The American flag is the most recognizable symbol of the United States. It symbolizes our belief in liberty and justice for all. It is also a symbol for our military and represents the fight to protect our freedoms. As such, it is very important to display, handle and care for the flag properly.
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, although it is highly unlikely as the Supreme Court has ruled that the displaying of the flag is protected by the 1st Amendment. Some basic flag etiquette 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 flag post, 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.