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General Display of Flag Etiquette

It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open.  However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.

 

  The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.

 

  The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed.

 

  The flag should be displayed daily, on or near the main administration building of every public institution...in or near every polling place on election days...in or near every schoolhouse during school days.

For a patriotic effect, however, you may fly your flag twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.

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  No other flag or pennant should be placed above or, if on the same level, to the right of the flag of the United States of America, except during church services conducted by naval chaplains at sea...for personnel of the Navy...when the church pennant may be flown above the flag.

 

  No person shall display the flag of the United Nations or any other national or international flag equal, above, or in a position of superior prominence or honor to, or in place of the flag of the United States at any place within the United States or any Territory or possession thereof:  Provided, that nothing in this section shall make unlawful - the continuance of the practice heretofore followed of displaying the flag of the United Nations in a position of superior prominence or honor, with that of the flag of the United States at the headquarters of the United Nations.

 

  The flag of the United States of America, when it is displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, should be on the right, the flag's own right, and its staff should be in front of the staff of the other flag.

 

  The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of States or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs.

 

  When flags of States, cities, or localities, or pennants of societies are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the United States, the latter should always be at the peak.  When the flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the flag of the United States should be hoisted first and lowered last.  No such flag or pennant may be placed above the flag of the United States or the United States flag's own right.

 

  When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height.  The flags should be of approximately equal size.  International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace.

 

  When the flag of the United States is displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from the window sill, balcony, or front of a building, the union of the flag should be placed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half-staff.  When the flag is suspended over a sidewalk from a rope extending from a house to a pole at the edge of the sidewalk, the flag should be hoisted out, union first, from the building.

 

  When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flags own right, that is to the observer's left.  When displayed in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.

 

  When the flag is displayed over the middle of the street, it should be suspended vertically with the union to the North in an East and West street or to the East in a North and South street.

 

  The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.

 

  The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water or merchandise.

 

  The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled or damaged in any way.

 

  The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.  The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.

 

  The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.

 

Parades, Ceremonies

 

  The flag, when carried in a procession or with another flag or flags, should either on the marching right; that is, the flag's own right, or, if there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line.

 

  The flag should not be displayed on a float in a parade except from a staff (or as against a wall or in a window).

 

  The flag should form a distinctive feature of the ceremony of unveiling a statue or monument.  But it should never be used as the covering for the statue or monument.

 

  That no disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America, the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing.  Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.

 

  The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.

 

  During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in a parade or in review, all persons present except those in uniform should face the flag and stand at attention with the right hand over the heart.  Those present in uniform should render the military salute.  When not in uniform, men/women should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.  Aliens should stand at attention.  The salute to the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes.

 

  To Fold the flag ceremoniously, first fold it lengthwise, bringing the striped half up over the blue field.  Then repeat, with the blue field on the outside.  Beginning at the lower right, make a series of triangular folds until the flag resembles a cocked hat with only the blue field visible.

 

Vehicles

 

  The flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle or of a railroad train or boat.  When the flag is displayed on a motorcar, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.

 

Corridors, Lobbies

 

  When the flag is suspended across a corridor or lobby in a building with only one main entrance, it should be suspended vertically with the union of the flag to the observer's left upon entering.  If the building has more than one main entrance, the flag should be suspended vertically near the center of the corridor or lobby with the union to the North when entrances are to the East or West, or to the East when entrances are to the North and South.  If there are entrances in more than two directions, the union should be to the East.

 

Churches, Auditoriums

 

  When used on a speaker's platform, the flag, if displayed flag, should be displayed above and behind the speaker.  When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium the flag of the United States of America should hold the position of superior prominence.  In advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman's or speaker's right as he faces the audience.  Any other flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker or the right of the audience.

 

Caskets

 

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

 

National Anthem

 

  During the rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart.  Persons not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.  Persons in uniform should render the military salute at the first note of the anthem and retain this position until the last note.  When the flag is not displayed, those present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed there.

 

Pledge of Allegiance

 

  The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag should be rendered by standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart.  When not in uniform persons should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.  Persons in uniform should remain silent, face the flag, and render the military salute.

 

Half-Staff

 

  The flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position.  The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day.  On Memorial Day the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff.  On the following days, the flag is to be flown at half-mast for the entire day:

 

  By order of the President, the flag shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of principal figures of the United States Government and the Governor of a State, territory, or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory.  In the event of the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries, the flag is to be displayed at half-staff according to Presidential instructions or orders, or in accordance with recognized customs or practices not inconsistent with law.

 

  In the event of the death of a present or former official of the government of any State, territory or possession of the United States, the Governor of that State, territory or possession may proclaim that the National flag may be flown at half-staff.

 

Wearing Apparel, Drapery

 

   The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery.  It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free.  Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle and the red below should be used for covering a speaker's desk, draping the front of a platform, and for decoration in general.

 

  No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform.  However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations.  The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing.  Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.

 

Advertising

 

  The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever.  It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard.  Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.

 

Disposal

 

  The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.

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May 15  -  Peace Officers Memorial Day

May 25 - Memorial Day (Sunrise to Noon)

July 27  -  Korean War Memorial Day

September 11 - Patriot Day

December 7  -  Pearl Harbor Day

 

It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open, unless otherwise noted.

Dates to Fly Flags Half Staff

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