Americans have a great deal of pride in our country and our flag. But do you know the proper guidelines for how to display your flag respectfully? If you have a flagpole at home, are you sure you are following respectful display parameters when you display Old Glory? Flagpole Farms is passionate about the flag and wants to make sure you know how to respect the flag when you hoist it up your flagpole.
Guidelines for Display of the Flag Public Law 94-344, known as the Federal Flag Code, sets forth the rules and regulations for how someone should and should not handle, display, hold, and store the U.S. flag. While the federal code does not list any penalty for violating the guidelines, many states have their own flag codes and can impose penalties for mistreatment of the flag. If you want to fly the flag on your property, be sure you are doing so in the correct manner.
Traditional guidelines say a flag displayed for public viewing should only be visible from sunrise to sunset. However, the flag can be displayed at all times if it is well-illuminated during darkness.
The flag should be protected from damage. It should not be flown during bad weather such as rain, snow, or high wind; it should be taken down unless it is an all-weather flag.
The U.S. flag should be publicly displayed as often as deemed appropriate, but especially on national and state holidays and special occasions. The flag should be set up near the main front entrance of a building in a neat and well-maintained area. It should be hoisted quickly so it doesn’t touch the ground or snag the flagpole, and it should be lowered ceremoniously and carefully.
The flag should not be draped or drawn back in folds. If decorations in the colors of the flag are needed, bunting should be used. In these cases, the bunting must be displayed with the blue at the top and the red at the bottom.
The flag should be hoisted to the top of the flagpole as a sign of respect for the color. The U.S. flag can be kept at half-staff to honor a newly deceased state or federal government official by order of the president or the governor. Until noon on Memorial Day, all flags should be displayed at half-staff as well.
Never dip the flag at a person, vehicle, procession, or other flag. Other ceremonial and regiment flags can be dipped into the U.S. flag as a sign of respect and honor.
When displayed against a wall, the union square should be uppermost and on the flag’s own right-hand side. When in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way.
The U.S. flag should flow freely and not be ‘pinned down’ in any way. Anchoring it by the top corners and allowing it to freely fall and move is the appropriate display protocol. The flag should never be stretched and secured on all four corners.
Service flags are displayed along with the flag in order of service precedence, which is Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard.
When displaying with other flags, the U.S. flag comes first and is centered in the middle of the display. When other national flags are also displayed, the U.S. flag must be at the same height as the other national flags and should be displayed in the center as well.
Mount the flag on a flagpole or in any other way so it is displayed with the union down. The exception to this is as a signal of distress or during a time of natural disaster.
Hang the flag in such a way that it touches anything beneath it. This includes the ground, floor, water, merchandise, people’s heads, or anything else.
Intentionally fasten or display the flag in such a way that permits it to be damaged or soiled. Always check the flag when a new configuration is used to look for damage.
Alter the look of the flag in any way. This includes never placing anything on the flag, such as letters, insignia, or designs of any kind, and never changing the colors of the flag.
Treat the flag like a vessel of any kind, or use it for holding, carrying, or transporting anything. It should always be carried out on its own and with respect.
Use it as apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should not be used on a costume or athletic uniform, though military uniforms can have official flag and emblem patches. Have the flag printed on any advertising or promotion purposes or used on things such as paper napkins, boxes, or anything meant for temporary use that will then be discarded in the trash.
During the process of raising or lowering the flag, or when the flag passes by in a parade, Americans should show their respect for the colors. They should stand at attention, facing the flag, and place their right hand over their hearts. Silence should be observed, and there should be no talking or horseplay during the procession. Uniformed military members are to render the military salute. Men not in uniform should remove any hats and hold them in their hands that are over their hearts. Non-U.S. citizens should stand at attention and be silent and respectful. When the flag is worn out or otherwise no longer deemed fit to be displayed, it should be properly disposed of. It should never be buried or simply tossed in the trash. The preferred method of disposal is a respectful and ceremonial burning.
Displaying the U.S. flag is a great way to show the pride and respect you have for your country. Following proper protocols and having the right setup ensures you are not unintentionally bringing dishonor to the flag. Read more about the flagpole options available from Flagpole Farms and see how you can best display your flag with pride.