How to Properly Fly the American Flag

The fundamental rule of Flag Etiquette is to treat all flags with respect and to use common sense in their display.

The Stars and Stripes takes precedence over all other flags when flown within the United States. It should not be shown smaller than another flag or flown below another flag. Other flags may be flown at the same height and at the same size. Other national flags should not be flown at a smaller size or below the Stars and Stripes. If this is not possible, the flags should not be displayed together at all.

The point of honor is on the extreme left from the standpoint of the observer ("the flag's right"). The proper order from left to right of flags shown together is: The Stars and Stripes, other national flags in alphabetical order, state flags, city and county flags, organizational flags, and personal flag.

If one flag is flown at half staff in mourning, all other flags must fly at half staff. First raise the flags to their peak, then lower to half staff. The Stars and Stripes is raised first and lowered last.

A salute (hand over heart for those not in uniform; Cowboys, remove your hats) should be rendered when the flag is raised, lowered, or carried past on a parade route; when the Pledge of Allegiance is recited, and when the National Anthem is played (unless the flag is not present).

It is proper to fly the flag at night, but only if it is illuminated.

The flag should not be flown in foul weather which might damage it.

To extend the life of a flag, it should be repaired when it is torn. Never fold a flag when it is wet.

When a flag is no longer dignified in appearance, it should be destroyed by burning in a ceremonial fashion. This can be handled by your local VFW, American Legion, or AmVets post.

In a public gathering, the Stars and Stripes should be to the right of the speakers or on the wall behind them.

The canton of the flag (the blue field with 50 stars) should always be to the observer's left, except:

    1) When the flag is displayed on a casket

    2) When displayed as a decal on the right hand side of a vehicle

    3) When worn as a patch on the right arm of a uniform (the left arm is preferable)

The Stars and Stripes should be in the center of a group of flags only when:

    1) The center pole is taller than the others

    2) When a fan-like arrangement makes the center pole higher than the others

While it is not illegal or improper to display any flag (state, ethnic group, organization, etc.) alone, it is always preferable to display the Stars and Stripes at the same time.

Flag Flying Holidays

Date Description
January 1 New Year's Day
3rd Monday in January Martin Luther King's Birthday
January 20th Inauguration Day
February 12th Lincoln's Birthday
3rd Monday in February President's Day
February 22nd Washington's Birthday

Easter Sunday

April 16th Army Day
3rd Sunday in May Armed Forces Day
Last Monday in May Memorial Day
May 30th Traditional Memorial Day
June 14th Flag Day
July 4th Independence Day
1st Monday in September Labor Day
September 11th Patriot's Day
September 17th Constitution Day
2nd Monday in October Columbus Day
November 11th Veteran's Day
4th Thursday in November Thanksgiving Day
December 7th Pearl Harbor Day
December 25th Christmas Day

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