American Flag Etiquette, Rules, and Guidelines

How to Properly Display the American Flag

American Flag
Pixabay

Many of our readers ask about American flag etiquette and the U.S. Flag Code. Here is a list of rules and guidelines for displaying the American flag and treating it with proper respect.

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. 

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

How to Properly Display the American 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 section) should be to the observer’s left. When the flag is hung either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the Union should be to the observer’s left.
     
  • The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
     
  • The flag 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.

  • The flag 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 American flag should be to the right of any other 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 American flag or, if they are to be placed on the same level, to the right of the American flag.
     
  • 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, when displayed with another against a wall—both from crossed staffs—should be on the right (the flag’s own right), and its staff should be in front of the other staff.
     
  • The American flag 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 American 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 American flag should be hoisted first and lowered last.
     
  • When displayed from a staff projecting from a building, the union should be at the peak of the staff.
     
  • When the flag 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, the flag 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, the flag 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.

American Flags

How Not to Display the American Flag

  • The flag should not be dipped to any person or thing, including government officials—even the President.
     
  • The flag should never be displayed with the union (stars) down, save as a signal of dire distress.
     
  • The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
     
  • The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
     
  • The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored so that it might be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
     
  • The flag should never be used as covering for a ceiling.
     
  • The flag 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 and ceremonious fashion, preferably by burning.

Do you have a question regarding displaying or respecting the American flag? Ask us in the comments below!

Reader Comments

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u.s.flag

why should our flag never touch the ground?

Flag etiquette

What is the proper etiquette regarding flying or not flying the flag at a vacant fire station?

Leaving a flag at half-staff

What is the etiquette on:

Someone leaving a flag on half-staff way longer than they should?

Soiled American flag

The flag has been displayed during camp-outs, and has acquired either soot or dirt. Does it have to be destroyed? The soot or soil looks as if it would clean off easily. Thank you in advance.

Displaying the flag

My company has three flags on display. The U.S. Flag in the center; company flag; and the state flag. My question is does the U.S. Flag have to be bigger than the other two. It is in the middle and it is flown the highest of the three; just curious if it is supposed to be bigger in size than the others. I know it should not be smaller; but can it be of equal size?

Size Matters

Hi, Ricky: In the world of Old Glory, it’s position that matters, not size. If your center flagpole is higher than the others, then having all flags of the same size is fine (and the state flag would be on the left as you look at them). If all three flagpoles were the same size, then Old Glory would be on the far left as you looked at them, state in the middle, and company on the right. Thanks for asking!

Half Staff with 2 countires flags

When an American flag is flown at half staff, is it mandatory to remove the Canadian flag? Or is it correct etiquette to fly it also at half staff? I seem to believe it is incorrect to fly a foreign flag at half mast in our country. In other wards, I think it's flag can only be at half staff when in Canada ,but not in the US.

Half 'n' Half

Hi, Pat: Thanks for this great question! You’re right: It wouldn’t seem correct to “force” Canada or another country to be at half-staff just because we were, although of course we could just infer (probably incorrectly) that they would also want to honor whatever we were. There are two choices for civilians: To lower other flag(s) to half-mast if on separate poles, because none should fly higher than Old Glory, or to take them down temporarily. In some military instances, it is OK to fly Old Glory at half-staff while foreign flags on separate pole remain aloft, thereby not “imposing” half-staff on others. If both flags are on the same pole, then ordinarily the non-U.S. flag would be removed rather than flown less than halfway up. Thanks again!

Question About American Flag

I think American Flag in one book printed wrong where should I contact?

Attn: Publisher

Hi, vk: Thanks for spotting this–contact the Publisher listed in the book!

Question About American Flag

Thanks for the revert. Can I send you the picture to check if the printed flag is wrong or right before sending to the publisher?

Attn: Publisher

Can you describe what is “wrong” with it?

respecting the flag

i have observed an American flag being flown day and night without being lowered or with a light shinning on it during nights at a large apartment complex nearby . it is on a sixty foot mast towering over the complex entrance and office building . i have mentioned to them a number of times that they must , at least at night , have a light shine on it. they told me the light at its base has been out for the past few years . .. my question is , is there an organization or patriotic group that can speak a little louder than just me ? why don't the American Legion or some other organization have representatives or members that scout out these disrespectful acts and then with one stronger voice get the results that I alone don't seem to have ... .. .

To Serve Again

Hi, Jack: Thank you for being so patriotic as to ask this great question. We have always found that local American Legion posts, VFWs, etc., are often ready to serve again by making polite contacts with people who are flying Old Glory improperly. The thing is, they can’t afford to have volunteers out on patrol all the time looking for “bad” flags–they need to be informed by folks like you. So try that out. And by the way, Scouts are also sometimes willing to step forward–and it’s hard to turn them down. Thanks again!

Flag display direction from deck railing

I have an unusual question! I have 2 flag pole brackets. One for the American flag and the other for the Texas flag. I know if the brackets were in a normal spot, both facing south, the American flag should be on my left and the Texas flag on my right as I am looking at the house from the outside. However, I could not place them normally as there is an electrical wire that is too close! So, I put one bracket on the side facing west, and the other facing east around from the south railing. So now which flag goes where? Hope you're not confused!

Where's the Compass?

Hi, Linda: Confused? Us? Well … not any more than usual, we guess. First of all, compass direction has nothing to do with how and where to fly Old Glory, although many, many fine folks like you often think so. Whether your house faces north or west or whatever and a flag or two face in other directions doesn’t really matter. Here’s what does: What it looks like when viewed “from the street,” or in front of the house. In this case, if your house faces south, Old Glory should be flying from the left or west side, and the Lone Star from the right or east side. Just as you thought! We think. Or maybe we’re confused …

Displaying the flag from deck railing Part 2

I think you did misunderstand my question. lol! If I am looking at the front of my house, which faces south, The flags are pointing east and west. Not pointing towards the south. So, If I go to the east side of the house, and while looking at the Texas flag, it is on my left. If I go to the west side of the house, and while looking at the US flag, it is on my right. I believe it should be the other way around. I'm thinking that because IF they were on the same railing, both pointing east or west, the US flag would be on my left and the Texas flag on my right. . It's my understanding while viewing the flags from the outside, while the flags are pointed at you, the US flag is on the left and the state flag is on the right. BUT These are on opposite railings. Now are you confused???

Flag Directions

Your thinking is ultimately correct; the US flag should be to the left of the Texas flag when they are viewed together from head-on. However, considering that the front of the house is the south side and that this is the side that would be most often viewed by passersby and visitors (we assume), the way you have them now—with the US flag on the left side of the house and the Texas flag on the right—is most correct for the circumstances. We commend you for thinking so hard about this—you certainly got our gears turning!

Flag direction from railing Pt 3!

So even-though the flags are not pointing in the same direction-Texas is east and US is west? West side of house has a street and east side is another lot, no street. Now I'm so confused!!!!! lol!

Flag Directions

You’re not alone!!

Yes, we would put the US flag on the west side of the house and the Texas flag on the east side even though they are facing opposite directions. If you were to view your house from the west, you would only see one flag, presumably (and the same from the east side). However, from the south side, you will see both flags, which is why their placement matters from this perspective and why you should keep the US flag on the left. 

Wearing the flag

Does the Flag Code address the issue of wearing the America Flag as a garment in any form? Doing so looks tacky and disrespectful (my opinion) and doesn’t seem to be something you learn about in school.

Clothes'd Topic

Hi, Sean: Old Glory should not be worn as (part of) a garment–and “tacky” is too good a word for doing so! You are correct!

Flag presented to me at my husband's funeral yesterday`

After the folding, the flag was encased in a very nice plastic triangle container. I bought a triangle wooden case for it today. Should I remove the plastic cover? I have heard that the flag should never be removed from the wooden case after it is placed inside. Thank you.

An Honorable Question

Hi, Alice: Thank you for honoring your husband by caring so much about his flag, and please accept our sincere condolences. It is perfectly OK to remove a flag from a case, as long as everything is done respectfully. You can leave the flag inside the plastic case for extra protection, if it then still fits in the wooden case, or not. Whatever provides the best combination of protection and viewability, in whatever case(s) you want. Thank you again. No doubt your husband is touched by your concern.

Slack lines

There was recently an argument regarding a flag being flown at half mast at my place of work. While the height of our flag is NOT the subject of argument, it is the extreme slackness in the lines holding her up that became an issue. It has since been tightened, but it looked sloppy. Are there guidelines for that?

Guidelines for Guide Lines?

Hi, Victoria: Thanks for this excellent question! While there are no specific requirements regarding keeping the halyard trim and snug, having loose lines would seem to fall under the rubric of displaying Old Glory in a totally respectful environment, which would not include sloppiness. Thanks again and thanks for your patriotic eagle eye!

Who can raise and lower U.S. Flags

I have a friend who is a refugee. He works maintainence at a local hotel. He wants to know if others than U.S. Citizens can raise and lower the flag.

Raising Questions

Hi, Paul: Yes, non-U.S. citizens may raise and lower Old Glory, as no doubt countless non-citizen U.S. armed services personnel have done over the centuries. Thanks for asking!

Flag

I saved a folded flag from an abandoned house would it be alright to keep ? The person that left the house knowingly left it. It upset me to think about it ending up in a garbage bin. My father and uncles were vets i would love to put it in a case would this be proper ?

Casing the Flag

Hi, Laura: As long as the flag is clean and folded properly, it would be not only proper to display it in a case, but also a great idea! Thanks for caring so much to ask!

Art project

I have recently seen 'art' where an artist has cut up old flags and framed them so that the nice side is displayed and he backside you can see the seams and grommets etc. This artist also uses cut up flags to make 'patriotic' art where he paints over the flag I suppose to enhance the colors and glued the bits to give the appearance the flag remnant is waving in the wind. I find it so offensive and the artist claims he is doing nothing wrong.

How Great Thy Art

Hi, Viola: Beauty–and propriety–lie in the art of the beholder. It is really not cool to be cutting up Old Glory and otherwise messing with her, but technically speaking the artist is indeed doing nothing wrong. Very thankfully for us, freedom of speech (and thus art) trumps almost everything else, including flag etiquette. How ironic it is that cutting up something can serve only to strengthen and reinforce what it stands for, but this is one of the great mystical attributes of Old Glory herself. Thanks for being so patriotic!

Wooden flag

I made a wooden flag, with appropriate sized proportion and colors, is this not proper or ok for a flag?

Wooden You Know It

Hi, James: Thank you for taking the time to ask this great question. The U.S. flag is made of fabric. What you have made is a piece of flag art. It’s OK for you to do this, and we know that you’ll display it in a very respectful way. Thanks again!

U.S. Flag display

I have my Fathers flag from his military funeral. If it folded properly could one not make a glass front case and display it in ones home?

Go for It!

Hi, Michael: Sounds like a great idea, and thanks so much to your late father for his service!

The flag

Can you be fined or Prosicuted

Half staff procedures

How long would the US Flag be at half-staff to remember the 59 people killed in Las Vegas properly.

Half mast.

We have 3 flags at work the tallest in the middle is the US Flag then to each side is the shorter poles with the State flag and the company flag. When we put the US flag at half mast do we also put the state and company flags at half mast also? Nobody seems to know whats the correct thing to do. We have been lowering them all to half mast. Is this correct ?

Right You Are!

Hi, Rick:  Yes, correct (or take them down)! Thanks for asking!

Flags Printed on Beach Towels

I've recently seen beach towels that have the US Flag printed on them. Several retail outlets are selling them. Is a towel with the US Flag printed on it a towel, OR... Is a towel with the US Flag printed on it a flag? To me, it certainly seems to be inappropriate and disrespectful to sit, lay, or dry one's body on a towel that looks like a US Flag. I look forward to your comment(s).

Time to Towel Off

Hi, Howard: it is not proper to print the U.S. flag on a towel or use a flag as a towel–as you well and patriotically suspect! Thanks for caring!

Number of personnel to raise and lower flag

So, my question is, how many people are required to assist with the raising and lowering of the flag? Also, can you please maybe provide me a link to this information? Reason being, I recently started a new job and I could have sworn that it takes 2 people to raise and lower the flag, as I am a veteran this is what my gut feeling states. My boss seems to think that it only takes 1 person to raise, lower, and fold the flag. I'm looking for an answer and a gentle way to inform him , if I am correct.

Depending on the size of the

Depending on the size of the flag you're using you might need 3 or more people. I've helped raise and lower the Colors at Camp Pendleton, at guard duty for during my last month of service. One person works the rope very slowly while the other person catches the tail end of the Colors. It continues to be gradually lowered the person holding the tail ends, now should be both corners of the NON-BLUE side, the person walks carefully (not to stumble) away from the flag pole to prevent the slack touching the ground. Eventually It should be nearly horizontal to the floor WITHOUT touching the floor. The key is that this method insures the flag does NOT touch the ground. Now you DO NOT have to burn the flag if it touches the ground but while I was in the Marine Corps, if it ever did we had to burn it. I heard of anytime of the flag touching the ground, even when I was deployed twice. All you have to inform him is that the flag 'should' not touch the ground, nothing compelling civilians.

CORRECTIONS

I HAVEN'T heard of anytime of the flag touching the ground. Never encounter that situation, so I do NOT know the proper Marine Corps etiquette. Also with practice you can fold it, triangular style, while the flag is being lowered. Lastly, after a month or so most Marines were able to lower non Garrison alone (25 foot and heavy wool flag, not worth the risk). However, it was only done if we could only spare 1 Marine due to being heavily understaffed during guard duty, 4 hours off a day at some points (20 hours on, 4 hours sleep, 20 hours back on). This was very rare.

Hello this is a great read. I

Hello this is a great read. I work at a hotel where the flag is displayed 24/7 with proper lightning of course. Since the half staff announcement i was curious since i dont have to raise the flag do i just lower it and leave it till friday or should i raise then lower it daily (sundown raised)(sun up half staff)? Thanks

a half-staff display at a 24/7 establishment

Hi, Ken, Thank you for your question. When flown at half-staff, the flag should be hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position (you may have read this above; repeating here for your convenience). Because your company illuminates the flag 24/7, you can probably leave it at half-staff. We can find no reference to sunset/sunrise, however, it would be fine if, each morning, you raised it to the peak and then back to half-staff position in acknowledgement of the 24-hour period that has passed.

Thank you for your enthusiasm for this page and Web site, btw.

Half staff

If a flag is ordered half staff by the president and the flag is lit and stays up during night hours does it stay at half staff at night?

Half-staff at night, when illuminated?

Hi, Nick, Thank you for your question; apologies for the delay in responding. When flown at half-staff, the flag should be hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position (you may have read this above; repeating here for your convenience). If, as you say, your company illuminates the flag 24/7, you can leave it at half-staff overnight. However, it would be fine if, each morning, you raised the flag to the peak and then back to half-staff position in acknowledgement of the 24-hour period that has passed.

Painting the Flag on a wall

I work in a VA hospital and there's a request to paint the flag on the wall lining the hallway where deceased Veterans will be taken to the hearse. Is this OK?

Up Against the Wall

Hi, Cindy: It is usually not a good or proper idea to paint Old Glory on a wall, where it just becomes … well … a wall. Far better to mount a fabric flag against the wall or just have one (or many!) on a stanchion(s) in the hallway. Thank you for caring so much to ask!

Customer Service Question

I work for Grace Alley (American Flag Company). We also sell 6 ft flagpoles that may be attached via bracket to a home, fence, post, etc.
Today a customer asked this question:
"Would you please let me know if one is required to lower the flag at night if it is on a pole that is not on the ground such as your pole's?"
Does anyone know the answer? Your help is greatly appreciated!

Right at Night

Hi, Shelynn: Thanks for this great question. A flag on a pole in a bracket needs to either be taken down at night or lit. Thanks again!

When flying flag at 1/2 staff with other countries flags

Should other flags be lower than 1/2staff?

American flag

When the flag is at 1/2 staff should our state flag be at 1/2 staff also?

A True Follower

Hi, Susan: Yes–the state flag always “follows” Old Glory regarding half-staff … but not vice versa. Thanks for being so patriotic!

Patriotic Bunting

The President has ordered all flags at half staff until October 6th in response to the Las Vegas attack. In addition to flying the flag, is it appropriate to hang patriotic bunting across my porch to honor the victims? Thank You.

Bunting Basics

Hi, Anne: Good thinking! But the way to do this is to incorporate black streamers or ribbon into your bunting, as this is not so much a celebration (bunting alone) as a mourning and remembrance (bunting plus black). You could use black crepe paper (which, remember, might bleed in the rain) or black ribbon. You could simply hang some black streamers from the top point of your leftmost “swoop.” Or, you could mount a black bow at the center point of your total display, with or without black streamers hanging from it. Or, you could swoop some black ribbon right along the path of your bunting itself. The main thing is that your use of black should not be garish, but rather simple and profound, just like your–and our–respect for the victims, the injured, and their loved ones. Thank you for thinking of this!

1790 Flag

We have an historic home, built in 1790. Would it be proper for me to hang the US 1790 flag (13 stars) outside of our home or should I hang our current US flag? Thank you.

Historically Speaking, Part III

Hi, Cindy: Sounds like a lovely home. You can certainly fly the 1790, but it would not be replacing the current Old Glory. See the responses to “Flying Historical Flags” on September 14, 2017, and June 30, 2016, below. And thanks for asking!

hanging flag from large front porch

Is it ok to hang the very large American flag from a front porch from ceiling to porch from two hooks as long as blue part faces a certain way and if porch faces north to south how would we hang the flag. We would like to hang from two hooks at ceiling between porch posts we can put a light on it at night to shine on the flag not behind it.

Go for It

Hi, Robert: This is a great idea, and the orientation of the porch really doesn’t have anything to do with it. The blue union (stars) of the flag should be to the upper left as you look at it “from the street” and of course be sure that it doesn’t touch the ground/porch and is lit at night. Thanks from the Old Farmer for doing this!

flying with a NFL flag

Can I fly a NFL or any other sports flag below the American flag on the same staf?

The Short Answer

Hi, Mike: Yes, as long as the flag and what it represents are in good taste (for example, while technically proper, it would not be cool to fly as a second flag one that was a depiction of someone desecrating a flag). Thanks for asking!

Can you wear the flag printed in a shirt

Can one wear the flag printed on a shirt ? Or is that considered advertising?

Just Plain Wrong

Hi, Apolinar: The U.S. flag should not be printed on a t-shirt, not because it is advertising, but because to do so is disrespectful, in poor taste, and just plain wrong. Thank you for asking!

Large Flags Displayed Horizontally at Sporting Events

When the NFL for instance, displays an extremely large flag horizontally on the field during the National Anthem--often with military personnel assisting--does this violate Section 10.176C of the US Flag Code, i.e. "The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free?"

Horizontal Flag Display

I’m interested, too, in knowing if the American flag can properly be displayed horizontally as has been done during sporting events while the national anthem is sung.

Flat Out Wrong--Sorta

Hi, Rebecca and John: You are correct in reminding everyone that carrying Old Glory “flat” for the purpose of display is technically wrong. However, it’s important to remember both that the U.S. Flag Code is voluntary and that this flexibility, as long as it is exercised respectfully, is a freedom for which countless Americans have fought in many ways. In cases like this, before we throw the book at people who may not be following the book, we always use the very unofficial Old Farmer’s Almanac Service Member Test, which is this: If you were to refer the technically improper usage of Old Glory to a service member on the front lines fighting for it, what would they say? In the case of a giant Old Glory being respectfully carried before many thousands of respectful Americans, we suspect that the practice would be approved. Thank you so much for your patriotism and caring so much!

Flag Placement in Photos

Great information, however I'm still wondering about the placement of a flag in personal portraits. I've heard that the stars of the flag need to be to on the left side of the person whose portrait is being taken. Please clarify. Thanks much!

Proper Portraits

Hi, Lori: If Old Glory is hanging from a floor staff behind the subject of the portrait, then the staff should be to the observer’s left (behind the right shoulder of the portrait subject). The same positioning holds true for our flag’s blue union with its stars when the flag is mounted or flying behind the subject. Thanks for asking this great question!

Flag Placement in Photos

Great information, however I'm still wondering about the placement of a flag in personal portraits. I've heard that the stars of the flag need to be to on the left side of the person whose portrait is being taken. Please clarify. Thanks much!

Flag Placement in Photos

Great information, however I'm still wondering about the placement of a flag in personal portraits. I've heard that the stars of the flag need to be to on the left side of the person whose portrait is being taken. Please clarify. Thanks much!

Just Clarifying

I'm pleased to see that there's a code of honor for our Star Spangled Banner, but I need some clarification on what exactly the rules state about the design being used in advertising, embroidery, etc. Some hoohahs on Facebook were causing some controversy about how red blooded Americans detest the burning of our flag in a movement of anarchy and disrespect, but should "be ashamed for the use of the design in products and advertising". I read earlier that using an ACTUAL flag for such purposes is wrong and disrespectful, but what if it is only an "inspired by" design? The poster showed the flag being held horizontal over a playing field at a football game, the design featured on some Budweiser cans, boots, socks, pillows/cusions, etc. So where's the actual offence? The use of the design, or the use of an actual flag in the product? (Also, regarding the football game, is there an exception for sports or large national events?)

And Now for a Commercial Announcement ...

Hi, Josh: Thank you for asking this question and raising this widespread concern. The U.S. Flag Code strictly prohibits the use of Old Glory’s image in any kind of advertising at all. Period. However, it’s important to note that adherence to the Flag Code is voluntary. This is because the rights of free speech can often conflict with any mandatory rules for the display of anything. To further complicate matters, some jurisdictions have passed laws restricting the commercial (but not private) display of Old Glory images, but even these have been challenged. Regarding flag-“inspired” designs or whatever, again, there is no formal ban on these. In short, from a technical standpoint, you can do whatever you want with Old Glory images in most cases, and the beauty, propriety, and patriotism of what you do will lie in the eyes of the beholder(s). It’s important to remember, too, that every time you see Old Glory, whether as a flag or inspired image or advertising, it should serve as an honored reminder of all of the sacrifices made across the centuries for the very purpose of allowing people to be free with its use. And no, there are no exceptions for big events. Thanks again!

Just Clarifying

I, too, have seen people discussing this issue. So I want to be sure that I have this right...

You can put our great American Flag on underwear, paper plates, boots, socks, bathing suits, beer cans and basically whatever you want because you feel like it's honoring and paying tribute to our flag. Right? However, The U.S. Code says you can not do those things as they are disrespectful. Here's where it gets complicated... But because of our Constitutional right to Freedom of Speech people say you can do whatever YOU want. I think I'm starting to get this.

So say you go to someones house and they are having a party... It's okay to use paper plates or napkins with flags on them, right? What about toilet paper? Is that okay? I've seen flag toilet paper at a Fourth of July party... I'm not making this up! I thought it was a bit crazy but I guess they thought it was honoring the flag! I mean... Fourth of July... if that's not celebrating America I don't know what is? Right!?

But kneeling before the flag... I mean sheesh!!! THAT is not okay!! Right?? So the U.S. Honor Code says you shouldn't let the flag touch the ground, but if you want to use it as a floor mat like President George Bush did then, it's okay to do... Freedom of Speech and all. I got it. It totally comes down to Freedom of Speech... so I shouldn't feel bad if I throw away an American Flag paper plate that had chili dogs all over it. I for sure shouldn't care that someone wears the American Flag on the soles of their boots!!! But we should all boycott football because someone wants to practice THEIR Constitutional Right and kneel during the National Anthem. Now it makes perfect sense to me. Thanks for the clarification.

Personally, I think we are all hypocrites... When I watch a game at home I don't stand when I hear the Star Spangled Banner... I don't. Do you? Good on you if you do!! Really. If anything I've learned a lot about the American Flag today.... so there is that!

(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery.

(g) 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.

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

(i) 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.

(j) 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.

Flags in front of schools--raising and lowering

What is the proper procedure(s) for raising and/or lowering the flag that is flown in front of a school?
My granddaughter attends a local primary school. At the close of school, two students come out and lower the flag. All they do is just lower it down, gather it up the best they can, and take it in doors. I have even seen one of them wrap it around his/her body to carry it indoors. The parents standing around the entrance to the school (and the flag pole) do nothing during the lowering/raising (do not stand up, do not put their hand over their heart, do not take off their hats, do not stop talking on the phone, etc)
What is proper.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Hi, Irvin: Thank you for this excellent question. When Old Glory is raised or lowered, people present should be quietly standing with hand over heart. Students should never wrap the flag around themselves, but it is OK to temporarily and carefully gather up the flag to take it indoors for proper folding and storage, rather than folding it immediately upon take-down. Thanks again for being so patriotic!

flying flag

I have 3 flag poles.They are the same hieght,same size.From the left to right,fly US flag,VN flag ,Budda Flag.Is this right?.Thank you.

Street View

Hi, Chinh: Yes, this would be OK as viewed “from the street” or by whoever is facing the flags. Thanks for asking!

Flying previous versions of the American flag

Is it permissible to fly previous versions of the flag? That is, the Grand Union flag or Bennington's flag for example. Can I still legally fly those flags?

Fly Away!

Hi, JV: Yes, it is certainly permissible. See the Comment “Flying Historical Flags” and response on June 30, 2016, below. (Note: 2016.) And thanks for asking!

Flying the local union flag below the US Flag

I have been asked to fly the local union flag below our US Flag on the flagpole NYCT property. I have no objection and did not see anything in this site indicating poor etiquette, will this be permissible?

Two Unions?

Hi, John: Thanks for this interesting question. Usually, we get questions about Old Glory’s union (the blue field with the stars), so this is a first. From a technical standpoint, it is OK to fly a “private” flag (such as that for your union) beneath the U.S. flag, as long as it isn’t in obvious bad taste. However, sometimes what can properly be flown beneath Old Glory is governed more by where and how it is being flown. So, while it might be perfectly OK to fly the union flag beneath the U.S. flag in your front yard, such might not be the case on NYCTA property, especially since the NYCTA is a quasi-governmental entity. In other words, this is permissible according to Old Glory–the only question is whether it is OK with NYCTA (which maybe is you). Thanks again and good luck!

Flag used in pictures

I was just wondering if it was OK to use the American flag in photos with kids. The flag would not touch the ground, but may be wrapped around their shoulders or held horizontally behind them held by their raised hands -stars to the left, of course.

Wrapping Things Up

Hi, Amanda: It’s perfectly OK for kids to hold up the flag, but it really shouldn’t be wrapped around them like clothing. Thanks for asking!

Flag at night

I know it is appropriate to fly a flag at night as long as it's illuminated. However, I was wondering what is the recommended "illumination"? Does it need to have it's own spotlight? It's on the front of my house, illuminated by a porch light, is that enough?

Proper Illumination of a Flag at Night

The Flag Code doesn’t define exactly what sort of illumination is appropriate, but we generally interpret it to mean that the flag should be given it’s own source of light—usually in the form of a spotlight from below. This is the best way to show proper respect to the flag at night, aside from taking it down altogether. That said, the purpose of the light source is to allow the flag to be easily seen from all sides, so if your porch light accomplishes this, then we believe there is no issue.

Flag being held

Is it disrespectful for an 8 month child to hold a small flag on a small flagpole in a photo in his lap or holding it in such a way as the flag is touching the ground?

Flag Being Held

Generally, it’s considered disrespectful to have the flag touch the ground if the action is performed in a disparaging or purposeful manner. However, we recognize that most eight-month-olds haven’t learned the entirety of the Flag Code yet, so in this case, we think his mistake can be forgiven!

Flag at night

I was taught that the flag should not be flown at night, this is from the rules of 1942. I recently have been seeing people on TV giving instructions on how to display flag at night. NEWSFLASH its Wong flag should go up at dawn and come down at dusk. While serving in the US Army if I had a dollar for each time I had to stop my car at dusk as the flag was being lowered I would be rich lol. The point is I wish people would stop changing our traditions or trying to, these things were well thought out and don't need fixing..... Hand off please go find something else to tweak, like maybe yourself and leave our longstanding traditions alone please. If someone wants to fly the flag maybe it would be a good idea to see what the rules are first and not make em as you go along,it's just not right.
MIKLO

Flag Etiquette

I just bought a very nice all weather material U.S. Flag. If I have my porch light that illuminates the flag is it k to leave out at night. If not and I buy a direct light fixed on it is that ok? Lastly, as mentioned it is a "all weather" flag should I take it down in inclement weather or as long as it is illuminated at night I can keep it out all the time

Thank You from Wisconsin

Leaving the flag up overnight

I see flags that Are left out overnight sometimes in front of businesses or city parks. I have been told as long as there is a dedicated light directed at the flag , and the flag is made of all weather material that it is OK. Any truth to that?

Overnighter

Hi, Tara: Yes, what you say is true and perfectly OK. Technically speaking, if there were absolutely no chance of inclement weather, it would be OK to do this with a non-all-weather flag, too. Thanks for asking!

AmericanFlag

We honor our vets by placing a small flag at the base of each of our over 50 trees in our community, much like those displayed at Arlington Cemetary. Is this disrespectful?

Not Tree-son

Hi, Grace: Disrespectful? Yes–to the poor trees that don’t get flags. This is a great idea as long as the flags are displayed properly, and we send our thanks and congrats to all the organizers!

Disrespectful?

I have seen all over the internet different decorations for the front door that have an American flag wrapped or hung around a wreath. Is this disrespectful to the flag?

With All Due Wreathspect

Hi, Mikayla: This is complicated. Old Glory should always be flown or mounted with respect. Having an actual flag wrapped or hung around a wreath is a no-no. Having, say, a small flag on a dowel extending out of a wreath and not touching anything else would be fine, as it would be adhering to respectful practice. Using bunting–flag-themed fabric or banners not in the form of an actual U.S. flag–would also be OK. In general, though, Old Glory should be displayed to honor our nation, all that it stands for, and all those who have served it–and not simply for the purpose of decoration or adornment. Thanks for asking and caring!

Alternative USA flag with less restrictions re display methods

As I read through these comments I realize we must remove our flag. It's in an angled pole coming off the side of the house and that's the only option currently. While I explore solutions can you recommend a flag to show our love for the USA that may be displayed "dipped"?

Taking a Dip

Hi, Dustin: Listen, if your flag is tilted upward, so that its top is higher than its bottom, that’s perfectly OK! If it’s tipped downward, that’s not OK… but just take your holder off and turn it around. Thanks for caring so much!

Flag that has seen combat

My daughters school has a large flag displayed in their gym. The flag is dirty and torn. The flag was presented to the school by a parent and former Board member who has served our country for decades in the Armed Services and recently retired. The flag was flown on an active military mission and there is a plaque on the wall in the gym explaining the details of the flag and its origins. Is this appropriate or should the flag be displayed in some type of case?

Mission Not Yet Accomplished

Hi, Shannon: This is a great question by you and a marvelous act by the donor. Of course, this is up to the school and perhaps ultimately up to the donor, but in most such cases the flag is displayed in a case, so that it does not further degrade (fade, wear, etc.). A stressed flag like this, even if nylon or some other synthetic, eventually will stretch and wear if only because of the weight of the flag bearing on itself. To preserve this flag’s historical impact, as well as show it proper respect, a case certainly might be considered. Having it in a case, by the way, would not preclude its continued functional use/purpose in the gym. Thanks for asking, and thanks to the donor for being so thoughtful, patriotic, and generous!

Size of Flag to size of pole

Is there a correct size flag to fly on the height of the poles..... I read a lot of articles but is there something written in Guidelines

Flag-to-Flagpole Size Ratio

There are no official guidelines given in the Flag Code regarding flag-to-flagpole size ratios, but standard practice is to have your flag’s length be at least ¼ the height of the flagpole. For example, a 40-foot pole should be fitted with a flag that is at least 10 feet in length.

Now you may be wondering what the recommended maximum flag size is. This is largely dependent on the construction of your flagpole, as stronger flagpoles will be able to withstand gusts and inclement weather more effectively, and thus hold larger flags. It’s best to ask the manufacturer of your flagpole what their recommended maximum flag size is. 

Patch badge display

Sorry forgot to mention that I saw the comments from 11/16 still have to admit it looks bad when you are looking at it and its our military taking matters into there design of uniforms and all the veterans we have talked to agree you don't have to display running into battle to get your point across,to people who don't live in the USA it looks like we have a problem with fashion and etiquette and rules were not being forced on flag display I respect that flag we call old glory taught by my veteran of a father for years I would go with him and set hundreds of flags on the graves of those who have fallen before us and when dad goes I will give him the same respect that we gave others to stand and look at the grave sites of the veterans gone before us is very overwhelming to the extent of dedication that these soles who went to there rightful resting place below us come on America lets do the right thing turn the badges back around so they look right when you are looking at it. Thanks a patriot and proud American .

Wearing flag badges backwards.

I noticed some years ago that the military started wearing flag badges backwards I asked my dad about it he being a ww2 vet and former chaplain for the American Legion he has no idea what is the proper way or no change in the etiquette or congressional motion , we contacted some friends of ours in the military and it was to show you running to the conflict we thought it looked disrespectful to the etiquette set up in the earlier years please contact us with an answer thanks

Backwards

I believe the flag patch on military uniforms is made to look like it is flying from a staff. Thus from both sides of the uniform the union is toward the front. This makes it looks backwards on the right side of the uniform.

Backwards

The flag is backwards in our uniforms so as to look as if it were in the direction of travel of the soldier. If you held a flag and walked forward the flag would face behind you with the union above your head. Thus, why the flag is backwards.

The Flag

I saw a picture of President Trump hugging the flag!!! Is that appropriate?

Huggies

Hi, Diana: The president was not the first and hopefully not the last grateful American to hug Old Glory, which is perfectly OK. But thanks for caring so much to ask!

American flag

I live in a Senior Mobile Home Park. Many of us are veterans and we display our flange proudly. However, some flags have hung on poles for so long that they are ripped, discolored and very dirty. Can you send me something saying that our flange is a liberty symbol, home of the brave and free. And it should be well represented.

Thank you and God Bless
Rudy Barraza

Lookin' Rather Flagged

Hi, Rudy: We can’t send you anything, but you might consider asking your local American Legion or VFW if they would consider coming around and offering to replace bedraggled flags. Thanks for caring so much!

Displaying a folded flag in a triangular display case

My dad was a veteran and I have the flag I received when he died. It is in a wooden triangular wooden display case with a glass front. I am now in a very small apartment and trying to find a place to respectfully put the flag/case where it can be seen. Is it OK to put in on the floor since it is in a case?

Floored

Hi, Deedee: Thank you for this question, and thank you to your late dad for his service. Generally, you would not put a flag on the floor. But as with many things in life–including people–it is not where they are, but how they are treated. Feel free to honor and respect our flag and your dad wherever you see fit. And thanks again!

The American Flag

Why is it legal for people to degrade, dishonor our American Flag by burning it in the street & other places???

Size really does matter, right?

We have a pergola on our back patio that allows viewing from the walking path behind our neighborhood. Three flag holders are mounted on the path side, with an additional holder on the outside faces of the end posts. With the five holders, we display Old Glory along with our state flag and the flags of the three branches of military that our families have served. We recently got a 4x6 U. S. Flag and an 8' pole for it (the others are 3x5 with 6' poles. Does the national flag, being larger, go in the center now? Should it go in the left most view point even though it mounts sideways? Just want to make sure we do it right.

Five Not-So-Easy Pieces

Hi, John: Thanks for this interesting question and for taking the time to game out some solutions. You have good instincts in thinking that perhaps Old Glory should be at the viewer’s left, mounted on the side of the end post. This is normally the case, but in your situation, the technicality is that these two flags on the sides of the end posts are actually in a second row, behind those mounted on the front. Hence Old Glory needs to be on the front. Here, regardless of the fact that it is larger, you could place it all the way to the left on the front, or in the middle, as you suggest. We think that being in the middle of the front would look best, but in your situation perhaps it would be better all the way to the left, so that you could then put your three service flags in a row to the viewer’s right of Old Glory. So, to us, this would look like: Side of left post–state flag; Leftmost front–Old Glory; center front: service flag; right front: service flag; side of right post: service flag. That leaves us with the question of what order to put the service flags in, and the answer to that is that from the viewer’s left they go in the order of the founding of the service branch: Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Air Force. Thanks again for asking–sounds great!

Outside furniture placement around a Flag on a patio.

We installed a patio area in our front yard. The Flag pole is on the center edge closest to the road.
We also had a bench made from an old tree carved with the American Eagle. The patio area was made to keep the bench off the ground and keep the feet from rotting. I wanted to place the bench facing our side walk (away) from the road. I have been told by some that I cannot do that as you cannot have your back to the flag. Others have said that is perfectly fine. I cannot find anything on this. Can you help answer this question?

Now, Back to the Flag

Hi, Rita: First of all, congratulations on describing this complicated situation in a way that we actually think we understand! The answer to your question is that it is perfectly OK to have the bench with its back to the flag, although the hearts of your dissenters are certainly in the right place. In the end, it’s important to realize that Old Glory and all it stands for are much bigger than the placement or orientation of any piece of furniture, no matter how beautiful it may be – and yours does sound handsome, indeed! Thanks for asking, and feel free to raise a beverage to The Old Farmer while you’re out there!

Flag at half staff in a wall mount

Hello! I have an outdoor wall mount that is one that allows a flag to flown at full or half staff. This morning I went out at sunrise to lower he flag to half staff but it seems the angle is too low. The flag is angled down. Is this right?

Up the Down Flagstaff

Hi, Nicole: Thank you SO MUCH for getting up at sunrise to do this! You are correct: Old Glory should never be flown at a downward angle. When at full staff, does your flag extend straight out at a 90-degree angle? If so, this may mean that you have the holder mounted upside down. When “righted,” your flag would then fly at the high angle for full staff and straight out for half-staff (which wouldn’t really be half-staff anyway). All this being said, double flag holders such as this are usually meant to hold two flags at once, with Old Glory of course being higher. An easy and perfectly legit way to indicate that a flag is at half-staff is to tie a black streamer or ribbon from its top. You might consider just doing this next time. Thanks for asking this great question!

Flying a Vintage Flag

Is it disrespectful to fly a vintage American Flag? I found a beautiful old flag that has only 48 stars on it (it is not tattered or torn, but is in very good condition). Having a love for antiques I would love to display it on my front porch, but I don't want to be disrespectful! Thank you : )

Flag

Yes that would be very respectful, it was once legal so therefore very legitimate to fly the flag with 48 Stars.

Go For It

Hi, S Bear: Yes, Indigenous’s reply above is correct. Please see the May 18 response to “48 Star Flag” below, and thanks for asking!

Flying the flag durring Alaska summer.

I live in Fairbanks, Alaska. I have been made to understand that the flag is not to be flown at night unless it is well lit. Well in Alaska during the summer it does not get dark here at night time. Is it okay ti still fly the flag during the hours of night even though it does not get dark here in the summer?

Seeing the Light

Hi, Mary: Great question! It is perfectly OK to fly Old Glory unlit during the long daylight hours of Alaska’s summer nighttime. It is all about the light, and not about the clock. Thanks for asking!

Work center

Our team makes badges for new employees, guests and students. We take their picture for the badge with the American flag pinned vertically against the wall as the back drop. What side should the union jack (blue) be on? I was confused by what your website said, and coworkers can't agree. Can we please have the correct answer?
Thank you

To the Left

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 Background on the Backdrop

Hi, Debbie: What Shmeric says above is correct … thanks for asking, and thanks, Eric, for answering!

Flying Flags In A Triangle

Hello,
We just put up a new building and are in the process of getting flag poles. We are wanting to do the design of a triangle. I want to make sure we display the flags correctly. Let me know if anything needs changed but this is what we are thinking. The U.S. flag on the front point of the triangle on a 30 ft pole, with the two back points on the triangle on a smaller 25 ft pole. Should the front point be considered the point closest to the road where people will be viewing the flags from?

Thanks,
Zach

The Whole Point

Hi, Zach: Thanks for caring so much about this! Yes, the front point would be considered the one closest to the road. As for the rest of your proposal, it sounds to us like you have it all figured out correctly – and that you should be answering all these questions, not us! Good luck!

Flag placement at veterans' grave

My sons Boy Scout troop will be placing flags at veterans' grave for Memorial Day. Is there etiquette on the placement of the flag? I know that it should be 1 boot length (about a foot) away from the headstone but should it be center, right or left of the headstone if there is no flag holder?

Sons Boy Scout placing flags on vets

The union should be at the head and over the left shoulder.

Center of Attention

Hi, Ethan: Hopefully, your son’s troop did just fine… and thank you to you and them for being there for our veterans. While Melody’s reply above seems to (correctly) refer to caskets, we believe you are asking about little flags on dowel (or other) flag staffs. The answer to your question – for next time you’re out there – is that the flag should be centered on the headstone. If the stone is a dual/multiple one, then the flag is centered on the veteran’s side/place. One exception to all this is that it is perfectly OK to be flexible. If there is a huge, beautiful floral arrangement occupying the space about one foot out from the center of the stone, then by all means feel free to place the flag in front of the left side of the stone as you face it, or perhaps in front of the arrangement itself. Whatever looks best. It really is the thought that counts, and that veteran wore the uniform so that you could use your own judgment without fear of The Old Farmer calling you out for simply doing the best you could. Thanks for asking this great question!

48 Star Flag

Hi there. My Grandfather passed a 48 star flag down to me that's been with him a long time when he passed away two years ago. He was a veteran and in honor of his legacy, I would like to fly his flag this year. I was wondering if there was anything in the flag code against flying a 48 star flag. Thank You!

Ditto!

I just found a beautiful old 48-star flag at my local small-town antique store and I would LOVE to display it as well. I can't find anything on the internet as to whether doing so would be considered disrespectful.

The Great 48

Hi, Matt, and S Bear: It is perfectly OK to fly a 48-star flag, but if a 50-star flag is also being flown, then the 48-star would be lower in hierarchy (or would that be higherarchy?) and follow the appropriate rules (such as for a state flag, for example). Thanks for asking, and keep that 48 faith!

Wall Mount Flags, 2 Nations

So I grew up with a US Flag and a Norwegian Flag outside my home mounted by our garage- now I have my own home and was reminded recently that I wanted to display my flags. So far I've figured out that the US Flag goes higher than the Norwegian- and that's about it. Facing the house, if I display them by my garage (since my front door is set back, and not visible and covered by bushes), can I do one on each side of my garage, or should they both be on either the left or the right of the garage?

And if displayed next to each other, is the US Flag to the right or the left of the Norwegian Flag? And as for the "higher" section- am I supposed to change the angle at which they stand from the wall, or simply secure the bracket for the US Flag say, an inch or two higher than the Norwegian?

And final question, not meant as disrespect, but merely my own forgetfulness, if I leave them out overnight, am I going to get raked over the coals? I prefer hassle-free, but there's no way I'm going to remember or be able to make a habit of taking them down every night and putting them up every morning.

Two Questions About Evening

Hi, Taki: Thanks for these great questions and the patriotic thought that you put into them! For starters, Old Glory needs to be higher than others only if they are mounted vertically one above the other. Otherwise, when side by side (close together or far apart, as in the case of your garage), Old Glory just needs to be on the left as you face the flags. Tilting Old Glory at a higher angle or placing its holder slightly above the other would be a nice touch, but not necessary. So, evening them off is fine. Regarding your other question about evening: No, you are not going to get raked over the coals by us, because we don’t know where you are. But you stand to get heated up a little by others, as leaving Old Glory out all night is a no-no. So just get a simple, cheap, LED light to shine on it, and you are all set. And on behalf of all our Norwegian friends, let us add that it would be nice if you lit us up, too. With a light, that is. Thanks again and good luck!

displaying our flag

I have 3 flag poles at my installation. the main pole is 5 feet bigger than the other 2. The guide wire to my main pole snapped and it will be a while till it can be replaced. Can i use one of the other smaller poles to display our US Flag? There are no other flags on the smaller poles..

Down But Not Out

Hi, Eddie: You certainly may! Thanks for caring so much to ask!

Half mast

If you lower a state flag in a group to half mast must you also lower the US flag and the POW/MIA flag?

Dealing With Groupies

Hi, Pamela: In the unofficial “pecking order” of flags, in this case Old Glory would rank first, state flag second, and POW/MIA third. The informal rule of thumb is that a flag that goes to half-mast takes everything “below” it with it. So if the U.S. flag were at half-mast, the rest would be. If the state goes to half-mast, POW/MIA also goes to half-mast, but not Old Glory, which is higher in hierarchy. To confuse things a little, from a highly technical standpoint it would be OK to keep POW/MIA up high and view it as being in relation to Old Glory, not state, but from a practical and esthetics standpoint, it is usually best to lower ancillary, nongovernmental flags when the state flag is lowered. Thanks for asking!

Small Flag

Hi there! I am a patriotic American who wants to fly the American flag outside my house. I had a 3x5 ft flag, but it became torn and I brought it to the American Legion to dispose of properly. I was wondering if there is any rule against mounting on the side of my house with a holder a smaller American flag, about 1ft by 2ft for the time being? Thanks, and God Bless America!

Small But Mighty

Hi, Danny: No rule against it at all, and Amen! Thanks for asking and being so patriotic!

Rules vs Patrotism

There is a controversy about citizens planting an American flag at the top of a popular conservation area in Glendale AZ. The city of Glendale has climbed the mountain to remove it after complaints sent to the city. The issue is center around the city code which states

"We applaud and appreciate the patriotism, however it is something that we cannot allow. It is a conservation park, so it is really about preserving the natural desert environment," said Larson.

The citizens are generally in support of the American flag being displayed at the top of the peak while others complain how it violates city code because it is considered a memorial, etc. Citizens have lobbied for a permanent, official display of the flag to prevent private citizens from leaving personal property on the peak. Opponents additionally complain it is not helping to conserve anything, and that it is not even being displayed per your specific rules listed in this article, because it is a fair hike to the top, it is proposed to fly 24/7 and in all weather, possibly being lit throughout the night.

Have you heard of similar controversies, is flying the flag 24/7 at the top of a conservation area in all weather a disgrace to the flag when it is not an easily accessible location?

Some are trying to compromise to locate it in the parking lot but it does not suit the purpose of having it at the top of a well traveled preserve (several trails, parking lot, street light, etc) where most citizens take pictures with the flag in a moment of appreciation and respect for the what the flag represents. Maybe it is Iwo Jima and numerous other examples in history that makes it appear the display of the American flag at the top of a peak is more than just a rule breaker, and that it is an honorable thing to do for the country in which the nature preserve is located (yet it has groomed trails cut through it so citizens can enjoy the exercise, experience and scenery). Thanks.

Chilling Out on a Hot Topic

Hi, Henree: Thank you for your extensive work on this question and for caring so much. For starters, allow us to point out that we didn’t get to be “Old” by getting in between groups of fine citizens in Glendale or anywhere else. We agree with everyone in their concern—and the significant civic input and involvement that have gone into this already are high testimony to the vibrancy of the freedoms for which Old Glory stands. Have we heard of similar controversies? Yes, but no two are ever the same. Scroll below to June 21, 2016, for an interesting situation in Alaska that was only vaguely parallel to yours, and basically concerns Beauty vs. Patriotism (and not Rules vs. Patriotism, as you have titled your question). Still, some of the same considerations are at play. To answer another of your questions: No, flying an all-weather flag lit 24/7 in an inaccessible place is not improper. Often in cases like this it is good to step back, take a deep breath (or a thousand!), and reflect on just what the U.S. flag stands for and why it is flown anywhere, anytime, to begin with. Certainly, two of the main reasons are to demonstrate pride in our nation and to honor the countless great sacrifices that have made the good ol’ USA possible. Another might be to make as many people as possible feel good or happy through seeing Old Glory. It is important to understand that Old Glory is almost a living, breathing embodiment of liberty in and of herself. Is she any less revered when hung properly on a basement wall than she is when flying on a mountaintop? In other words, perhaps the solution here lies in everyone chilling out and separating the notion of Old Glory from wherever she happens to be—or not be. In the same way, it is sometimes helpful to isolate pristine areas in our mind as we use them, loving them for what they have been, are, and will be, despite the jet contrails above. Anyway, regardless of the outcome, we see this as a win-win for all involved, including Old Glory. Glendale’s robust discussion of this can serve as an example across America of how our brand of patriotism should always have room for differing viewpoints. Oh, and one more thing that Old Glory stands for: the freedom to vote. So, if the majority of folks don’t like the ordinance, hopefully they can change it. Thanks again for being so patriotic!

Flag over garage door

Can I fly the flag centered over my garage door? I had it on the side but the trees have grown up and were touching it, as well as getting draped over the roof when the wind was wrong.

Flag Watchdog

Hi, Scott: Yes, you can definitely fly it there. Thanks for asking and for watching over your flag so carefully!

Lowering 2 flags

I recently visited the U.S. military cemetery at Omaha Beach. There are 2 U.S. flags flying on staffs about 75 yards apart.
At the flag lowering ceremony they lower and fold the first flag with little fanfare before walking to the second flagpole to lower the second flag with a recorded cannon fire and Tapps being played.
Is there any guideline to follow in such case.
It would seem to me that both flags should receive equal honor and be lowered simultaneously.
I can find no rule of etticate covering the lowering of 2 U.S. flags of equal size and height.

In a Perfect World

Hi, Lawrence: Thanks for this great question! Your instincts are correct. In a perfect world, there would be two honor guards working simultaneously. In cases of flag etiquette imperfection, as we see here, we always say that “respect is in the eye  of the beholder” and it’s always best to recognize when people’s hearts are in the right place. Thanks again for asking and for caring so much!

Question on displaying my new flag

Hi, i just installed a nice flag pole in my front yard. I am trying to find out the proper etiquette. i believe i can fly the flag 24x7 if the flag is an all-weather flag and its illuminated at night, right? as a sports fan from Pittsburgh i'd like to fly a Steeler flag below the America flag, are there any concerns about that? if i take the American flag down is there any issue flying another flag at the top of the pole?

thanks
John

Hired!

Hi, John: Well, we hope that you’re gainfully employed, but it looks to us as though you have another possibility if not: professional u.s.-flag-question-answerer (although good luck in finding that in the classifieds). It looks to us as though you have a very good grasp of the issues involved here, and the answers to all your questions are that what you surmise is correct. Yes, all-weather and lit for 24/7. Yes, other flag below (as long as it’s not something totally in bad taste, although that’s technically OK, too). Yes, use pole for another flag if Old Glory not there. Thanks for asking and caring so much, and please feel free to send us other queries about things that you have already correctly figured out! Anything to make our job easier!

Transporting a classroom flag

I am responsible for bringing a small classroom flag that is fixed to a staff approximately 40" tall each week to a homeschool community day. Reciting the pledge of allegiance is part of our opening assembly. My question is about the proper way to transport it to and from the building where we meet, and how to store it for the rest of the day, since there is no appropriate stand. Should I make a bag for it and if it is in the bag is it ok for it to sit on the floor of my car? Thanks, I want to demonstrate and teach proper respect and etiquette for the flag and more importantly, what it represents.

Becky Ross

Hi, Becky: Well, your name’s not Betsy, but your care and concern for Old Glory is no less than hers! Thank you for your patriotism. It is perfectly acceptable to transport a rolled flag in a bag or sleeve, which should have some sort of closure at the open end (around the bottom edge of the flag, not necessarily the bottom of the staff), perhaps as a drawstring or velcro fastening. While it is OK to put it on the floor of your car, we would probably put it on the seat or in the trunk. There is a teachable moment here, perhaps: Four students could “strike the colors” by having two hold the flag corners and the other two the ends of the staff as they roll the staff onto the flag (thus rolling it up). Then they would carefully insert the rolled flag into the sleeve or bag, thereby emphasizing respect. Regardless of what is happening, we know that this flag is in good hands. Thanks for everything and good luck!

US Flag

If there is a spotlight on the flag can it be displayed at night?

Can we be any clearer?

Hi, Mary: Yes! Yes! Yes! and thanks for asking!

Hanging the flag vertically

I hung our flag out our front door, vertically. The blue and white stars are on the left. I lays nice against our brick home. Is this acceptable?

Up Against the Wall

Hi, Lisa: Sounds like this looks great! Yes, the union (white stars on blue field) should be at the upper left of the flag as you look at it, regardless of whether it is mounted vertically or horizontally. Thanks for asking!

Flying the flag outside a cindiminium

I live in a condo composed of 26 units. In the bylaws it states that no flags are to be flown from the exterior of the building. One of our neighbors hung a flag from her balcony and was asked to remove it as it was against the bylaws. This neighbor said she contacted the veterans administration and was told that no one can prohibit someone from flying a flag. I want to know if this is true. Our condo is made up (at least those I know) of patriotic people that love our country and our flag, but also believe that the association has a right to enforce our bylaws as they are for the common good. This person also leaves the flag out 24 hours a day regardless of the weather. Right now the flag is rolled around itself because we had some strong winds a few days ago. If our flag is going to fly it should be done in a respectful way! Please give me your thoughts on this. Thank you.

Freedom's Not Just Another Word

Hi, Kay:  Thank you for taking the time to write and for caring so much about this. This is yet another case in which Old Glory comes into conflict with the very freedoms she represents. Every private property owner has basic rights, including the right to control what is on the property. If a farmer leases you his field on the condition that you not put up a big U.S. flag in the middle of it for whatever reason, that’s within his rights. The same holds true for the condo association, whose rules the members signed on to. We suggest that the VA advisor might reconsider, and that the condo members might wish to amend the bylaws if that’s what the majority wants, since it’s not like they would be forcing anyone to fly the flag if they didn’t want to. Unfortunately, in the Take the Bad with the Good Dept., there’s not much to be done about people who fly unlit flags at night or nonweatherproof flags in bad weather (weatherproof is OK), other than find a way to gently tell/remind them. With regard to wind, such is the life of a flag. Our home flag wraps around the staff all the time. Every time we unwrap it, we use it as an occasion to send special safety wishes of thanks to those who are serving us far from home. Thanks again and good luck!

Wall mount at front door of business

Hi,
I'm trying to determine if it matters whether I mount the U.S. Flag to the left or right of the main entrance to a building. It will be a wall mount pole.
Thank You

Right You Are

Hi, Martin: The flag should be to your right as you stand in the door looking out…. to the left as you look at the building. Thanks for asking!

Flying State Flag Without Old Glory

Our United States Flag at work recently was damaged by storms and we took it down to await a replacement. My question is, that I cannot find answered in any Flag Code that I've Googled, when we took down the US Flag, should we also have taken down our state flag that flies next to it? I believe we should, but several others didn't think the same. Help?

Good to Go

Hi, Chick: It’s perfectly OK to fly a state flay without the U.S. flag. Thanks for caring so much to ask!

Front Porch Flag

This question may be weird but....here goes! I am an American Flag lover! I have a covered front porch and recently had the porch posts replaced so took down my porch flag holder. I would LOVE to put a flag in an antique flag stand on the porch (like an indoor flag is displayed) instead of hanging from a post bracket. I have tall plants in pots in the summer and they often interfere with my flag. Is it OK to display a flag this way? It would, of course, be lighted or taken in at night. Your input is appreciated!

Let's Hear It for a Flag Lover!

Hi, Jeannine: Weird question? No such thing! We SPECIALIZE in weird! It’s perfectly acceptable to do what you propose. Just make sure that the stand is somewhere on the left-hand side of the porch as you face the house. Thanks for being weird! Oops, we mean thanks for asking!

Half American/Half confederate flag hybrid

Hello,
My roommate has a flag up in our room that I find offensive on multiple levels, but primarily I find it disrespectful to the American flag. The left half of the flag is the American flag, and it blends halfway through into the confederate flag. No one on the residential life staff seems to take this seriously enough to realize how offensive this is. I have family fighting for this country, and she just disrespect the flag. She went to a military high school, and she was in my ROTC class last semester, so she should know the level of dignity the flag deserves. Also, from a symbolic lense, the flag represents a return to the antiquated ideals of the confederacy. I also found out she did this from a place of hate, to make me feel uncomfortable for not being ethnically white. Is this something that should be expected, or even accepted? I know I'm going to school in the south and she's grown up here, but I hardly find this excusable.

Remember

Hi, Jacqueline: Thank you so much for writing us, and sorry for what you are going through. Listen, as the saying goes, Flags Happen. Just know that you are not alone in this great nation in being “forced” to be in the presence of something disrespectful to Old Glory. We always tell people this: Every time you look at a disrespected flag, remember that it is possible only because of the sacrifice of many millions of Americans who fought for our freedoms and fought for someone to have the right to disrespect the flag under which they so nobly served. In other words, don’t let that flag represent disrespect. Be bigger than that and understand that indeed its very presence in and of itself is honoring Old Glory in its deepest way. Thanks again for asking–and especially for being such a great patriot!

Distress flag

Hello. We have a presidential inauguration coming right up. Many Americans are extremely distressed about the turn our country is taking. May we fly our American flags upside down? Thank you.

Distress flag

Yes Mary, I plan on hanging one upside down in my window for 4 years starting tomorrow.

Flying the flag in distress

Anyone who flys the flag in a "distress" manner, because they cannot be mature enough to accept who our President is, should be called out publicly for being a domestic threat to our country ...PERIOD !!

"YOUR" LIBERAL BIAS

It disgusts me how this that fought,some died in MY family]y, to allow some "weak" accepting "PERSON" (IS IT?) - YOU, to fly OUR flag in DISTRESS.. IT "WAS" clearly stated I WATCH AS much as I can, "OF" people on the INTERNET, NOT EDITED PROGRAMED garbage on an IDIOT BOX. It was stated we just had our FIRST MUSLIM PRESIDENT.. "that FACT" was QUICKLY stopped and NOT ever repeated,,,Hmm... are you SO DENSE to NOT "SEE" what IS going on? NEW WORLD ORDER a much? Shame on "YOU"! YOU are what is CAUSING the conflict, share this... less you are too embarrassed to!

Upside Down

Hi, Mary: This is a great question, which is really “Is it OK to make a statement with the flag?” The answer to this is no, because Old Glory is a statement of patriotism in and of herself and should not be mixed with other messages. Another little sticky point in this particular instance is that flying the flag upside down is, yes, a symbol of distress – but it’s a symbol of distress as in “Send HELP!” It’s like calling 9-1-1 with the flag. So you wouldn’t want to be crying wolf here when all you are really wanting to do is show your strong opinion. Thank you for asking and for caring so much!

CRY WOLF?

So, you write it SHOULD "NOT" be flown UP SIDE DOWN unless a REAL emergency, yet STATED "ewe" WILL FLY "YOURS" the next FOUR YEARS? Communist? Because YOUR feeling are hurt? Can't stand to RESPECT THE NATION that "ALLOWS" protest, "ewe" have to WALK ALL over that and BLAME ANYONE butt "YOURSELF!

non red white and blue flags

I've been seeing flags made out of old wood with stained or burned stripes, instead of red white and blue. Or some have a single blue or red stripe to honor police and fire fighters. Is this okay? Or should all flags be red white and blue no matter what the material is?

Thanks

Flag Art

Hi, Danny: Should all U.S. flags be red, white, and blue? Yes, if they are meant to be flags. But if they are meant to be art of some sort, that’s a different story – and we didn’t get to be the “Old” Farmer by messing with art. Different renderings of the basic stars and stripes theme occur by the thousands, but that doesn’t make them proper. Still, the fact that people have the freedom to display them and not be thrown in the clinker represents one of the basic freedoms that Old Glory represents, so in a sense “art flags” and other knock-offs are a wonderful honoring of the real deal. Thanks for asking!

Hybrid Flag?

I am planning a women's health event and wanted to pass out mini flags for participants to hold during the 5k. Would it be okay/respectful for the flags to have the U.S flag on one side and the pink breast cancer awareness flag on the other side? If not, are there any other respectful ways to display both flags at once? Thanks!

Tie a Yellow Ribbon ... er, Pink

Hi, Lauren: Thanks for this unusual question! No, it’s not cool to have something on the other side of Old Glory. You might think that perhaps it might be possible to “fly” the U.S. flag at one end of the little staff and the breast cancer one on the other, holding it in the middle like a flag drill team member who twirls the double flag sticks, but that too is not kosher. What we suggest is also not found in the “rulebook” anywhere, but if you won’t tell that we said so, what you might do is tie a pink ribbon streamer at the top of each of your mini flags, which would certainly reinforce the message. Thanks for caring enough to ask and good luck!

To my last comment

Following to my last comment, I just don't know what to really do and I feel very terrible about it.

Accidentally stepped on a Flag

Hello, I ACCIDENTLY stepped on a US flag and I feel terrible, is there anything I can do to show that I didn't mean to do it or anything like that. I'm not sure how to put it but I think you would understand what I mean. Thanks

Forgiven

Hi, John: Thank you for being so conscientious! We know how you feel, but sometimes accidents happen. We’re sure that this is neither the first time that the U.S. flag has been accidentally disrespected, nor the last. But if your heart is in the right place, as yours is, no harm was done. You can continue to be the great patriot you are with a clear conscience and no worries. You’re forgiven! Thanks again, and Happy Holidays!

Flag

I laughed when I saw that there were rules and regulations for the American flag. It's a piece of material just like my clothing and deserves less respect as it is not even useful. I do not salute any flag nor do I stand for national anthems. I am not a puppet of my government or society. One day a rain will come and wash away all the scum from the streets. Worshiping a flag will not save anyone from this. It is a ridiculous practice. I am going to buy a few flags and do the very opposite to every rule and regulation I can find. This is going to be fun! Stay tuned.

flag

Well Brian if you are a member of this society and reap the benefits of this society perhaps you should consider showing a bit more respect

Disrepecting the American flag

Hey Brian you P.O.S !! Sin e you are such a tough guy and have no common sense what so ever...I'm sure real Americans like myself would love to know where you live...so we can pay you a visit and let you know what a piece of trash you really are !!

Sorry you are as "ewe" are

I was taught if I had nothing GOOD to say. DON'T, I feel for your Mother must NOT have taught manners?

Flag commit by brian

Hi Brian
You need to leave this great country since you have no idea what our flag symbolizes.

Superstitious people

People who are so superstitious as to worship a piece of cloth will some day come to thier senses.
Brian you are absolutely right.
Thank you for speaking the truthful facts.

Difference?

Evidently you don't realize two things, Chris (if that is your name):

1) There is a HUGE difference between "worshipping" something, and showing proper respect and reverence for it.

2) The original poster is a troll, and doesn't give a damn if you agree with him, in fact, he's likely laughing at you for doing so. He wanted to get a rise out of someone because he's a pathetic human being with nothing better to do, and sadly, it worked. What he REALLY wanted, though, was to get a rise out of the site admins, and you notice they haven't responded (probably because they're smart enough to understand what I just said without being told).

In short, learn what "worship" means (hint: worship and respect aren't the same word for a reason), and learn to think for yourself. Have a nice day!

U.S. Flag

When I put my flag outside by my door on a mount, is it necessary to lower it to half mass as well?

Staff Half-Mast

Hi, Gabe: If your flag is permanently attached to the staff, then the way to acknowledge half-mast is to also fly a black streamer from the top of the staff. If you don’t have a black streamer, then it is preferable to leave the flag as is rather than totally take it down. Thanks for asking!

Respect...

Armand Catanero, he did EXACTLY as he is supposed to do. Stand, hand over heart until the anthem is over. I don't know where this was, but there should been no Mexican anthem or flag raised on American soil. That is improper, and disrespectful to our flag and history.

"pledging"

I have a question. My neighbor and I were in our community clubhouse, watching Monday night football, on television. The us flag was displayed and national anthem played during pre-game(as was the Mexican flag and anthem). my neighbor stood and placed his hand over his heart, at this presentation. I do not believe this is necessary or correct. moreover, he did not do the same for the Mexican flag and anthem. Certainly respectful behavior for one should be accorded to the other. But I do not believe he should have stood in the first place

Indoor Anthem

Hi, Armand: Thanks for this interesting and somewhat complicated question. The game to which you refer no doubt was the one held on Nov. 21, 2016, in Mexico City. Hence the Mexican flag rules govern (and this is why their anthem was played last). At this point, let’s take a step back and remember that the U.S. Flag Code is voluntary, and no one (except the military, under military codes) is “required” to do anything. Fortunately and thankfully, though, millions of Americans like you take this stuff very seriously, which is one of the many strengths of our country. So, was it necessary for your neighbor to stand with hand over heart? No, but it was a very nice patriotic gesture. Was it correct? Sure: The more gestures of respect toward our anthem and flag, the better. (In fact, though, flag etiquette is meant to be applied in the physical presence of the flag, not when it is present via media.) Should he have done likewise for the Mexican flag and anthem? Up to him. There’s nothing necessarily disrespectful toward another flag if you choose to honor only your own. By the same token, when both the Canadian and U.S. anthems are played at National Hockey League contests involving teams from both countries, one country’s fans don’t sit down when the other country’s anthem is being played. They stand for both. Like we said, it’s complicated. But here’s something that isn’t: When people somehow don’t follow the Flag Code exactly, or if they accidentally do something wrong, or even if they just plain hate flags altogether, that’s OK. In fact, millions of servicemen and -women have carried the flag across all or part of four centuries to guarantee that these people have the freedom to act as they do. We always look at “flag transgressors” not as a bunch of lowlifes, but as folks who are honoring the basic precepts for which the flag stands. That’s what freedom means. Thanks for asking and thanks for being such a patriot!

Lowering the flag

Is is ever ok to lower the flag, roll it up in a ball and then take it inside to fold?

Having a Ball, Not

Hi, Tonya: Well, rolling it up into a ball might be carrying things to the extreme, but yes: If conditions require, it is perfectly OK to gently and carefully gather up a lowered flag and carry it inside for proper folding. Thanks for asking!

Flag protocol for presentation during the pledge/or passing by

I have researched the U.S. code, military regulations, policies, directives, etc.
From what I discern, people, including those in the military/veterans should
remain at attention when the colors are marched in (inside building) for presentation for pledge and not salute until command "Salute" is given, and pledge is begun.

They should drop salute on command of "Order Colors".

The confusion is over people wanting to salute as it passes by them. But what I read, the "passing by" salute is only for parades, etc.

Thanks sincerely.

m

I cannot find an answer in my

I cannot find an answer in my books! I was told: "All soldiers wear a flag patch with the stars in the upper RIGHT corner, representing honor and respect for those who served, a symbol of unity. It is how The Flag appears as the flag bearer runs into battle." I've never heard this. Is it correct information? (Wouldn't the perspective change depending which side of the Flag Bearer you were on?) The subject came up today when American Flag patches were on a pro-football coaching staff's uniforms with the stars in the upper right corner. Thank you so much for this site!! :) Patti

Hi, Patti: Common practice

Hi, Patti: Common practice among the armed services (and now others) has become to have the union (blue) toward the front of the wearer, with the stripes “flowing” toward the rear, as if running into battle. Thus on the right sleeve the flag would be “backwards” and on the left sleeve it would be in its traditional position with the union at the upper left. If a flag patch is worn on the front or back of apparel, it should be in the traditional orientation. Great question, and thanks for caring so much!

I am hosting a Topping Off

I am hosting a Topping Off Ceremony/Event for a New Building and they would like to have two American Flags at the event hanging off of two different Buildings. Is this okay? I was told it was proper etiquette to only have one flag at the location, but I have not been able to find any supporting documents stating that.

I would go or call your local

I would go or call your local Veteran's Legion Hall. They will be able to let you know if it is ok.

Hi, Jennifer: It’s perfectly

Hi, Jennifer: It’s perfectly OK to have two flags at the same location, and best to have them at the same level, if possible. Thanks for asking!

When you are part of an honor

When you are part of an honor guard moving a flag from one spot to another and everyone in the room is saluting the flag, is the honor guard supposed to salute the flag as they walk or do they walk with their hands at their sides.?

Are you supposed to salute the flag for any other song other then the National Anthem?

Also, when saluting the flag and the flag is on a pole, is anyone supposed to touch it and hold it out or is it supposed to be free falling?

Hi, Kathy: Wow, been savin’

Hi, Kathy: Wow, been savin’ up those questions, huh? Good for you! 1. The honor guard does not salute its own flag (or any flag). Technically (and traditionally) speaking, they are supposed to be using all of their senses and energy to be alert to “guard” and protect the flag, so being in the salute position would not be optimal. 2. Well, again technically speaking, you can salute (for military; hand over heart for civilians) the flag any time you please, and more power to you! But no, there is no other song besides the national anthem that “requires” saluting. 3. The flag should always be free, just like our great nation! Thanks for asking!

Wear flag as costume?

My daughter's class is dressing as military and she is supposed to be the flag. They want her to make a costume and not just hold a flag. Would it be inappropriate to sew 2 flags together, leave a space for her head to fit in and have her wear it? Or would I need to make my own?

No part of the U.S. flag

No part of the U.S. flag should be used as a costume. That said, you could certain use stripes and stars and create something patriotic. But making a garment made from an actual flag would not be considered good flag etiquette.

Burning/Disposal Rules of Unserviceable Flags

For those who may not know, there are specific rituals and reasoning for proper way to dispose of "Unserviceable Flags". These guidelines are easily viewed via American Legion's site. (Easier and more appropriate in this incidence rather than to flood tish blog).

legion.org/flag/ceremony (Just need to add the www and stuff. This site will not allow links. Again, if it weren't so voluminous I would just paste the text).

Thanks for posting the etiquette.

torn flag

My flag at work is torn. I will have another one to replace it in a few days. Should the torn one be taken down until then or can I leave it up until the new one arrives?

Torn

Hi, Lisa: It’s really a matter of degree. If it is torn to shreds, take it down. Tattered a bit, leave it up. Either way, Uncle Sam is smiling upon you for asking!

I was just informed by a

I was just informed by a Veteran (that was walking by), that I should not be flying our flag the way it was( It just has a little of the hem torn). He told me I needed to take it down so it could be destroyed and that it is disrespectful to fly a flag that is ripped. I did what I was asked, and brought it in till I can get a new one.

When flown at half mast

When the American flag is flown at half mast and other flags are being flown
on the same pole or adjacent poles how should other flags be flown.
I saw an American flag at half mast at a post office and another flag was above it on the same pole. They switched the normal positions to accommodate half staf.

Thank You for your help
Frank

Flagpole No-No

Hi, Frank: No flag should ever be flown above Old Glory on the same pole. Regarding adjacent poles, while it would technically be OK to leave these flags at full-staff (it really depends on what they are, too), proper decorum and respect for the U.S. flag would be shown only if they too were lowered to half-staff or taken down altogether. Thanks for caring so much!

Interesting blog post - I

Interesting blog post - I Appreciate the facts - Does anyone know where I might be able to get access to a blank VA 27-2008 example to complete ?

Flag for Veteran Burial

Hi, Brian: Just search online for that form number and it will take you right to a downloadable one that you can print. Good luck!

WITH CASKET ON BIAR, AND HEAD

WITH CASKET ON BIAR, AND HEAD IS TO THE RIGHT OF FAMILY, WHEN FLAG IS REMOVED AND DIPLAYED IN
PREPERATION FOR FOLDING, THE FIELD IS TO THE RIGHT. IS THIS A CORRECT DISPLAY?

Hi, Joseph: Not sure if we

Hi, Joseph: Not sure if we are understanding you correctly, but when a flag is draped over a coffin, the union (blue) should basically be over the left shoulder of the deceased. How the bier is oriented in the room does not affect how the flag is placed. Hope this helps and thanks for asking!

How can you find out when a

How can you find out when a flag is to be flown at half mast. With everything going on in this world today it seems like it is flown more often at half mast and I don't want to be disrespectful to our flag.

Half-Staff Alerts

Hi, Jennifer: Proclamations of special half-staff flyings come from the President at whitehouse.gov, but they are hard to find even there, and this requires an active search on your part. However, if you search online for “half staff notifications,” you’ll find a number of private companies that push out social media or email alerts when the flag should be at half-staff, which makes your role passive. Bear in mind that you will need to give them your contact information, though. Thanks for asking this great question, and good luck!

Flagpole etiquette

There's much information found about etiquette in regards to the flag itself, but I would like to know what is proper in regards to the flag pole. I had an inquiry as to whether or not a security camera can be mounted on a flagpole. While it doesn't seem proper to me, I really can't find anything to substantiate that. Can you elaborate?

Pole Pix

Hi, Alice: Thank you for caring so much about this. Mounting anything on a (U.S.) flagpole is undesirable, as it detracts from the dignity of the flag. However, strictly speaking, there is no advisory against doing so… well, other than here! Thanks again!

Displaying the US flag on home.

Living in a condo association I was told I could not display a US flag. I understand there should be guidelines for where and how the flag should be displayed, but should be able to have the flag. Is this not a law to be able to display the flag?

There Oughtta Be a Law

Hi, Tamyra Joy: Unfortunately, there is no law enabling display of the flag, other than your right to freedom of speech. And, you probably signed something in the condo agreement that gave up the right in this case. But keep trying… perhaps it’s not a question of the flag itself, but of size and/or placement. Thanks for asking!

Half Staff

When a half staff date is on a Sunday (like this year 9/11) and the flag is flown at a business where no one is working on Sunday, what is the appropriate thing to do? Fly the flag at full staff throughout the weekend? or lower it to half staff on Friday evening and raise again on Monday morning? Thanks

Weekends with Ed

Hi, Ed: A little late with this answer to a great question, but for future use: This boils down to which is preferable, flying half when should be full or flying full when should be half. The answer is flying full when should be half (always maximizing the honor bestowed on the flag), so in this case it would be left up all weekend. Thanks for asking!
 

Carry a flag in a parade with rain

We have a parade coming up, but it is very likely going to rain. What is the etiquette in this situation? Don't carry the flag?

Reined In

Hi, Jennifer: Thanks for taking the time to ask! Yes, it would be advisable not to carry the flag if it is raining, or to be able to furl and cover it properly if it starts dry and then begins to rain. Sometimes the type of plastic sleeve used on a folded beach umbrella can be quickly slipped onto a furled flag as a temporary means of protection. Thanks again, and stay as dry as you can!

What days around holidays should the flag be flown?

I can find a list of holidays when the flag should be flown. Let's take Labor Day as an example. Labor Day is always on a Monday, what day should I start flying my flag and what day should I take it down?

Open-Ended

Hi, Tracy: Since Old Glory can (and really should) be flown every day, there is no set time before a federal holiday when it should be raised and none afterward for when it should be taken down. Thanks for asking!

Changing the american flag

The lawenforcementtoday.com website is offering an american flag, changed to black and white with blue stripe for police...though i thoroughly support the police, i dont support changing the American flag...

Making a flag

I am an art student from Denver, Colorado and I am making an interactive piece. My idea was to make an american flag out of bought materials and sew it all together and then go to downtown Denver and have all of the homeless Veterans sign my homemade flag to bring awareness to the amount of homeless veterans we have here. Would this be acceptable or is this still illegal? if it is illegal, if i made it out of paper would that be okay to have people sign?

The Art of Flag Signing

Hi, Paige: What a great idea and question, thanks! As it stands, your idea would not really be proper, regardless of what the flag was made of. It would not be illegal, in that you would not be breaking any law, but having people sign a flag is technically a no-no. BUT, it would seem to us that the solution to your challenge might be to ask them to sign the various pieces of the flag before it is assembled, and then put the flag together afterward. That would be great! Good luck and thanks again!

Night time flag

If the flag that is mounted on the side of a house on a pole is left out all night is it ok if there is no light. Or should it be brought in every night?

Seeing the Light

Hi, Ed: It should be either lit or brought in. Thanks for caring so much to ask!

Placement at a residence

I was wondering if there's any truth to installing a flag pole either centered on you doorway or to the right of it? As I look around the neighborhood, they seem to be in multiple places.

Multiple Successes

Hi, Randy: As long as it is mounted properly, there is no restriction as to where a flag should be placed in relation to a doorway. Thanks for asking!

Placement of flag in a parade

Our local volunteer fire department had parade during their festival days. They had our VFW color guard behind two fire dept. vehicles. I argued that a flag should lead the parade. I won my case but I think I caused some hard feelings. Was I wrong? I can't find anything about if the flag should lead.

Where is the front?

Hi, Dunkle: There is no specific rule that says the flag should lead a parade, although this is certainly preferred. If you stop and think about it, there are many parades with flag units embedded within, each of which is not at the front. But congratulations on your instinct, action, and end result!

I am both a Marine Corps and

I am both a Marine Corps and Army vet who currently works on a Navy Facility and as I drove on Base this week I noticed the flag being flown above the main entrance is torn in multiple spots. What specific regulation would cover the condition and replacing of the flag.
Thanks!

U.S. Code

Hi, Sean: There is no military reg that we know of that covers this, unless there is one that endorses the U.S. Code. But FYI, U.S. Code, Chapter 4, Title 1, section 8(k) states: 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. Thanks for asking, and good luck!

Storing American Flag at night or during inclement weather

I have a wall mounted flag pole which is not illuminated at night. What is the proper way to store the flag while it is not being flown?

Temp Storage

Hi, Pete: Thanks for caring so much to ask! If the flag can be detached from the staff, then the proper way is to fold it correctly and set it inside in a clean place. If the flag cannot be detached and the staff itself must be taken down, then it is OK to temporarily roll the flag on the staff and set the staff in a protected place. Thanks again!

How high off the ground should a flag be hung?

I often see people whose American flag is mounted too low to the ground, and in some cases it is touching the ground. If a flag is mounted to the house or on a column of the house, is there an approximate distance from the ground it should be hung?

How Low Can You Go?

Hi, Karen: As a rule of thumb, the bottom point of a U.S. flag should be mounted no lower than twice the length of the flag. Thanks for asking!

small U.S. "flags"

Is a U.S. flag size 4" X 6" thjat you would use as decoration or to stick in the ground along a driveway considered a real flag?

Little Question

Hi, Bill: Absolutely! And this is sort of like the old saying about minor roles in a theater play: “There are no small roles, only small actors” (who think they are too big to play the small roles). Here, while both we and you would call these flags “small,” we need to remember that there are no small Old Glorys. The heart of the U.S. flag has no size–only strength and duration–so all flags are “big.” Thanks for being so patriotic!

How often does an American

How often does an American flag need to be replaced?

Whenever

Hi, Jerusha: Great question! There is no set time period… replacement should be made when the flag is tattered, frayed, torn, permanently soiled, or faded… and that can be whenever! Thanks for asking!

Neighbor is using the flag to purposely block our ocean view

As a veteran of the United States Army, I'm appalled and furious that my neighbor is vendictivly using the American flag to block our view. I think it's absurd that he's doing this, especially as a 65 year old man, who supposedly prides himself on being a old fireman. If there's anything you can do to help it would be GREATLY appreciated!

neighbor disrespecting the American flag- what can I do!???

I am totally upset - I live in Illinois (Land of Lincoln) my neighbor has hung an American flag from a tree to a 10ft PVC pipe that he put in the ground to hang the flag above a not quite 4 ft chain link fence. He is using the American flag as a source of privacy in his yard. I have called the local city housing dept and they tell me that there is no law that says he can't hang it from the tree. I called the local police and the mayors office - no one does anything -
It sickens me to see the American flag disrespected this way- it hangs in the same spot thru rain, wind, lightning, storms. It touches the fence at times (and according to the US Veterans Of Affairs, Washington,DC states that the flag is suppose to be taken down at night unless illuminiated with a light - it also states that nothing is to be below the flag that it can touch -it frequently touches his fence. I have even resorted to writing the neighbor a letter telling him that I felt that he is disrespecting the flag and to please take the flag down out of the tree. When it rains and the wind whips the flag it twists it and it hearts my heart its the first thing I see when I drive up into my driveway and it sickens me everytime I have to leave or come home.

Take Heart

Hi, Kathy: We totally understand your heartbreak, as we hear isolated similar stories from time to time. For one thing, rest assured that the number of folks who care about and honor Old Glory are many orders of magnitude greater than those who don’t, so you have millions and millions of sympathizers. But here is what we always say, and we especially say to you right now: Take heart. Don’t let this disrespect hurt your heart. Every time you see this disrespect, use it not as a focus of anger and heartache, but as a time for joy and celebration of the millions of service people who have fought over the centuries so that disrespecters have the right to be disrespectful. When you see something like this, let it remind you not of something bad, but of something good and bigger than all of us put together: Freedom. So don’t despair. Let this be a positive reminder, not a negative eyesore. Look at it as a beautiful thank-you to the troops across the ages. And thank you so much for caring so much!

Flag at half mast

Is it appropriate to fly a flag underneath the American flag while at half mast?

Two-at-one-half

Hi, James: Yes, it is! Thanks for asking!

What do you do if the flag is on fire?

As some of us well know, protesters set a flag on fire during the DNC. My friends and I want to know, if you see an American flag that has been set on fire--intentionally or unintentionally--how are you "supposed" to extinguish it? If you don't have any water or a fire extinguisher, are you "allowed" to step on the flag to stamp out the fire, so that later you can properly retire the flag?

Proper Steps

Hi, Ian: Wow, this is a fantastic question–thanks for asking! Yes, you are allowed to stomp on a flag to put a fire. The importance of the act of protecting the flag takes precedence over how you do it. Thanks again!

Law Enforcement

In the light of recent events, our community would like to show our appreciation to law enforcement. We have 2 tall flagpoles, one at our town hall and another at our beach. We would like to fly a "Thin Blue Line" flag below the US Flag. Is this in violation of any etiquette associated with flying the US flag?

Fly Away

Hi, Donna: This would not be in violation of any etiquette–thanks for caring so much!

Tattered American Flag

I am a history teacher, I recently found an old tattered American Flag at my mother's house and wanted to know if it would inappropriate to hang in my classroom? I like the look of old tattered flags. Thank you

Time to Retire

Hi, Omar: It really is not advisable to display a tattered flag, unless it has some sort of historical significance, in which case it should be in a case preferably. Perhaps there is a great teachable moment here on how to properly retire a flag. Your local veterans organization would no doubt be happy to help. Thanks for asking!

My precious Flag

I fly my flag proudly on my truck. I love my country with all my heart. I was at work yesterday and a gentleman went up to my friend and aked who's truck was that that was flying the American flag ? She told him it was Sherry inside the store he told her to tell me to retire my flag for it is disrespectful because it is torn she told the gentleman OK. Then she called me in the store and told me what he had said. It had started to rain so she went out to see if my windows were rolled up lo and behold the gentleman had literally ripped my flag off my pole leaving pieces of my American flag stuck to the pole. To say the least I was devastated I was so crushed I was bawling I cannot believe that somebody would do that to my American flag that I have been flying for three years since I got my truck . Yes I change them every four months or so when they do get tattered I just have not had a chance to change it yet. I get honks and waves all my customers come and say thank you for loving Our Country. Why would someone do this. Although I did not know about not flying tadder flags and this situation brought me to your site to get educated. I'm so hurt. Any suggestion on what kind of flag I could buy that will with stand flying on my truck. Money is tight but I love my Counrty and proudly want to fly my flag. God Bless the USA.

The Right Stuff

Hi, Sherry: You are the stuff of which great patriotism is made. Take solace in knowing that there are many, many millions like you. And keep on flyin’!

Bunting fan flag rules

Hi, I have 2 questions. We just bought a house and get the keys on July 21st. We want to put bunting fans along our upper deck railing. 1) do we need to light these at night? If so, would keeping the deck light on be sufficient or does each fan need it's own light? 2) since these are a holiday type decoration in the suburbs, will it be proper etiquette to hang after the 4th ?

Bunting Forever

Hi, Aggie: Congratulations from the OFA on your new house! As a decoration, rather than flag, bunting does not need to be lit at night. And it’s perfectly OK to hang patriotic bunting (properly) anytime and anywhere you want! Good luck!

Half staff with POW flag?

Our local Boy Scout troop has responsibility for the town flagpole in our town. Every Memorial Day they perform a flag ceremony where they lower last years American and POW flags and raise new ones. The POW flag is attached below the US flag. Our town is very proud of this tradition and display. My question is on occasions where the flag should be lowered to half staff, should the POW flag be removed or is it proper to leave it attached to the halyard when the flags are flying half staff?

Both OK

Hi, Harry: It’s fine to leave it attached below Old Glory–great question!

Time to put this to rest

I work armed security at night at a private "dooms day bunker" silo. We have armed security guards 24/7 365. Most of us are Law Enforcement officers & military, some both. One guy only has experience working in Corrections & for a different security company, I'll call him Dave.
My question stems from this..... The last 2 years on the 4th of July Dave has duct taped a small American flag onto a pole near our guard shack. Both years I've come to work at 11:00 pm for my shift to find the flag still up but unlit. Both years previous military (one military contractor & one Marine) worked the 3pm-11pm shift and to my surprise were allowing the flag to stay up unlit. All 3 of their responses to my request to honor the flag by taking it down at night has been "if the flag is displayed on a 24/7 armed post is does not have to be lit". I cannot find any flag etiquette that states these rules that they say apply to military 24/7 posts. The other part that is bothersome to me is they were told this rule by a previous security leader employed here who was fired due to lying & stolen Valor.
Please help me put this question to rest. Thank you!

Armed or Not

Hi, Megan: From a technical standpoint, all U.S. flags flown at night should be lit. We can see why your very well-meaning and patriotic associates would want to leave it up, but there is no distinction made between armed and unarmed posts, or between any post and your backyard, for that matter. The exception, of course, would occur if a military order were issued to fly an unlit flag at night–say, for example, to forcefully declare the establishment of a position–in which case the order would rightfully be carried out. Thanks for the question, and thanks for what you “guys” do!

Military & US Flag Code

Are there any DOD or US military requirements that service members must abide by the US Flag Code? I noticed that the military Exchange (AAFES) sells napkins and other items printed with the US Flag which is disrespectful according to the US Flag Code. I called AAFES HQ to address this but have been informed that the code uses the term "should", not "shall" so they are just profiting from a demand.

Optional

Hi, Tom: Indeed, the U.S. Flag Code is optional and thus reliant on a combination of patriotism and good taste everywhere. You can be the judge. Oops, looks like you already have been! Thanks for caring so much!

2 American flags on the same pole

A friend of mine just sent me a picture of 2 American flags flying at half mast on the same pole at the Courthouse Square in Prescott, AZ. Any idea why they would do this?

Two for Two

Hi, Angela: Tough to say, not being able to see, but sometimes this is done to commemorate two deaths–although technically it is not proper flag etiquette. Great question, thanks!

Porch flag/half mast

I have a flag flying from a post on my porch. The piece that holds the flag has two slots. One at a 45 degree angle upward and one at a 90 straight out. Is the 90 for flying the flag at half mast.

Good Question!

Hi, Jim: No, the lower slot is not for half-mast, which for a flag like this would be indicated by adding a black streamer to it (search below for more about streamers). The two slots are to give the user the option of which to use (either is OK, and remember, not all circumstances are the same) or to allow a second (non-U.S., such as state) flag to be flown below Old Glory. Thanks for asking!

Flag

I fly my flag 24/7/365... it is ragged and fading.. just like me... if you do not like my flag... get your own..

I agree with you! You tell

I agree with you! You tell them!
I just recently had someone leave a note on my porch telling me to take my "tattered flag" down.
The nerve....

In other words you are

In other words you are putting your own pride ahead of the flag. No one is saying to get rid of it. If it has sentimental value, put it in a case and keep it that way.

You may be "old and tattered" but the flag does not represent you. It represents the country.

Donating a flag for a small town city hall

I would like to donate a USA flag to our city hall to only be inside building - as they do not have one-
My husband a nam vet and now dead - was involved with the community be it local goverment or what have you - now our daughter was selected to work as the city clerk which I know my husband would be ever so proud of her for taking on such a job-but to our dismay she said mom- the state seal is on wall but no flag of any sort - what kind and what size or what????

A Proud Family

Hi, Danielle: Looks like yours has always been a wonderful, patriotic family–you must be so proud. It sounds to us like all you need to do is have you or your daughter ask the City Fathers and/or Mothers (i.e., City Council or Mayor) what would be appropriate and how to go about donating it. Thanks for thinking of this!

Flying historical flags

I am a vet from the 60's & live in a small town in central MN, where I also serve on the city council. Earlier this year, we had an individual display a couple of Conferate battle flags in their front windows. About a week later, another person attached another such flag to the second floor, outside their house. Needless to say, many in the town are upset (both locations are on a somewhat heavenly traveled trunk highway directly through the middle of town) & we have been advised that
there is nothing leaglly we can do to stop the display. So, I decided to fly the US flags of the 1860's (there were two: 34 & 35 Stars & Stripes used during the Civil War) on my own flagpoles. Some folks have asked me if protocol would allow the city to fly either flag on the city's flagpole located at our veteran's memorial? For that matter, is it within protocol to fly any historical, official US flag on any government location? I am sure we are not the only location in the US that is faced with this problem. Sorry for the long comment, but wanted to explain the complete circumstances. Thank you for this service.

Historically Speaking

Hi, Alex: Sometimes we think that you folks lie awake nights trying to come up with situations that will cause us to lie awake nights in trying to figure them out. But seriously, this is a fantastic question over which we didn’t lose that much sleep. Historical flags are sort of in a netherworld of their own. They are a U.S. flag, but they are not the U.S. flag (which has superceded it at some point). So, in terms of hierarchy and treatment, they rank below Old Glory yet above all other nongovernmental flags. Is it OK to fly either historical flag at your veterans memorial? Yes, in the same way that you could fly any flag you choose there. But bear in mind that the historical flag does not represent the same patriotic oomph that Old Glory does. A great way to use historical flag(s) at memorials is with more than one flagpole, with Old Glory highest and historical flag(s) on separate pole(s) lower. This marries the present with the past, as memorials do. But, basically, historical flags are history (however important and poignant) and Old Glory is The United States of America. FWIW, we would not replace Old Glory with a historical flag at your memorial, even though this sounds like a great idea and no doubt the heart is in the right place. Thanks for asking!

Historically Speaking

Thank you so very much for you rapid reply. You made an outstanding point about always flying Old Glory. Our memorial has the high pole & 5 shorter ones for each of the major services which we could use for 34 & 35 star flags. Thanks again for your guidance.

Historically Speaking

Thank you so very much for you rapid reply. You made an outstanding point about always flying Old Glory. Our memorial has the high pole & 5 shorter ones for each of the major services which we could use for 34 & 35 star flags. Thanks again for your guidance.

Perhaps late but..

I realize this likely comes a bit too late, but while I certainly understand the sentiment behind it all, and do not agree with people flying the confederate flag unless it is for historical purposes, flying an 1860's US flag may be found inconsiderate to those who fought back then as they, in the end, were Americans as well, only flying another flag (I realize they are no longer alive, but their memory is, regardless of rights or wrongs). It is one thing to fly a confederate or union flag on personal property, but public property should be given a lot of thought, and if the reason to fly any such flags is as a response to those flying "the other sides" flags, then I believe they would be flying for the wrong reason.

running races with a flag

If I were to run in 5K races with a U.S. flag, what are the rules to be aware of? I know not to touch the ground of course. The flag would be of household size and be on a staff. Can the staff rest on a shoulder occasionally, or must it always be held more aloft? Thanks for the help!

Flag Run

Hi, Timothy: The most important thing is to show respect for the flag at all times and not get it dirty or bedraggled. Yes, the staff can rest on the shoulder occasionally, but it still needs to be at angle such that the flag is aloft, and not at an angle at the horizontal or lower, such that the flag is drooping. Thanks for caring!

Flag at Half Mast

When is appropriate to NOT fly a flag at half mast. We have a small pole on top of building.
If the flag is lowered to half mast on this pole it drags against the building. What are the times a flag does not need to be flown at half mast? I know that residential flags from the side of a building do not have to put in half mast. Is this the same for commercial building.
Thanks

Guy

Streamered II

Hi, Guy: Good for you, for not wanting to despoil the flag and recognizing the danger! You are asking when is it permissible to not fly the flag at half-staff when it is supposed to fly at half-staff. The solution for this is to fly a black streamer with the flag. Please see the Reply “Streamered” below on May 27, 2016. If you cannot fly a streamer for whatever reason, the choice then becomes whether to take the flag down completely or leave it up. And THAT answer is leave it up. Thanks for asking!

Showing a tattered flag to students

What a wonderful site! I teach 7th and 8th grade social studies which covers American history, government and economics. I recently inherited 6 American Flags from my grandfather who passed in 2014. Our family has a long military history. My great grandfather served in WWI, my grandfather served in WWII, one of my uncles served in the Navy, and one was killed in action in Vietnam. He was a Green Beret. My late grandfather loved this country and flew a flag in his yard every day of his 89 years of life. One of the flags I inherited in tattered and torn, frayed at the edges. This is the flag that flew in his yard for years. It was beautifully crafted with each piece sewn, not printed. This flag should be retired with all honors but my question is, would it be appropriate to preserve this flag to show to my students? Seeing real pieces of history is so much better than a picture on the internet!

Not Ready for Retirement

Hi, Sara: What a great idea! It would be MOST appropriate to keep this flag for educational purposes, being especially careful to treat it with respect, as we know you will! Keep on teachin’ on for Old Glory!

Question about flying the flag

My husband and I live on a very large lake in the Alaskan wilderness. 99% of the land around the lake is federal land, but we live on an island that is private land. The lake is 20 miles long and 5 miles across and is one of the most beautiful places in Alaska. In the summertime, it is widely used by boaters, kayakers, fishermen, etc. Much of the land around the lake has been burned by forest fires at different times throughout the decades, so there are many tree poles that were killed by fire, but still stand strong. We have thought about flying some flags from these tree poles as a reminder to all who use the lake and enjoy the beauty that there are those who have sacrificed all for our freedom to do so.. would this be an improper or unethical way to display our flag? There would be times when they would be left out in inclement weather as it's dangerous to go out on the water during storms. However, we would take them down at the end of the summer season. Thanks for your time to answer our question.

Alaska Answer Applies for All

Hi, Jill: This is one of the best questions we’ve ever had. Thank you for the detail. To start at the end of your question: It is proper to fly the U.S. flag in inclement conditions only if it is a weatherproof flag. Also, a flag flown at night needs to be lit. These conditions (or at least the latter) would seem to rule out your noble plan (which, if we understand it correctly, would involve you flying flags on federal property, which in itself might not be kosher). But the bigger question you raise–and it’s an important one–would seem to center on at what point patriotism/flag flying might become intrusive and/or counterproductive. For example, we would bet that there are millions and millions of people out there who are super patriotic and respectful of the flag, and yet would not feel the need to be reminded of this by a display in a wilderness to which they came for its pristine, untouched-by-man beauty. Improper? Unethical? Certainly not–your heart is definitely in the right place! But if you are flying Old Glory in a prominent way at your own place, that might seem to us like honor and reminder enough to others of the debt of gratitude we all owe to those who preserve and protect your beautiful space to begin with. Thanks again!

Flag gets stuck

First: I've read many of the questions and answer. Thank you for taking the time to help many of our fellow Americans learn the proper way to display, care for, maintain and retire our living and breathing symbol of freedom.
Second: I have a (approx 3' X 5') flag hanging from a flag staff attached to the side of the house, like many do. Occasionally, (2 times per week +/-) the wind will blow the lower corner of the flag UP and it will get caught in the gutter. I look at it every morning and every evening (as it flies 24/7/365 with proper lighting). I gently dislodge the corner from where it comes to rest in the gutter anytime I see it, never ignoring its condition. I have tried different angles of the staff and I have found the best angle that allows the least amount of these mishaps. (About 45 degrees, maybe a tad less) I am worried that it may still be inappropriate to even let this happen ONCE. Should I just abandon the idea of having it out there at all? (No other place to display it is available that would be at all visible from the street.). Or is it ok that it gets hung up on occasion, as long as it is tended to swiftly?

Weighty Subject

Hi, Darin: Wow! You are one of the most caring patriots we’ve ever had in this forum. To answer your question: Yes, it is perfectly OK if it gets hung up on occasion and you fix it. Such is the life of a flag! That being said, and bearing in mind that it is not proper to deface or alter the flag by adding something to it, and knowing that we will thus disavow all knowledge of this tip, let us share something an old-timer once showed us: Put a weight in the corner of your flag. Because of varying wind directions and speeds and who-knows-what-else, this doesn’t work all the time. But sometimes you can sew or tape (wrap in red ribbon first) juuuuusssst enough weight in the bottom corner of the flag to still allow it to fly freely yet be too heavy to be blown up and get snagged. Think coin(s), fishing sinker(s), or even fishing BB shot sinkers (not lead) sewn into a hem. But if no happy weight medium can be found, you are perfectly OK in continuing to help Old Glory along her way as you are now. Thanks for asking!

Honoring Our Flag

Darin,

I have been struggling with this situation recently myself, I can be found on my step ladder as well. My main concern is that the flag is in great shape but it is not as clean as I would like. I understand the ironic. I am humbled and grateful to be in the position I am that I have the opportunity to fly our Flag in my home every day...but can I Wash , Dry Clean??? Thank you ...Patti

Taken to the Cleaners

Hi, Patti: ABSOLUTELY, you can clean your flag! Go for it!

Flag etiquette

Yesterday the President declared that flags should be flown at half mast in remembrance of the terrible attack in Orland on Sunday. In our neighborhood we have several people who have very tall flag poles in their yards. Many of those people are retired military. Today I observed that not a single one of these flags is at half mast. Does the President’s declaration only apply to Flags in public places and not to flags in neighborhood yards?

We Do What We Can Do

Hi, Katja: Thank you for this excellent question! When the President orders flags to be flown at half-staff, this is required of (U.S.) government-controlled flags (and some others). Beyond that, whether to fly the flag at half-staff is up to the entity/individual flying the flag, because it becomes a matter of freedom of speech. From our experience over these many, many years, it has often appeared to be the case that people just don’t realize that their flag should be at half-staff. And, even more often than that, there is often a physical reason for noncompliance: the flag or halyard is stuck, or the owner is just too infirm to do it. Is there sometimes some laziness involved, maybe? No doubt, but we continue to believe that patriots’ hearts are in the right places, and that there are far more flags being flown at half-staff in their hearts and minds than there sometimes are on their property, because for one reason or another they are unable to do it. We give them the benefit of the doubt (because after all, they care enough to have a flag to begin with), just as we give you a huge patriot salute. Thanks again!

half staff

As a former military veteran I fly my flag proudly. I keep an app on my phone for www.azhalfstaff.com. The governor here sets dates for fallen soldiers, police, fire, etc. I try to keep up with it and follow along with it. But working 12 hour shifts it is not always easy to get these updates that you complained about your neighbors. That word does not always get publicized and maybe your neighbors didn't get the word. But as said above it is their right to recognize the president's request. I won't try to explain your neighbors. The fact that the take the time to fly the flag is far better than most Americans these days. I would worry more about it being flown properly. If at night a light be shown on it. Never in inclement weather. Never tattered. There are many rules of etiquette to fly. I would worry more about that. Many folks in this world are busy and can't keep up with all the times the flag should be lowered to half staff. The days you should look out for are certain holidays that it is ceremonial to fly at half staff/mast. Sometimes until noon and then raised to full staff. I would ask that if you fly your flag then you do it responsibly and if you so need then inquire with your neighbors why they fly theirs the way they do. Most folks out there will be honest with you. Maybe set up a neighborhood schedule to keep up. It would be nice to see a row of flags down a road that are in sync. Fly your flags proudly.

Here is how it played out

Just to let everyone know. The Honor Guard ceremony was held outside after the service. As we stood facing the Honor Guard, you could look across the church yard and see my folks house. One of the Honor Guards walked over and lowered their flag to half staff. After the 21 gun salute he then played taps from their front porch. He stood at Salute until the casket flag was folded and presented to my Mom. My nephew who is a Lt Col. presented the flag to Mom and he also raised their flag back to full staff.

Moved

Sounds very moving and appropriate–thanks for sharing!

My Dad passed away on

My Dad passed away on Memorial Day and his service will be Tuesday. He retired Army with many honors. Is it OK to fly the Flag on his property at half staff on the day of his funeral?

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