions world-wide, what emotion is portrayed! How special is that!
Or this dramatic statue in Washington of soldiers fighting against wind and mud to raise their standard on a hilltop they had just capture from the enemy
This is the focus of standards:
THE PROCLAMATION AND CELEBRATION OF VICTORY
Banners of worship have the same focus.
To raise the name of God;
To present His holy name before the people;
To witness and proclaim his righteousness and saving grace.