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Flag Etiquette

Standards of Respect

  The Flag Should:

  • Never be dipped to any person or thing. It is flown upside down only as a distress signal.
  • The flag should not be used as drapery, or for covering speakers desk, draping a platform or for any other decoration in general.
  • The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose. It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. Advertising signs should not be attached to the staff or halyard.
  • The flag should not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, except that a US flag patch may be used on the uniform of military, police, firefighters & members of patriotic organizations.
  • The flag should never have placed on it, attached to it, marked on it, insignia, letter, word, number, figure or drawing of any kind.
  • The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying or delivering anything.

When the flag is lowered no part of it should touch the ground or any other object; it should be received by waiting hands and arms. To store the flag it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously.

The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary.

When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed in a dignified manner.

*Note- Flag Systems will pick up your old worn flags free of charge and donate them to the American Legion or a Scout Troop.

Displaying the Flag Outdoors

When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting from a window, balcony, or a building the union should be at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half staff.

When the United States flag is displayed from the same flagpole with another flag-of a state, community, society, scout unit or business the US flag must always be at the top except that the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for Navy personnel when conducted by a Naval chaplain on a ship at sea.

When the flag is displayed over a street, it should be hung vertically, with the union to the north or east. If the flag is hung over a sidewalk, the flag's union should be farthest from the building.

When the flag is flown with state, community or society flags on a separate flagpoles which are the same height in a straight ling, the US flag should always be placed in the position of honor-to it's right.

  • The other flags may be smaller but none larger.
  • No other flag should ever be placed above it.
  • The flag of the US is always the first flag to be raised and the last to be lowered.

When the US flag is flown with other country flags each must be flown on a separate flagpole of the same height. Each flag should be the same size. They are to be raised and lowered simultaneously. The flag of one nation may not be displayed above one of another nation.

Raising and Lowering the Flag

The flag should be raised vigorously and lowered slowly. Ordinarily it should be displayed only between sunrise and sunset. It should be illuminated if displayed at night. The flag of the United States of America is saluted as it is hoisted and lowered. The salute is held until the flag is unsnapped from the halyard or through the last note of the music, whichever is the longest.

Displaying the Flag Indoors

When on display, the flag is awarded the place of honor, always positioned to it's own right. Place it to the right of the speaker or staging area or sanctuary. Other flags should be to the left.

The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags are grouped for display.

When one flag is used with the flag of the United States and the staffs are crossed, the flag of the United States is placed on it's own right with it's staff in front of the other flag.

When displaying the flag against a wall, vertically or horizontally, the flag's union (stars) should be at the top, to the flag's own right, and to the observer's left.

Parading and Saluting the Flag

When carried on a procession, the flag should be to the right of the marchers. When other flags are carried, the flag of the US may be centered in front of the others or when it is hoisted or lowered, all should face the flags and salute. 

The Salute

To Salute, all persons come to attention. Those in uniform give the appropriate formal salute. Citizens not in uniform salute by placing their right hand over their heart and men with head covers should remove it and hold it to their left shoulder, hand over their heart. Members of organizations in formation salute upon command of the person in charge.

The Flag in Mourning

To place the flag at half staff, hoist it up to the peak for a second and lower it to a position half way between the top and bottom of the staff. The flag is to be raised again to the peak for a moment before it is lowered. On Memorial day the flag is displayed at half staff until noon and at full staff from noon to sunset.

The flag is to be flown at half staff in mourning for designated, principal government leaders and upon presidential or gubernatorial order.

When used to cover a casket, the flag should be placed with the union(stars) at the head and over the left shoulder. It should not be lowered into the grave.

The Pledge of Allegiance and The National Anthem

The Pledge of Allegiance should be rendered by standing at attention, facing the flag and saluting.

When the National anthem is played or sung, citizens should stand at attention and salute the first note and hold the salute through the last note. The salute is directed to the flag, if the flag is displayed otherwise salute to the music.

*If you would like to learn more about the original Pledge of Allegiance click here*