The Dos and Don'ts of Flag Etiquette

The Dos and Don'ts of Flag Etiquette
Care and handling of the American flag is steeped in tradition and respect. It represents our nation and the many people who gave their lives for our country. These proper procedures are called Flag Etiquette. Here are the basics on displaying the Stars and Bars:
  • The flag is normally flown from sunrise to sunset.
  • In the morning, raise the flag briskly. At sunset, lower it slowly. Always, raise and lower it ceremoniously.
  • The flag should not be flown at night without illumination.
  • The flag should not be flown in the rain or inclement weather.
  • After a tragedy or death, the flag is flown at half staff for 30 days. It's called "half staff" on land and "half mast" on a ship.
  • When flown vertically on a pole, the stars and blue field, or "union," is at the top and at the end of the pole (away from your house).
  • The American flag is always flown at the top of the pole. State flags and other flags fly below it.
  • The union is always on top. When displayed in print, the stars/blue field are always on the left.
  • Never let your flag touch the ground, never...period.
  • Fold your flag when storing. Don't just stuff it in a drawer or box.
  • When your flag is old and has seen better days, it's time to retire it. Old flags should be burned or buried. Please do not throw it in the trash.
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