American Flag Guidelines

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How to Display and Care for the American Flag

American Flag - Thinkstock
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Many of our readers ask about U.S. flag rules and regulations. On June 22, 1942, Congress passed a joint resolution, later amended on December 22, 1942, that encompassed what has come to be known as the U.S. Flag Code. Here are highlights:

Perhaps the most important rule involves how citizens should behave around the Stars and Stripes: The flag of the United States is the emblem of our identity as a separate nation, which the United States of America has been for more than 200 years. Therefore, citizens should stand at attention and salute when their flag is passing in a parade or being hoisted or lowered.

How to Properly Display the Flag

  • The custom is to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on flagstaffs in the open, but it may be displayed at night upon special occasions to produce a patriotic effect.
     
  • When the flag is hung vertically on a wall, window or door the Union (blue) should be to the observer’s left. When the flag is hung either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the Union (blue field) should be to the observer’s left.
     
  • The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
     
  • It should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement.
     
  • The flag should be displayed on all days, especially on

        New Year’s Day, January 1
        Inauguration Day, January 20
        Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, third Monday in January
        Lincoln’s Birthday, February 12
        Washington’s Birthday, third Monday in February
        Easter Sunday (variable)
        Mother’s Day, second Sunday in May
        Armed Forces Day, third Saturday in May
        Memorial Day (half-staff until noon), the last Monday in May
        Flag Day, June 14
        Father’s Day, third Sunday in June
        Independence Day, July 4
        Labor Day, first Monday in September
        Constitution Day, September 17
        Columbus Day, second Monday in October
        Navy Day, October 27
        Veterans Day, November 11
        Thanksgiving Day, fourth Thursday in November
        Christmas Day, December 25
        and such other days as may be proclaimed by the President of the United States
        the birthdays of States (date of admission)
        and on State holidays.

  • It should be displayed at every public institution and in or near every polling place on election days, and at schoolhouses during school days.
     
  • In a procession the flag is to the right of another flag or, if in a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line.
     
  • The flag should not be displayed on a float except from a staff, nor draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle.
     
  • When the flag is displayed on a vehicle, the staff should be fixed firmly to the chassis.
     
  • No other flag should be placed above the flag of the United States or, if on the same level, to its right.
     
  • The United Nations flag may not be displayed above or in a position of superior prominence to the United States flag except at United Nations Headquarters.
     
  • The flag displayed with another 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 other staff.
     
  • It should be at the center and the highest point when displayed with a group of state flags.
     
  • When flags of states, cities, etc., are flown on the same halyard, the United States flag should be at the peak.
     
  • When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height, and the flag of the United States should be hoisted first and lowered last.
     
  • When displayed from a staff projecting from a building, the union [upper inner corner] should be at the peak of the staff.
     
  • When it is displayed otherwise than by being flown from a staff, it should be displayed flat, whether indoors or out; or so suspended that its folds fall as freely as though the flag were staffed.
     
  • When displayed over a 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.
     
  • On a platform, it should be above and behind the speaker, with the union uppermost and to the observer’s left.
     
  • When displayed from a staff in a church or auditorium, the flag should occupy the position of honor and be placed at the speaker’s right as he faces the audience.
     
  • When flown at half-staff, the flag should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to half-staff position. It should again be raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day. Half-staff is one-half the distance between the top and bottom of the staff. The flag must be flown at half-staff on all buildings on the death of any officer listed below, for the period indicated:
    • For the President or a former President: 30 days from the date of death.
    • For the Vice President, the Chief Justice or a retired Chief Justice of the United States, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives: 10 days from the day of death.
    • For an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, a member of the Cabinet, a former Vice President, the President pro tempore of the Senate, the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives: From the day of death until interment.
    • For a United States Senator, Representative, Delegate, or the Resident Commissioner from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico: the flag should be flown in the metropolitan area of the District of Columbia, on the day of death and on the following day; in the state, congressional district, territory, or commonwealth of such Senator, Representative, Delegate, or Commissioner, from the day of death until interment.
    • For a Governor: Within the state, territory, or possession, from the day of death until interment.
  • When the flag is used to cover a casket, the union should be at the head and over the left shoulder.

How Not to Display the Flag

  • The flag should not be dipped to any person or thing.
     
  • It should never be displayed with the union down, save as a signal of dire distress.
     
  • It should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
     
  • It should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
     
  • It should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored so that it might be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
     
  • It should never be used as covering for a ceiling.
     
  • It should never have anything placed on it.
     
  • The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose, nor embroidered on cushions or handkerchiefs, printed on paper napkins or boxes, nor used as any portion of a costume.
     
  • When the flag is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem, it should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.

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I thought if flags are left

I thought if flags are left up at night they are supposed to be lit. A Veterans monument in WI has the flags of the US Army, Navy, Air Force along with American Flag, but no lights on them at night. Is this correct?

Hi, Jane: It's incorrect, but

Hi, Jane: It's incorrect, but when we see something like this, we tend to go with the "it's the thought that counts" line of critique and infer, rightly or wrongly, that the infraction comes from lack of knowledge (and/or lighting funds) and not disrespect. After all, Badgers have always been a patriotic bunch.

2 service people complained

2 service people complained that our flag hanging on an angled pole off of our porch did not have a spotlight on it at night...of course, I did a Google search for this protocol and what I found is that the flag "must have sufficient enough lighting" at night so that "a casual passerby can tell it is the American flag." So, in our case, the porch light casts enough light (as do the street lights) so anyone driving or walking by can clearly tell its Old Glory.

We did a flag ceremony at Cub

We did a flag ceremony at Cub Scouts recently and I was wondering. If a flag is at half mass and it rains does the flag still have to come in or do you leave it out for half mass remembrance.

Here's a (two-fingered)

Here's a (two-fingered) salute to you, Pack 140! Thanks for checkin' in. We were in Den 3, Pack 254, back in the day, but there were only about 15 stars on the flag then, wethinks. Yes, a flag at half-mast does have to come in during inclement weather. But did you know that this isn't always necessarily true? The reason the U.S. flag needs to come in during bad weather is not so that it doesn't get wet -- it's so that it doesn't get damaged. So if you have a rugged, weather-resistant flag, it's OK to fly it in the rain (but be prepared to answer questions!). Incidentally, the reason the flag needs to be lit at night has nothing to do with night and day and the clock, but rather with darkness. Thus, if it gets really dark and black outside during a storm, you need to light up your weather-resistant flag. There! We've done our best to do our duty to Pack 140 and our country, and to help other people (if you know what we mean ;) ).

Hlaf Mast, half of the height

Hlaf Mast, half of the height of the mast - has nothing to do with a Catholic Mass, btw, nothing at all.

Question: I work remote and

Question: I work remote and our facility has one flag pole with Old Glory up top and the State flag below. When the State requests everyone to fly half staff, is it appropriate to bring them both to half staff? I have no good way to separate the two. Which is the 'least incorrect' ? Both all the way up even though the State wishes to be half staff... or Both at half staff?

All flags should be flown in

All flags should be flown in the correct order and all half-staff. (You may have to fly a little higher than half-staff if you have 3 flags and a shorter pole.

In this case only, as they

In this case only, as they are both on the same mast, yes, they both come to half mast, but that will make the Stae flag quite low on the pole! However, IF you could lower the US flag separetly , DO SO, Never lower a STae flag to half mast on purpose or reason, this not allowed. The Stae Gove may only decree a half mast of the US FLAG ONLY, not the State flag (by itself).

That said, in no case, on the same mast, shall any flag be higher than the US flag. If the state flag was on it's own mast, it can stay higher than the Half-mast US flag when HAlf mast is requested by the Gov or Pres.

? I have been informed by a

? I have been informed by a retired LTC that the American flag and the state flag when being flown on two seperate poles in front of a public school, the state flag is suppose to be flown 12" below the American flag. I have never heard this before and I would sure loke to know if I have been wrong for so many years.

When the U.S. flag is flown

When the U.S. flag is flown with flags of states on separate flag poles which are of the same height and in a straight line, the flag of the United States is always placed in the position of honor, which is to its own right. No other flag ever should be placed above the U.S. flag. The state flag may be smaller but never larger. The flag of the United States is always the first flag raised and the last to be lowered.

If The Colors are cased is

If The Colors are cased is there a need to Salute. What regulation covers cased Colors?

My thought is if the flags

My thought is if the flags are cased (and I assume you mean in a protective cover with the staff), then the flag is treated with reverence, but not saluted since it is not visible.

I have a Marine Corps flag

I have a Marine Corps flag and I want to put it post it outside my house. What's the rules for that?

The ONLY flag? Then use

The ONLY flag? Then use whatever rules the Corps says for it.

hey is the flag ok to be

hey is the flag ok to be outside in storms?

The only time u can fly the

The only time u can fly the flag in bad weather is if it is an all weather flag, otherwise u must take it down

One NEVER flies the national

One NEVER flies the national flag in inclement weather (rain, snow, sleet, hail). It is not "OK" to do so. An 'all weather' flag means the materials it is constructed from (fade resistant, wind-related).

This information is incorrect

This information is incorrect as having previous personal experience of being in charge of determining the raising, lowering and type of flag to be posted on a military instillation I can tell you that during inclement weather an all weather flag is the only type of flag that can be flown. If you do not own this type of flag then yes you would take it down to prevent damage. There not a need to remove an all weather flag from display during rain or such. however there are some additional things that you must be aware of if you take it down at night. These include having a place that the flag can hang in the proper manner within your house or office in which it can dry to prevent mold and mildew from building up on the flag before being folded. However as long as you make sure that the flag is not damaged it is in no way disrespectful to have the American flag fly during a storm. I also advise to use common sense in certain cases for instance if you live in an area that is prone to hurricanes and this is the type of storm you are questioning then bring the flag inside for this is one case in which you cannot guarantee the safety of the flag. I hope that this helps shine some light on the subject.

When the colors were posted

When the colors were posted yesterday at the Bataan March out at WSMR, the U.S. Flag was properly placed. My question: Is it acceptable that the New Mexico flag was near twice the size of the U.S. Flag? It sure didn't look proper.

Entirley improper to US FLag

Entirley improper to US FLag code, yes. Not enforceable, but certainly improper.

The guidelines say the flag

The guidelines say the flag can not be worn? The Military, Police Officers, wear the American Flag on uniforms etc. Is this acceptable by the guidelines?

A patch of a flag is not a

A patch of a flag is not a flag. The situation that brings this question out is that a flag in itself cannot be used as clothing. That means that you cannot take a flag, cut it up, make a shirt and wear it. It does not prohibit wearing a flag patch on a uniform.

what is the answer to Mike

what is the answer to Mike Krites question? I have noticed on several TV shows about law enforcement that they do not wear a patch of the American flag - why is that? Also I noticed my local law enforcement does not wear the US flag patch.

No, a whole flag may never be

No, a whole flag may never be worn AS a garment. A complete whole flag emblem IS allowed on uniforms, and is to be placed on the unifrom to look as if it is its own living thing and look as if it is being flown properly. It can be placed horizintal (common) or vertical (rare).

I live in Texas and I noticed

I live in Texas and I noticed a business in the area that had the American Flag & the Mexican flag flying at the same height, on different flag poles, is it against the flag code to do so? The same business also had a Texas flag flying but lower than the Mexican flag, it just does not seem like this would be the correct positioning. Any clarification on these two situations would be greatly appreciated.

According to the Chicago

According to the Chicago regional office of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, "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."

Thank you for the

Thank you for the clarification. Is it acceptable for the Texas flag to be flown lower than the Mexican flag? They have the US, Mexican & Texas flag displayed with the US & Mexican at the same height but the Texas flag is lower.

The flags should be flown

The flags should be flown from separate poles, at the same height, but the U.S. flag is to be raised first and lowered last.

According to the Flag Code,

According to the Flag Code, when displaying the US flag with any other flag on separate staffs the US flag should be flown as the first on the left side of anyone viewing the flags. Flags of other countries should always be flown at the same height b ut always to the right of the US flag as viewed by an observer

I was told by a US Air Force

I was told by a US Air Force Sgt, that there is one day in the year that the American Flag should not be flown. Can you tell me what day of the year that would be?

According to The American

According to The American Flag Foundation, the American flag should be displayed every day, but especially on holidays, including state holidays and during local celebrations.

Ok your saying that I can fly

Ok your saying that I can fly my island flag next to the American flag as long it is properly locate it side by side
I though if your in thus country no flag should fly next to the American flag but underneath please advise
Now my island flag flys underneath

According to the Chicago

According to the Chicago regional office of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, "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."

I fly a USA and USMC flag on

I fly a USA and USMC flag on separate poles which are not height adjustable. When flags are flown half mast, which is not doable with my poles, do I not fly them?

Thanks

If you cannot fly a flag at

If you cannot fly a flag at half mast you should hang a black ribbon or banner on it.

Flags are lowered to "half

Flags are lowered to "half mast" on a ship. It is flown at "half staff " when on a pole.

t "see half-mast."

t "see half-mast." Definitions for half-mast from those 2 sources:
" The position about halfway up a mast or pole at which a flag is flown as a symbol of mourning for the dead or as a signal of distress. Also called half-staff." The marine thing is false...

Has he U.S. ever lowered the

Has he U.S. ever lowered the American Flag to half staff over the white house for the death of another country's leader before Mandella?

Yes. The last time the flag

Yes. The last time the flag was at half-staff for a Non-American was in 2005 for the death of the Pope.

i love the usa and support

i love the usa and support our flag every day.

Are there guidelines on when

Are there guidelines on when flying a flag at half mast is *TOO LONG*?

For example, the death of a civilian, family lowers flag to half mast and intend to keep it that way forever.

They have even duck taped the pole to prevent anyone from raising it or lowering it.

I do not think this is healthy or respectful

The Flag should only be flown

The Flag should only be flown at half-mast at the directive of the President, Governor, Mayor, etc. In other words, it is improper to fly the Flag at half-mast if it is not directed at the general population.

There are other fitting tributes to honor someone else, but they should not dishonor the Flag while trying to honor someone else.

Only the President or the

Only the President or the Governor can authorize a US Flag at half staff, that's it nobody else, including Mayors etc.

Yes, very spcific guidelines

Yes, very spcific guidelines in the code! US Pres 30 days after death. Others, less time.

"For example, the death of a civilian, family lowers flag to half mast and intend to keep it that way forever.

They have even duck taped the pole to prevent anyone from raising it or lowering it.

I do not think this is healthy or respectful"

Correct, improper, and unhealthy.

The person who flew this flag

The person who flew this flag has replaced it with the correct Flag.

When the honor guard is

When the honor guard is entering the room at a funeral with the American flag, organization banner and two riffles. The American flag enters first then the riffles and banner to be posted, correct? The riffles don't come first then the American flag. Can you please let me know and also where to find the information. Thank you Wendy

"Correct?" is correct.

"Correct?" is correct.

I think to pay respect to

I think to pay respect to our flag we need these guideline . . . and who knows when a mistake happens and ruin everything . . . for picture frames u may visit . . . http://www.almanac.com/content...

This are great guidelines. We

This are great guidelines. We should learn to respect our flag as it represent our country's pride and liberty. Patriotism is not purely passion, it is a social responsibility.

I have a question about

I have a question about displaying the flag in a war zone on my compound that I am at in Afghanistan. I raised the flag today in a small ceremony for the first flag displayed at our compound, we can not put a light out at night to illuminate it at night because of air traffic around, and we all have a difficult time about displaying it at night with out disrespecting the colors. Is there a rule or some kind of guidance that you can help us with. We also do not want to take it down and put it up every day do to the missions that are all over, please give some guidance...SSG Bain out..

you are in a combat zone, so

you are in a combat zone, so it is appropriate to fly the flag 24/7 unless command orders otherwise.

There is usually enough ambient light in an active compound to see the flag. Since the flag is visible you do not need a special light.

also common sense dictates you do not want to make an easy target, so no light please.

hope this helps.

There is a place in my home

There is a place in my home town who has the American Flag out in front of their business and attached to the back of our glorious flag is the Mexican flag. I was wondering if that is even legal. It is extremely irritating to me and I personally find it very disrespectful. So I would like to know if it is illegal. Thanks

I am not sure why I felt

I am not sure why I felt compelled to do this but when my husband put up my flag pole as I have been asking for many years now he asked me which way to place the pully and I just said to the North of course. I don't know that this is proper etiquitte and it's too late now that it's cemented in place but is this proper? I did make sure he placed it to the left of our main entrance and that there is a street light illuminating it until I can get the spot light I need to illuminate it properly and so that I can fly it 24/7 as I have a great deal of pride in my country and I do not believe I should have to take it down and put it up every single day. Another question I have is on Memorial Day when it is to be flown at half mast but it is already flying do I then lower it and briskly raise it to the peak then to half mast or do I just lower it to half mast? Thank you.

Kathy, you are correct

Kathy,

you are correct about hoisting the flag on Memorial Day, however, it is not termed 'half mast', but 'half staff' as a mast is on a ship. A Staff is a land based flagpole.

Half-staff in the code, half

Half-staff in the code, half mast on ships, yep. UNLESS the US FLag is not on a mast, then it is on a staff.

We have an Irish Pub and want

We have an Irish Pub and want to have Irish flags along the outside of the building to draw attention. Is it disrespectful to hang only the Irish flags as they will be up very high and we will not be able to take down at night or provide lighting for the American flag?

You arent direspecting the US

You arent direspecting the US FALg if you are only diplaying other flags. But IF you post an American Flag, follow the code. Light it up!

I wish you would put a way to

I wish you would put a way to share this article on Facebook. I cant copy and paste this from my phone.

sharing flag tips on facebook

Hi Karen, Many thanks for writing. There is a Facebook button at the top of this article (and all our articles). Please let us know if this is not working for you! Thanks, the OFA editors

I live in a manufactured home

I live in a manufactured home development. We plan to display the American Flag on the properties of our street during holiday periods. The flags are 12"x18" and attached to a 32" pole which will be put into ground so as the flag does not touch the ground. Is it proper to leave these flags overnight without lighting? We were hoping to leave the flags flown for the entire week of the holiday.

Thanks for your help

Bill

The flag should be raised

The flag should be raised briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously. Ordinarily it should be displayed only between sunrise and sunset. It should be illuminated if displayed at night.

Do we have to.lower our flags

Do we have to.lower our flags for someone that had not served the country?

The president will proclaim

The president will proclaim when the flag needs to be at half staff. Here is a link to where you can find those.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/brie...

I have had the honors of

I have had the honors of being ask to lead the Pledge od Alegence to our montthly meetings of the residents. We have a new President of the Residents Association. I Have been movimng the flag to the right and in front of the podiam for each meeting. Shortly after the meeting came to order I lead the group in the Pledge of Alegence and a Lady Lead the group in the National Antham. The flag was moved to the back of the podiam. Is this proper?

It is not improper, but

It is not improper, but unnecessary. Honors to the flag can be rendered in any proper position it is placed.

The flag, if on its own

The flag, if on its own stand, should stay to the right of the podium throughout all proceedings. No one should be moving the flag, unless they come into the room holding in a waste holster.

We live in an older home 1760

We live in an older home 1760 and we fly the Grand Union flag. I would like to add the Betsy Ross Flag to the pole which flag should be flown the highest? I would like to fly both flags but do want to do it according to flag etiquette.

I just purchased a home, I

I just purchased a home, I served in the AF for 4 years and Army for 6. I hang an all weather flag and placed it on the left (facing my house, far right looking out of the house) I am not really sure about the height of the inclined pole from the floor. Is it supposed to be half height of the house. If you know please let me know. I want to make sure I an displaying it accordingly and respectfully. Thank you

The pole should not be on any

The pole should not be on any incline, it should be plumb. Height compared to any structure is not an issue and is not in the code as being an issue. As high as your local authorities will allow (for safety).

I was a Marine who served in

I was a Marine who served in Iraq. I have a flag that flew outside my post while I was there, she has several bullet holes in her but I hold on to it because of the memories. Would I be able to display my flag on a wall in the living room or would that be considered disrespectful? If anybody can provide an answer please help. My email is: hardcore0331@aol.com
Semper Fi

Thank you for your service

Thank you for your service Marine,
I have a Flag given to me by my grandfather that has 48 stars. I wanted it preserved and displayed in my "man cave" along with all my other memorabilia of my days in S.E. Asia and other military "stuff". What I discovered is, a flag that has sentimental and historical value can be displayed following the rules of etiquette of a new flag....
...By doing so, you also show honor to those that served under that particular flag.
My answer to your question: It is not disrespectful if done with pride. So, carry on Marine, Semper Fi.

Sir, may I suggest that you

Sir, may I suggest that you place the flag in a tri cornered display case, after folding it. These cases are not only used for display of flags used at funerals but can be used to honorably display a flag that has sentimental value. Thank you for your service.

I am now somewhat concerned

I am now somewhat concerned that I may have done something wrong. My bathroom is decorated with Americana style decor, there are flag craft items, signs reading God bless America, flag wallpaper border, etc. Guests have consistently spoke of the decor in there, sometimes saying they felt like saluting in there. It is decorated in this style out of love and respect for our country. I often find new American items to put in there, and do so. Is this wrong?

If it's done with respect,

If it's done with respect, it's fine. If it makes your friends want to salute, it sounds like you've done a respectful job. Stars and stripes toilet paper, on the other hand... Now, that would be another story.

My sister brought something

My sister brought something to my attention. In the "holiday" section of when Old Glory should be displayed, it mentions Mother's Day, but not Father's Day. I am hoping this is a typo and not a sub to the men of this country.

Susan, Thanks for bringing

Susan, Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I don't think we have updated the U.S. Flag Guide since it was printed in the Almanac. For now, we have updated the holiday list. We'll review it all soon. Thanks, again!

We have all these specific

We have all these specific guidelines, yet we allow people to burn it

The ability to burn the flag

The ability to burn the flag (as a protest) is the Free Speech right you have as a citizen of this country. It's odd and doesn't sit well with some of our populace but, it is a right to free speech.

Please know when a flag becomes tattered/frayed/discolored and so forth it should no longer be displayed/flown. The correct term is 'to retire the flag' NOT 'burn it'. Boy Scout troops in your area will be glad to perform the ceremony (it's actually quite moving).

The "ability" to burn the

The "ability" to burn the Flag of the United States in protest is BOGUS. This IS NOT FREE SPEECH!-It is desecrating the Flag that symbolizes our freedom.
Try this---lay our flag down on the ground in front of a Marine. set it on fire--see how fast you get a FREE ride to the promised land.
(The only way our Country's Flag is to be burned is with due ceremony of retirement)

The ability to burn our flag

The ability to burn our flag in protest may be bogus to you, (and I hate the fact that our flags can be burned) but how can we say we are a free country if we are not allowed to burn our symbol of freedom in protest. Do i want our flags burnt........no..........but its our right........and when they start taking our rights away they won't just stop at one. JMHO

The first amendment includes

The first amendment includes "symbolic speech". Flag burning is a form of symbolic speech, like it or not, and has been upheld by the US Supreme Court with ruling like Texas vs Johnson (491 U.S. 397) in 1989 & US vs Eichman (496 U.S. 310) in 1990. This is also why the Flag Desecration Amendment has yet to pass in the Senate. I agree with you that it is very offensive & I personally believe there are more appropriate methods to make a point; it is a person's unalienable right to show their ignorance and disrespect. As far as your Marine situation, I would hope he/she would not respond with violence. 9 out of 10 times that just feeds the protester's point (right or wrong). I would like to think that instead, they would stand proudly while reminding the protester, the ONLY reason the flag can be burned as symbolic speech is because of their service/sacrifice to protect the people's rights and keep our government a democracy.

Pretty much all incorrect.

Pretty much all incorrect.

Many BSA troops are no longer

Many BSA troops are no longer accepting flags for retirement as they are overloaded with nylon all-weather flags that can not be retired via fire. When checking with the troop if they will accept the flag, please let them know if it is nylon. As a Scoutmaster, I have over 50 flags that we have retired with a ceremony, but have not been able to physically retire as the fumes released by the nylon during burning are toxic.

Retiring nylon flags -

Retiring nylon flags - interesting. Funeral homes (some) offering cremation services will retire the flag (once it has been separated as prescribed in the protocols/regulations). Ask around.

I'm not sure where you're

I'm not sure where you're getting your information,
but good topic. I needs to spend some tim learning much more
or understanding more. Thanks for grea information I was
looking for this info for my mission.

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In addition to exercising

In addition to exercising proper flag etiquette, people should also make sure to buy flags that are actually 100% manufactured in THE UNITED STATES.

Please know the glut of Made

Please know the glut of Made In China flags has ended. Our Congress has created and passed a law that all national flags be Made In USA.

I was at a college

I was at a college commencement ceremony today. While the audience was seated and as the service began, the U.S. Flag was carried down an aisle and taken to the stage then placed in its stand. This was a time that no music was being played. The audience was not asked to 'stand'. Does flag protocol call for people to stand when the flag is carried into an auditorium?

Yes you DO stand for the

Yes you DO stand for the national flag. People will follow your lead - next time STAND UP, face the flag as it enters, turn as it passes by.

The commentator wasn't aware of the request to stand else it would have been given.

Anytime the Flag is in an

Anytime the Flag is in an auditorium or stadium and is hoisted by the person carrying the flag, you should stand and stay standing until the Flag is either positioned in a stand or until the person carrying it lowers the staff back to the ground.

Not in the flag code, sorry/

Not in the flag code, sorry/

God bless our flag and may

God bless our flag and may she fly until the end of time.

I thought we were always

I thought we were always supposed to keep the flag up, even in wet weather

I have one 16ft flag pole

I have one 16ft flag pole flying the american flag and was looking to get a second one to fly the pow-mia flag. Can i have 2 flag poles and is there a specile they should be placed or can i only have 1 or 3. Please answer thanks so much!!! :)

Two adjacent flagpoles are

Two adjacent flagpoles are fine. Or, you can fly both flags on one pole. For one pole: the U.S. flag should be on top and the POW/MIA flag directly below it.

For two poles: the U.S. flag should be displayed on the pole to the flag's own right (Note: The "flag's own right" is usually the observer's left, as s/he is looking at the flag from the most frequently viewed angle, such as a view from the street. So, for example, two flag poles located in the front yard of a house, as viewed from the street, would have the U.S. flag on the left pole and the POW/MIA flag on the right pole.) The POW/MIA flag, on the other pole, should not be higher than the U.S. flag.

In either case, the POW/MIA flag should be no larger than the U.S. flag.

Ummm. its just a piece of

Ummm. its just a piece of cloth. i mean i understand what it stands for and i respect it but the stupid traditions are just a waste of time. i dont think is disrespectful if it gets a little tear or somthin. it actually makes it look cooler that way haha

Know what HONOR is,

Know what HONOR is, apparently not!!

While the flag is cloth, it

While the flag is cloth, it is the representation of what it stands for that commands the respect it should be given (which is your right to do so or not - free speech). Traditions are not stupid but a means to remember/honor as well as to instill values, customs, beliefs and so on.

How lucky for you to live in this country and be able to think and express the thoughts you hold.

While it may be 'cloth' to you, the flag is a representation of the beliefs this nation holds dear as well as the trying times it endured successfully; think! whenever there were horrible moments in our history, someone somewhere raised the flag because it represents our nation - the line from the anthem "the flag was still there" means we will endure...think 9/11: the flag was still there; think any devastating force of nature: the flag was still there; think Boston Marathon: the flag was still there.

Paul Gangi - I hope you're just baiting people to respond.

Ah, so you are an

Ah, so you are an idiot..............Get out of the USA and try living where your type of humor will be appreciated. You are the "stupid" one!

IF you respect it as you say

IF you respect it as you say then you would understand. True Americans & those who have fought for OUR freedom would disagree with you without hesitation. The next time you think of a ripped flag looks "cool", think of the mother clutching the folded flag at her son or daughter's grave & then think AGAIN!!!

I saw a picture of a parade.

I saw a picture of a parade. All the folks were sitting in their chairs while Our Flag was passing. Except for one wheelchaired man who stood up to salute it's passing. WTF is wrong with this picture?

It was interesting reading

It was interesting reading these comments. It is very clear that this is a very emotional topic. Flags were designed to tell groups of people apart. It gives a visual clue as to where "their" people are.

I do find the current flag worship/obsession to be cause for worry as they people have taken a normal behaviour and carried it to dangerous extremes. Of course we are going to treat our flag with respect - it represents our "group" and we are respectable people. And because it is a representation of our group; the group should control who gets to use the flag.

Where the trouble comes in is when people say they would die for the flag. I am willing to die to defend this country, but the flag? No, the flag is just a symbol. Another problem is when the worshipers/obsessed become abusive towards people who do not feel the same as they do or violate some flag rule.

I hope we can all keep this in perspective. The flag represents the USA and it represents citizens of the USA. It does need to be treated with respect, but not worshiped.

When they say, "I will die

When they say, "I will die for the flag"--most probably--they are using a synecdoche wherein the use of the word 'flag' represents all that we know it symbolizes, such as freedom and the nation, etc.

You just made my day! Have

You just made my day! Have never seen anyone write synecdoche outside of academic setting - thanks for nabbing the opportunity brilliantly!

It symbolizes New York and

It symbolizes New York and all it stands for!

In war, it use to be an honor

In war, it use to be an honor to drop your weapon and recover the "colors" from a fallen comrade and carry it forth to battle.

An earlier comment stated

An earlier comment stated that these guidelines were suggestions, not laws.
Well there are laws relating to the displaying of the American Flag.
See the Congressional Research, Service of the Library of Congress, report by James Hall, Legislative Attorney, American Law Division.
I is very explicit and is too long to repeat here ...But I will repeat one short paragraph.
"All the states, at one time or other, have enacted laws relating to the United States flag. Whereas the Federal Flag Code does not provide penalties for certian conduct or may may not govern certain practices, state law may do so. Therefore, it is advisable to consider applicable provisions of state law, as well as federal law on questions of proper use of the flag."
So in most cases the Flag Code is a guide and is purely voluntary to insure proper respect for the flag.
There also is a section of the flag code that addresses the use of the flag in jewelry, commercial products, wearing apparel, and advertising.
Ask at your Congress person's office for a copy of flag displaying guidelines.
They have lots of information they can send to you.
Now would be a good time as they will want to keep you happy.

True, but State Flag Law has

True, but State Flag Law has absoulelty no affect on US Flag Code, nor on the US Flag usage. States may not pass laws supersceding Federal Code.

I will often proudly wear a

I will often proudly wear a hat or tee shirt with the American flag prominent. I don't mean it as disrespect, but as a declaration of my pride. I don't think the Founding Fathers would disapprove of that, considering the sentiment being expressed, and the evolution of our societal ways. While I certainly appreciate and respect tradition, I think the "guidelines" should be flexible in consideration of the intent of the display of "Old Glory". I'm sure the Founding Fathers, or "rule" makers never could have anticipated the many ways Americans would eventually choose to express their love and reverence for our American flag. As a proud veteran of The Vietnam Era, I love wearing the colors and do so whenever and wherever.
Also, the above "rules" neglected to say that when hung vertically, the Union should be on the upper left, as seen by the viewer.
God bless America! Love it or leave it!

I agree with you that the

I agree with you that the founders of this country would not take issue with flags being on hats and clothing as some, non military, had sewn mini flags on their "uniforms".

My father was in the US Air

My father was in the US Air Force for 22 years and flew for various units of the 6315th Special Operations Group. I was around for 16 of those years before he retired and a year later, I joined the military proudly serving during the Vietnam era and was in-country a couple of times for short periods of time.
All of my life i was told that if the US Flag was to be worn anywhere on an article of clothing, it was to be worn on the left shoulder above any military rank or insignia to signify that I am an American first, US military personnel second.
The stars on the US Flag are to be closest to the heart to show my admiration, love, respect, and protection of the states represented by the stars should the need to protect the states should arise.
I see so many US Military personnel (Officers, NCO's, and Enlisted personnel) walking around today with the US Flag on their right shoulders with the stars close to their backs that I want to dress them down and tell them that if they don't get that flag on their shoulders squared away, I will see to it they are reassigned to Fort Wainwright, Alaska where they will spend the rest of their military career shoveling snow off the sidewalks of the NCO family housing.
As for non-military personnel wearing the US Flag on their clothing, I see this a lot, especially on the BASS circuit, but they are at least wearing them properly and respectfully, honoring all of our past and present US military personnel.

current military uniform regs

current military uniform regs have the flag on both shoulders of BDU.the star field is to the front of the uniform,not towards heart or whatever.I liked it the old way too. -former USAF staff Sgt.

The above rules certainly do

The above rules certainly do specifially adress vertical hangs, and wearing A FLAG as a garment or garment material is prohibited, not merely displaying the image of the WHOLE FLAG as an emblem, that is acceptable.

The United States Flag may be

The United States Flag may be flown in any weather as long as a weather resistant flag is flown, as well as at night if it is lighted. This is in the flag code as well. :)

If you do not honor GOD then

If you do not honor GOD then how can you honor our country? Our constitution is based on God and His precepts. America will fall if people continue to disregard Him. Our flag is a symbol of our faith.Do not dishonor it!

The best way to honor God and

The best way to honor God and Country is to be a good person.
You can be a good person or a bad person whether you claim to be a Christian or not.
The important thing is to respect people of all faiths and orientations.
After all, most of our founding fathers weren't Christians, they were Deists. They understood the critical importance of separation of Church and State. Too bad so many Americans are determined to undermine this critically important pillar of our Democracy.

With all due respect to your

With all due respect to your personal beliefs, you are very seriously mistaken here. According to the First Amendment of the Constitution, Congress shall make no law with regard to religion. The flag is purely a national symbol and has no relationship to your god or your religion whatsoever. The American flag is not a symbol of anything except the United States of America. Faith has nothing to do with it. To place your particular religious beliefs above others in this way is, in my opinion, extremely UN-patriotic and totally UN-American. If you believe in American freedom, that must include the freedom to choose ANY religion or NO religion at all!

As befits Old Glory with

As befits Old Glory with Memorial Day near, I'd ask everyone to listen to or read the lyrics to "Ragged Old Flag" by Johnny Cash.

It is not a long song, but in his own country manner, I think Johnny says a lot in a few words. His song ends with these words:

"So we raise her up every morning, we take her down every night
We don't let her touch the ground and we fold her up right
On second thought, I do like to brag
Cause I'm mighty proud of the Ragged Old Flag"

Through his words, Johnny Cash touches the hearts of every American who has sworn to protect her and every American who has suffered or lost a loved one in her defense. Please have a happy holiday, but do not forget what Memorial Day is really about. Fly your Flag proudly, watch your local parade, thank a veteran or military member you know, and go to your local cemetary and care for the grave of a veteran whose family can't. You will feel the pride of being an American just as Johnny did every time he sang this song. You might just feel your heart skip a beat and find a tiny tear well up in your eyes. There are people behind our America who deserve this one small thought from those of us lucky enough to call ourselves American!

As has been pointed out,

As has been pointed out, these are guidelines, not laws. It is unfortunate that some manufacturers print images of the American flag on all sorts of products, including items (e.g. paper napkins) destined for the kind of use to which our flag should never be subjected (e.g. wiping one's mouth and throwing in the trash).

It is equally unfortunate that citizens purchase these items. If more people were cognizant of the flag code and exercised common sense, perhaps the manufacturers would not sell so many of these products and would have to find another way to make money from patriotism.

Babs Clark really hit the nail on the head. The founders were keenly aware of the bloody religious civil wars which had recently wreaked so much havoc and destruction in Europe and they were determined that religion would be a matter of personal conscience, not government mandate. We must be vigilant to not allow historical revisionists to recreate our nation's history according to their prejudices and preferences.

And we should be equally vigilant about non-fact-based criticisms of our leaders. We might not always agree with them, but we shouldn't just make stuff up. "Free speech" is a poor excuse for slander.

To truly be a flag of the

To truly be a flag of the USA, size, colors and dimension ratio specifications must be met. Just because an item has stars and stripes in red, white and blue does not make it an American flag. Items not meeting the criteria are merely patriotic decorations not subject to the regulations. My choice is to decline to use those items but knowing that they are not really flags helps to ease the sting of seeing others choose to display them in ways that would disrespect a flag.

The US Flag Code is not

The US Flag Code is not regulations nor law, and are not cuurrenty=ly enforcable. Individual State Flag Codes, that is an entirely different matter (when speaking of the repsective STATE flag, and STATE flags only)

IOW< States may not make laws regarding the US flag, no matter what.

I have a question...the flag

I have a question...the flag one receives for a fallen soldier or a deceased soldier---does that flag need to stay folded and in its case or can it be flown? what is proper?

I believe it is a personal

I believe it is a personal choice but I was raised to beleive that once folded it is to stay folded and if there are empty shell casings inside the folded flag they are to remain there.

That depsnds on how bad it

That depsnds on how bad it smells! Folded or not, you need to take care of the flag!

In Memorial Day, the American

In Memorial Day, the American Legion takes our solder's flags to the cemetery to fly in a place of honor. That is the only time they are flown.

I think it depends on the

I think it depends on the family. My family allowed my grandfather's flag to be flown at the local school for many years until it was ultimately retired. My other grandfather's flag is still folded in a case. Personally, I think the choice is about how best to store/use the flag to respect the individual who died and the flag itself.

When considering these rules,

When considering these rules, remember these pertinent facts:

1. These rules were made by joint resolution of Congress in time of war. They were never made into law. Consider them as guidelines, and consider them well.

2. The rules all echo the underlying requirement for freedom (free movement) in the symbolism of the treatment of the flag. TSA, Homeland Security and other police-state agencies should be especially mindful of the freedom underlying the symbolism of the flag.

3. Boycott all products which disrespectfully depict the flag of the USA, especially those manufactured in enemy countries. This small step helps your country in more than a symbolic way.

This all certainly makes for

This all certainly makes for interesting reading! I, too, wish more people were aware of proper flag etiquette and that more flags were displayed at home for our national holidays. This is a good beginning, though.

As to the image of the flag now appearing on everything from paper cups to diapers and every imaginable object in between..... well, remember that we live in a republic which guarantees freedom of speech and, in one sense, you could (albeit loosely!) interpret such uses as examples of the same. Properly speaking, the image of the flag shouldn't be used like this, but then how to account for American flags being depicted in paintings or photographs?

Just like all else, usage of our flag and flag imagery may change over time just as readily as our society itself changes. But... is it still proper or does it become proper through these changes?

It's all about respect.

It's all about respect.

On the point of what to do

On the point of what to do with an American flag when it is no longer a fitting emblem, please take it to your nearest American Legion Post for the annual ceremony on June the 14th. Also note that burning the American flag is becoming an unacceptable practice (adds to the greenhouse gases that is melting the polar regions and heating up the atmosphere). Probably, Congress should revise their flag's resolution for a more modern day American society. Carried horizontally?; Watch a football game open ceremony. Not used for advertising purposes?; Did you ever see a gal wearing one as a bikini at the beach? Honor the United States of America with a forgiving mind, a loving spirit, and peaceful actions. Then "old gorly" will be the symbol of greatest nation the world has ever known. It is a far better thought that God would bless each and every person on earth than for God to only bless American.

One 'retires' the flag - it

One 'retires' the flag - it is not 'burned'...as for greenhouse gases increasing from this practice: the volcanoes that are spewing cause more harm than the flag retirements.

It says it SHOULD never.

It says it SHOULD never. Theres no law that makes it officail rule. There are always inconsiderate businesses and people who will use our nation symbol as a scummy way to make a couple bucks.

The burning of the US flag is

The burning of the US flag is NOT becoming unnacceptable, the thought that it is becoming unnacaeptable to burn is itself unnaceptable!

The Retiring of the US Flag involves BURNING the flag after CUTTING it properly.

Dont burn All-Weather FLags, made of Nylon, toxic. Clotyh flags are very ok to burn and do NOT contribute to GReenhouse gasses.

Correction on the last entry

Correction on the last entry of the article..."When the flag is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem, it should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferrably by burning." Before you burn our great flag, PLEASE cut the stars section from the stripes. Then you will be burning two pieces of cloth and not our flag.
One other thing of note. I can't remember any other President apologizing to the world for Americans. Please Mr President, don't apologize for me. I'm too proud of my country to ever bow down in humility for being an American.

Right One Sam!

Right One Sam!

There are protocols as to

There are protocols as to retiring a flag. I remember our troop, armed with scissors, would cut the field (stars) first; then another scout patrol would cut the red stripes and place in a container. White stripes were placed in another container. When all flags were done we took them to an undertaker who volunteered to 'cremate' the piles. The ashes of all these flags (more than 100) were placed in an urn and these were ceremoniously placed on hallowed ground (our local cemetery). All Scouts were duly impressed with an increased awareness of respect and honor.

It's my belief our country is

It's my belief our country is primarily about the freedom of thought and religion. Whether we believe in a 'god' or not, it is our choice. One can still have respect for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness without believing in the supremacy of a supreme being. THAT, to me, is what America is -- the ability to

    choose

beliefs.

"One Nation Under 'God'

"One Nation Under 'God'
There are no atheists in a foxhole. But to choose is, yes, a right men and women have died for.

The settlers came here for

The settlers came here for freedom of religion. The section under god was not original. It was later added! I'm not sure what service you served in but the one I do respects all religions and allows their soldiers to practice freely. The Americas were founded on the separation of church and state!

The phrase "separation of

The phrase "separation of church and state" does not appear anywhere in the United States Constitution. In the First Amendment, however, we are given to believe that no law-maker has the right to choose a national religion for us. Also, I believe that it gives people the right NOT to believe in God. The phrase "separation of church and state" was first seen in a letter which Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptist Association on the first day of 1802—which was nearly 13 years AFTER our Constitution was put into effect on the 4th of March, 1789. (and therefore NOT foundational) He was responding to a letter written to him by the aforementioned association. They were concerned that--in the future--some law-maker or other person in power might see fit to make legislation which dictated how/when/where/with what type of religious group or even if Americans MUST worship.
In his response, Thomas Jefferson attempted to reassure this group by saying,
"Believing with you that religion is a
matter which lies solely between man
and his God, that he owes account to
none other for his faith or his
worship, that the legislative powers
of government reach actions only, and
not opinions, I contemplate with
sovereign reverence that act of the
whole American people which declared
that their legislature would "make no
law respecting an establishment of
religion, or prohibiting the free
exercise thereof," thus building a
wall of separation between Church and
State.”
The First Amendment put boundaries on what could be legislated. It did not, however, in any way, shape, or form allow for people to be berated because they believe that--in a basic way--our Nation was formed on Christian values. Is this a Christian nation? Definitely, it is not anymore. But was it formed by men who knew their Bibles well and who believed in an Almighty Creator and who strove to live lives which honored Him? Why, yes. Yes, it was. I believe that a responsible and honest researcher would find it to be true.
One of my problems is that people have put forth this offal in regard to what 'separation of church and state' meant to the founding fathers (and, therefore, what it should mean to us) and have 'equivocated' its meaning into something more palatable to them for SO long that we’re actually starting to believe the lies. It wasn't supposed to mean that we can't pray in public or in school or have a Bible in public or have the words "In God We Trust" on the walls of governmental buildings. And that is what--mostly thanks to the ACLU--we now have as "truth" in our nation--that Christianity is in no way allowed to even hint at touching anything governmental. Malarkey!! Read the papers of the Founding Fathers of our Nation! Read transcripts of the inaugural speeches of every single American President, even our current one. Phrases such as "...that Almighty Being..." and "...His Providence..." and "...that Being in whose Hands we are..." are found in transcripts of speeches from the earliest presidents of our great nation.
Sadly, we've evolved into a nation wherein Christianity is 'persona non grata.’ God and Christianity are shoved—quickly—into the cupboard under the stairs whilst practically every other type of religion is shown the most comfy chair and given the best food and drink available in our home. It makes zero sense to me is why we're not allowed to pray to God or read our bibles in school, but if we want to get down on a prayer rug three times a day and pray to Allah--well, then that is perfectly acceptable and no one will naysay that at all. But they sure will fight vehemently against any show that someone might love and want to serve the God of the Bible. Do you not see the hypocrisy? It is a shame that—in order to make all groups to feel more welcome—we as a nation must subdue that which has been a part of our society since the very beginning. 
And in regard to the actual subject of the thread and not ‘realitycheck’s comment, I’m glad these rules have been posted. I’m often amazed at how many businesses have Old Glory flying at night without the ‘light shining’ on her.

Lolly, Hooray for you!!! I

Lolly,
Hooray for you!!! I could not have said this any better than you did! I agree with you 1000%--on every single point!
Gary

Speration of Church and State

Speration of Church and State wasnt designed to keep governmant out of religion, as all churches and religions must follow the law of the land, but to keep religion from influencing government.

Learn from Italy's mistakes.

So many get that backwards!

No nation under god. "one

No nation under god. "one nation under god" was not added to the Pledge of allegiance, until 1954, in response to the "godless" communists.

As an aside, Americans are not required to state the pledge of allegiance. That's American.

Take your god, and do what you please, do not force your god on others. The establishment clause provides for freedom of religion, and freedom from religion, for all.

Hey this person actually read

Hey this person actually read the constitution and bill of rights. Thank you.

Honer in this country is

Honer in this country is being let down '
Men have died to keep USA a GOD fearing nation ' Honer and Pride must be restored'''
our flag is a simble of GOD with the USA

Men and women died for our

Men and women died for our rights as Americans. NOT to keep us a "god fearing nation", as you put it. No where in the US Constitution does it state, that we should fear god, that's your issue.

The American flag is the symbol of our nation's strength and unity. Not our religious beliefs.

Well it seems like nobody,

Well it seems like nobody, even the president, follows the Constitution these days so what ever. I wish Ron paul was still in the race, he is the only candidate who planned on following the Constitution.

Honor and pride have been let

Honor and pride have been let down by people we elected to serve this great country. GOD and the American flag are not protected by those we put in charge to do so [no GOD, no pride or honor in USA].
Men have died for both.

The only reason we have been

The only reason we have been let down by the people we've elected is because we elected them. The change must start with us.

Thank you for being awake.

Thank you for being awake. There is only a few of us in the US these days.

A lot of flag rules have been

A lot of flag rules have been dishonored for a very long time. Some of them may or may not be incredulous for our era. Times change but it takes a long time to amend laws and rules of conduct. It's like a lot of rules and laws; not enforced.

I wish more folks were aware

I wish more folks were aware of these rules & policies of display & care of the American flag.

The flag is printed on

The flag is printed on everything (cups, napkins, boxes), but apparently it's against the rules!

I feel they should not put

I feel they should not put "untrue" representations of our American colors on cups, plates, shirts, bandanas you name it. Our colors should only be represented as a flag and not a piece of money collections. If you want to show your pride fly your flag, your American flag properly per proper guidelines. There are proper guidelines available to display correctly.

I smell the Political

I smell the Political Correctness Police - PCP. If these rules bceom law, I will kill another dinosaur!

The majority of people who

The majority of people who know the rules and regulations and proper respect to the U.S. Flag are Military or former military personnel. It's drilled into our heads.

(Laughing softly) Lee,

(Laughing softly) Lee, Scouts know. While at a parade a civic group came upon me/the unit I serve (Cub Scouts - I in the vintage den mother yellow). I heard one of them say "ask her - she's a scout; she'll know." What they didn't know is I'm also a daughter of a WWII Marine -- know? Heck I live it! Semper Fi and God Bless America

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