Etiquette for The American Flag

In Cel­e­bra­tion of Memo­r­ial Day just a few days away, it is a good time to remind our­selves about flag eti­quette.  Did you know that the dis­play and han­dling of the Amer­i­can flag is cov­ered under fed­eral law?  In fact, it is Chap­ter 1 of Title 4 of the United Sates Code.  This means you could be cited for improper use of the flag, but it is highly unlikely as the Supreme Court has ruled that the dis­play­ing of the flag is pro­tected by the 1st Amendment.

Since Memo­r­ial Day is a day to give thanks to ser­vice peo­ple who have lost their lives for our free­dom, the flag should be at half-staff until noon and then raised to full-staff until sunset.

Other rules include:

  • The Amer­i­can flag should be taken down before sun­set, unless there is proper light­ing to keep the flag lit.
  • The Amer­i­can flag should not be flown dur­ing bad weather unless you have a spe­cial flag designed to with­stand the weather.
  • The Amer­i­can flag should always be higher than those of the states.
  • If there is more than one flag on the flag­post, the Amer­i­can flag should always be on top.
  • If flags of other nations are fly­ing, they should all be on sep­a­rate poles and be at equal height.
  • The Amer­i­can flag should never touch the ground.
  • The Amer­i­can flag should also never be writ­ten on or be worn as cloth­ing.  It should not be used in advertising.
  • Amer­i­can flags dis­played on vehi­cles or floats should be on a staff and not draped.
  • When dis­card­ing a worn Amer­i­can flag, it needs to be destroyed in a dig­ni­fied man­ner.  The best way to accom­plish this is by burn­ing it.  The Boy Scouts con­duct flag burn­ing ceremonies.
  • The Amer­i­can flag should never be flown upside down unless sig­nal­ing an emergency.

Fol­low­ing these guide­lines will keep your flag dis­played prop­erly and will show respect to the mem­ory of those who gave their life for our freedom.