United States Flag Etiquette

When To Fly The Flag

Our National Flag should be displayed on all days that there is no danger 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.

I was reminded, recently, that it's perfectly legal and proper to fly any former U.S. Flag, with any number of stars. I thought I would make a note here for those of question.

Flag Flying Holidays

New Year's Day
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Inauguration Day

Lincoln's Birthday
Presidents' Day
Washington's Birthday

Easter Sunday
Army Day
V-E Day

Mother's Day
Peace Officers Memorial Day  * (Half-staff)
Armed Forces Day

Memorial Day  * (Half-staff until noon)
Flag Day
Father's Day

Independence Day
Korean War Armistice Day  * (Half-staff)
Labor Day

V-J Day
Patriot Day  * (Half-staff)
Constitution Day (Citizenship Day)

Columbus Day
Navy Day
Presidential Election Day

Veterans Day
Thanksgiving Day
Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day  * (Half-staff)

Christmas Day
January 1
Third Monday in January
January 20 (Every 4 Years) [2017]

February 12
Third Monday in February
February 22

April 6
May 8

Second Sunday in May
May 15
Third Sunday in May

Last Monday in May
June 14
Third Sunday in June

July 4
July 27
First Monday in September

September 2
September 11
September 17

Second Monday in October
October 27
1st Tues after 1st Mon in Nov

November 11
Fourth Thursday in November
December 7

December 25

*  Half-Staff

When flown at half-staff, the Flag should be hoisted to the peak, then lowered to half-staff; but before lowering the Flag for the day it should again be raised to the peak.
  • On Memorial Day the Flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon only,
    then raised to the top of the staff

        On the following days, the Flag should be flown at half-staff for the entire day:

  • National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
  • Peace Officers Memorial Day
  • National Korean War Armistice Day
  • Patriot Day
By order of the President; the Flag shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of principal figures of the United States government and the Governor of a state, territory, or possession; as a mark of respect to their memory.

Displaying Other Than On a Staff

1. When displayed over the middle of a street, the Flag should be suspended vertically with the union to the north in an east-west street or to the east in a north-south street.

2. When the Flag is suspended over a sidewalk from a rope extending from a building to a pole at the edge of the sidewalk, the union should be toward the pole as if it were hoisted from the building toward the pole.

3. When the Flag is displayed flat against a wall, either horizontally or vertically, the union should be uppermost and to the Flag's own right; to the observer's left. When displayed in a window, it should be displayed the same, as for the observer in the street.

Crossed Staffs

When displayed with another flag from crossed staffs, the U.S. Flag should be to the observer's left and its staff should be infront of the staff of the other flag.

Flown Together

When the flags of states, cities, and organizations or pennants of societies are flown on the same halyard with the U.S. Flag; the U.S. Flag should always be at the peak.

Projecting Staff

When the Flag is displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at any angle from the window sill, balcony, or front of a building; the union should go to the peak of the staff (unless displaying at half-mast).

Parades / Color Guards

When carried in a procession or parade with another flag or flags, the U.S. Flag should be either on the marching right, or when there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line. The Flag may not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, organization or institutional flags may all be dipped as a mark of honor, but not Old Glory.


When a number of flags of states or cities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs with the U.S. Flag, it should be at the center or at the highest point of the group.

In a Church or Public Auditorium

In a church or public auditorium, on or off a podium, the Flag should hold the position of prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman's or speaker's right as he faces the audience. Any other flag should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker (to the right of the audience).

With Other Nations

When the flags of two or more Nations are displayed, they should be flown from separate staffs of the same height and be of approximately equal size. Within the territory of the United States, the U.S. Flag should be on the observer's left.


International flag usage forbids the display of the Flag of one Nation above that of another Nation, in peace time. This is a sign of wartime victory and a serious insult.


The U.S. public high school which allowed its students to fly flags in the manner shown at left, on the school's flagpole, should lose their Federal funding. This is just wrong. I would be in favor of civil penalties for the school's administrator, principal, and the students responsible.

Worn on the Right Uniform Sleeve

As stated above, it is proper to display the Flag with the union uppermost and to the observer's left. One exception is when worn on the right sleeve of the military uniform. The union must be displayed uppermost and facing the direction of honor. On the side of the uniform, the direction of honor is toward the front.

Over a Casket

When the Flag is used to cover a casket, it should be placed so 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.

As a Signal of Distress

The Flag should never be displayed with the union facing down, except as a
Signal of Dire Distress in instances of Extreme Danger to Life or Property
Those who have served in the military or maritime services will recognize this signal.

The Federal Flag Code; Title 4 and Title 36, United States Code


The Folds of the Flag

Honor Guard

Flag Presentation
Why we fold the Flag thirteen times...

Have you ever noticed how the Honor Guard pays meticulous attention to
correctly folding the American flag 13 times? Here's what each of those
13 folds mean:

The 1st fold of our flag is a Symbol for Life.

The 2nd fold is a symbol of Our Belief in Eternal Life.

The 3rd fold is made in Honor and Remembrance of the Veterans
departing our ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense
of Our Country and to attain Peace throughout the world.

The 4th fold represents Our Weaker Nature, for as American citizens
trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in
time of war; for His Divine guidance.

The 5th fold is a tribute to Our Country, for in the words of Commodore
Stephen Decatur, "Our Country; in dealing with other countries, may she
always be right, but it is still Our Country, right or wrong."

The 6th fold is for where Our Hearts Lie. It is with our heart that
"We Pledge Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America,
and to the Republic for which it stands, One Nation under God, Indivisible,
with Liberty and Justice for All".

The 7th fold is a tribute to Our Armed Forces, for it is through the
Armed Forces that we protect Our Country and our flag against all her
enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our

The 8th fold is a tribute to the One Who Entered into the Valley of the
Shadow of Death
, that we might see the Light of day.

The 9th fold is a tribute to Womanhood and Mothers. For it has been
through their faith, their love, loyalty, and devotion that the character
of the men and women who have made this Country great have been molded.

The 10th fold is a tribute to Fathers, for they, too, have given their
sons and daughters for defense of Our Country.

The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the Seals of King David
and King Solomon
and glorifies, in the Hebrews' eyes, the God of
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The 12th fold represents an Emblem of Eternity and glorifies, in the
Christians' eyes, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The 13th fold, or when the flag is completely folded, the Stars are
uppermost reminding us of Our Nation's Motto, "In God We Trust."

After the Flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the
appearance of a tricorn cocked hat, reminding us of the Soldiers who served
under General George Washington and the Sailors and Marines who served
under Admiral John Paul Jones; followed by their comrades and shipmates in
the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges,
and freedoms we enjoy today.


War of 1812
Mexican War
Civil War-USA
Civil War-CSA
Indian Wars
War with Spain
Korean War
Cold War-
Vietnam War
of Kuwait
Global War
on Terrorism
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