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American Flag Protocol

American Flag Protocol

Displaying The Flag

When displaying the flag, it is important to remember certain guidelines of proper flag etiquette. They are:

  • When on display or carried in a procession with our flags the flags should be positioned to its own right. Also, it should be placed to the right of a speaker or staging area, while other flags are placed to the left.

  • When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting horizontally from a window sill, balcony, or building, the stars of the flag should be placed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half staff.

  • The flag should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of states, localities or societies are grouped for display.

  • When the flag is displayed vertically or horizontally against a wall, the stars should be placed at the top of the flags right and the observers left.

  • When the flag is unfurled for display across a street, it should be hung vertically with the stars to the north or east.

  • When the flag is flown with the flags of other nations they are to be displayed from separate staffs of the same height and each should be of equal size. International law forbids the display of the flag of one nation to be flown above that of another nation during time of peace.

  • During a time of national mourning, the flag can be flown at half mast by order or proclamation of the Ppresident of the United States. When flown at half mast, the flag should be hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half staff position. The flag should be raised to the peak before it is lowered at the end of the day period. On Memorial day the flag should be displayed at half mast until noon, then raised to the top of the staff and flown until sunset. Local customs regarding the lowering of company, city, or other flags to half mast are directed by the executive officers of those service areas.

  • When the flag is used to cover a casket, it should be placed with the stars at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground.

Respect For The Flag

The Flag Code, a national guideline on ways in which the flag is to be respected, states that no disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States Of America. Specific ways in which the flag should not be used, according to the code are:

  • The flag should not be dipped to any person or anything and can be flown upside down only as a distress signal.

  • The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding or drapery. Bunting of blue, white, and red can be used for covering a speakers desk, draping the front of a platform, or for decoration in general.

  • The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a way that would allow it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged.

  • The flag should never have any mark, insignia, letter, work, or other designs of any kind placed upon it.

  • The flag should never be used for advertising purposes. It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handercheifs, paper napkins, boxes, or anything that is designed for temporary use. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a flags staff or halyard.

  • No part of the flag should be used an an implement of a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be worn on the uniform of military personnel, firemen, and members of patriotic or other national organizations, such as the uniforms of veterans' service Organizations or Scout uniforms.

When lowering the flag, make certain that no part of it touches the ground. It should be received by waiting hands and arms. To store the flag, cermoniously fold it length wise in half, then repeat the blue field on the outside. Finally, while one person holds it by the blue field, another then makes a triangular fold in the opposite end, continuing to fold it in triangles until only the blue shield shows. When a flag is in such a condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, it should be destroyed in a dignified manner, preferably by burning.

Flying Our Flag

It is proper to display the flag from sunrise to sunset on all days the weather permits. The flag may also be displayed at night if illuminated by a light. But it is even more important to display the flag on national holidays and days of importance, including:

  • New Year's Day
  • Lincoln's Birthday
  • Mother's Day
  • Flag Day
  • Labor Day
  • Veteran's Day
  • Elections Day
  • Inaugurations Day
  • Washington's Birthday
  • Armed Forces Day
  • Father's Day
  • Constitution Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • State and local holidays
  • Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday
  • Easter Sunday
  • Memorial Day (half staff until noon)
  • Independence Day
  • Columbus Day
  • Christmas Day
  • State Birthday

Other days the flag may be flown at half mast may be proclaimed by the President of the United States.

(Courtesy of the DAV National Day Planner)


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