My Great Great Grandfather started the trend shortly after he returned from battle at the end of the Civil War.
The flag is treated with honor and always displayed correctly. For almost 100 years the family stored all of the retired flags keeping some special ones on display. Usually the last flag retired before a new star was added received a place of prominence at family gatherings.
Sadly, most of the collection was lost in a house fire several years before I was born. My Dad carried a small American flag with him during his time in the European Theater during WWII. He lost it when it was used as a temporary bandage on another soldier during the shelling of the Ardennes Forrest at the Battle of the Bulge in the Winter of 1944.
When I was very young I asked my Dad why we always had an American flag in front of the house. He paused for a few long moments then told me that "we fly the flag to honor his friends served with him in the Army and all of the soldiers in uniform."
I have the honor of continuing the tradition to this day.