The First United States Flag

Fly Your Flag Regularly - and Correctly


Important Do's

It is the universal custom to display the national flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open, but it should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement. The U. S. flag may be displayed at night upon special occasions when it is desired to produce a patriotic effect.

Display the U S. flag on all days that weather permits but especially on national and state holidays and other days that may be proclaimed by the President of the United States. On Memorial Day, the U. S. flag should be half-staffed until noon.

The U. S. flag should be displayed on or near the main building of every public institution, during school days in or near every schoolhouse, and in or near every polling place on election days.

Always hoist the U. S. flag briskly. Lower it ceremoniously.


Important Don'ts

Never in any way should any disrespect be shown the U. S. flag.

The U. S. flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are dipped as a mark of honor.

The U. S. flag should never be displayed with the union down except as a signal of dire distress.

The U. S. flag should never touch anything beneath it-ground, floor, water or merchandise.

The U. S. flag should never be carried horizontally, but always aloft and free.

Always allow the U, S. flag to fall free- never use the U. S. flag as drapery, festooned, drawn back, or up in folds. For draping platforms and decoration or general, use blue, white and red bunting. Always arrange the bunting with blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below.

The U. S. flag should never be fastened, displayed, used or stored in a manner which will permit it m be easily torn, soiled or damaged in any way. Never use the U. S. flag as a covering or drape for a ceiling.

Never place anything on the U. S. flag. The U. S. flag should never have placed upon it, or on any part of it, or attached to it, any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture or drawing of any nature.

Never use the U. S. flag for receiving, holding, carrying or delivering anything. The U. S. flag should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard; or used as any portion of a costume or athletic uniform. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.

When the U. S. flag is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, it should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning, privately.


The U. S. flag, when carried in a procession with another or other flags, should be either on the marching right (the flag's own right) or, if there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line. Never display the U. S. flag from a float except from a staff, or so suspended that its folds fall free as though staffed.


The U. S. flag, when displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, should be on the U. S. flag's own right, and its staff should be in front of the staff of the other flag.


The U. S. flag should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of States or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and display d from staffs.


When other flags are tlown from the same halyard, the U. S. flag should always be at the peak. When other flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the U. S. flag should be hoisted first and lowered last. No flag may fly above or to the right of the U. S. flag (except flags of other nations).


When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace.


When the U. S. flag is displayed from a staff projecting from a building, the union of the flag should be placed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half staff When suspended from a rope extending from the building to a pole, the flag should be hoisted out, union first, from the building.


When the U. S. flag is displayed other than from a staff, it should be displayed flat, or so suspended that its folds fall free. When displayed over a street, place the union so it faces north or east, depending upon the direction of the street.


In the chancel of a church or on a speaker's platform the U. S. flag is placed to the speaker's right. Other flags are to be placed to the speaker's left. When displayed elsewhere than on the platform, the U. S. flag should be placed at the right of the audience facing the platform. Other flags are to be to the left of the audience.


If displayed flat against the wall on a speaker's platform, the U. S flag should be placed above and behind the speaker with the union of the flag in the upper left hand corner as the audience faces the flag.


The U. S. flag should form a distinctive feature at the ceremony of unveiling a statue or monument, but should never be used as the covering for the statue or monument.


When the U. S. flag is used to cover a casket, it should be so placed that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground. The flag when flown at half staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for a moment and then lowered to the half staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day.


During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in parade all persons should face the flag, stand at attention and salute. A man should remove his hat and hold it with the right hand over the heart. Men without hats, and women salute by placing the right hand over the heart. The salute to the flag in the moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes.


Courtesy of  Dave and Kelly Kleber

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Last update: 03/08/10