I have my Red, White and Blue. Now what?
…Fly her! If you’ve never considered all the hows & whens to fly your flag, I urge you to read on.
First of all, there is a federal code that you must follow when displaying your flag for any occasion. Don’t worry, it’s only a “code” – not a law – and I promise if you make a blunder, nobody is going to come knocking at your door to hand you a ticket. But, this is our Star Spangled Banner we are talking about, and since we are patriotic, we ought to show our patriotism correctly!
- It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. If you fly her at night, shine a light!
- The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
- Take care of your flag. If it’s not all-weather proof, don’t fly it when it will get damaged.
- Don’t allow your flag to touch the ground or whatever it is hanging over.
- Never carry the flag flat or horizontally but always aloft and free.
- When it’s time to retire the flag, do so in a dignified way — preferably by burning.
- Hanging it against a wall? If so, display your flag horizontally or vertically with the union in the uppermost position and to the flag’s own right (the observer’s left).
- If displaying in a window, position the flag in the same way, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.
- When the flag is used to cover a casket, place it with the union at the head and over the left shoulder. Do not lower the flag into the grave or allow it to touch the ground.
- If you plan to fly the flag at half-staff, make sure to first hoist it to the peak for an instant and then lower it to the half-staff position. Before lowering it or taking it down for the day, once again, raise the flag to the top position before lowering.
- On Memorial Day, display the flag at half-staff until noon only and then raise it to the top of the staff.
I want to fly my USA flag with my other flags.
Your USA flag should be at the center and at the highest point when any number of flags are displayed, whether they’re flags of states, countries, or localities or if they’re pennants of societies.
I’m using a flag at an event.
- To display a flag on a platform, position it flat and above and behind the speaker.
- When displaying from a staff in a church or public auditorium, the flag of the United States of America should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience and in the position of honor at the clergyman’s or speaker’s right as he faces the audience.
- Place any other flag at such an event to the left of the clergyman or speaker or to the right of the audience.
When to raise your flag?
The flag should be displayed on all days, of course, but if you’re not a 365-day-a-year flag-flyer, here are some important days to display your flag.
January: New Year’s Day (January 1) and Inauguration Day (January 20)
February: Lincoln’s Birthday (February 12) and Washington’s Birthday (third Monday in February)
March: Easter Sunday (variable)
May: Mother’s Day (second Sunday in May); Armed Forces Day (third Saturday in May); Memorial Day (the last Monday in May — and remember, fly it half-staff until noon)
June: Flag Day (June 14)
July: Independence Day (July 4)
September: Labor Day (first Monday in September) and Constitution Day (September 17)
October: Columbus Day (second Monday in October) and Navy Day (October 27)
November: Veterans Day (November 11) and Thanksgiving Day (fourth Thursday in November)
December: Christmas Day (December 25)
*Other days: as may be proclaimed by the President of the United States; the birthdays of states (date of admission); and on state holidays.