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  |  Flag Etiquette - US Flag

Standards of Respect  -  Flag Display  -  Raising and Lowering  -  Positioning  -  Parade and Saluting

Standards of Respect for the Flag of the United States of America
Formalizing and unifying the traditional ways in which we give respect to our national flag, the Flag Code also contains specific instructions on how the flag is not to be used. Listed are some of the specific instructions:
  • The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. It is flown upside down only as a distress signal.
  • The flag is not be meant to be used as a drapery, and should never be used for draping  or covering a speakers desk, draping a platform, or for any decoration in general.
  • Marks, insignia, letters, words, numbers, figures, or drawings should never  be placed on the flag or attached to the flag.
  • The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose. It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. Advertising signs should not be attached to the staff or halyard.
  • The flag should not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, except that a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, firefighters, police officers and members of patriotic organizations.
  • The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything. When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object; it should be received with respect with attentive hands and arms. The flag should be folded neatly and ceremoniously when readied for storage. When necessary, the flag should be cleaned and mended. Worn flags no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.
How to display your flag in mourning  
  • To place your flag at half-staff, hoist it to the peak for an instant, then lower it to a position halfway between the top and bottom of the staff. The flag is to be raised again to the peak for a moment before it is lowered. On Memorial Day the flag is displayed at half-staff until noon and at full-staff from noon to sunset.  When used to cover a casket, the flag should be placed with the star field at the head and over the left shoulder. It should not be lowered into the grave.
  • In the event of the death of principal figures of the US government and the governor of the state, territory or possession, the president may order the US flag to be flown at half-staff  in respect for their memory. In the event of the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries, the US flag is displayed at half-staff in accordance with recognized customs or practices not inconsistent with law. 
  • The governor of a state, territory or possession of the United States may proclaim that the national flag be flown at half-staff in the event of the death of a present or former official of that state, territory or possession.

How to Display your Flag Indoors 
  • During display, your flag is accorded the place of honor, always positioned to its own right. Place it to the right of the speaker or staging area or sanctuary. Other flags should be to the left. The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of any group when a number of flags of states, localities, or societies are grouped for display.
  • When one flag is used with the flag of the United States of America and the staffs are crossed, the flag of the United States is placed on its own right with its staff in front of the other flag. When displaying your flag against a wall, vertically or horizontally, its union (stars) should be at the top, to the flag's own right, and to the observer's left.
How to Raise and Lower your Flag 
  • Your flag should be raised briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously. Our national flag should be displayed on all days that there is no danger that the weather will damage it. It not only shows respect for our national symbol, but prolongs the life of the flag.
  • It is customary to fly the flag from sunrise to sunset on buildings or on a stationary flag pole in the open. However, it may also be flown at night if it is properly illuminated with a spot light.
  • The flag of the United States of America is saluted as it is hoisted and lowered. The salute is held until the flag is unsnapped from the halyard or through the last note of music, whichever is the longest.
How to Parade and Salute your Flag
  • When carried in a procession, your flag should be to the right of the marchers. When other flags are carried, the flag of the United States may be centered in front of the others or carried to their right. When it passes in a procession, or when it is hoisted or lowered, all should face the flag and salute.
  • When saluting the flag, everyone comes to attention. Those in uniform give the appropriate formal salute. Citizens not in uniform salute by placing their right hand over their heart. Men with a head cover should remove it and hold it to their left shoulder, with their hand over their heart.
  • Members of organizations in formation salute upon command of the person in charge.