The fourth of July means that many will be flying their American flags high, so I wanted to let you in on the fact that there is etiquette behind the tradition. Please check out the rules below:
The U.S. Flag, when carried in a procession with 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.
When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be in the uppermost corner and to the flags own right, that is, to the observer’s left. When displayed in a window, the flags should be displayed the same way, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.
When flags of states, cities, or localities, or pennants of societies are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the United States, the latter should always be at the peak.
No other flag or pennant should be placed above, or, if on the same level, to the right of the flag of the United States of America, except during church services conducted by naval chaplains at sea . . . for personnel of the Navy . . . when the church pennant may be flown above the flag. No person shall display the flag of the United Nations or any other national or international flag equal, above, or in a position of superior prominence or honor to, or in place of, the flag of the United States at any place within the United States or any Territory or possession thereof; provided, that nothing in this section shall make unlawful the continuance of the practice heretofore followed of displaying the flag of the United Nations in a position of superior prominence or honor, and other national flags in positions of equal prominence or honor, with that of the flag of the United States at the headquarters of the United Nations.
When the flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the flag of the United States should be hoisted first and lowered last. No such flag or pennant may be placed above the flag of the United States or to the United States flag’s right.
When displayed outdoors with other flags, the position of honor for the U.S. flag is the U.S. flag’s own right which is normally the extreme left position as the flags are most frequently viewed.
Saluting the Flag: When a national flag is raised or lowered as part of a ceremony, or when it passes by in a parade or in review, all persons, except those in uniform, should face the flag and stand at attention with the right hand over the heart.
Those in uniform should give the military salute. When not in uniform, a man should remove his hat with his right hand and hold it at his left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. The flag should be saluted at the moment it passes in a parade or in review. Citizens of other countries stand at attention, but need not salute.
It is the universal custom to display the national flag from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary Flagstaff in the open 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 may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during hours of darkness.
When Flown at half staff: the U.S. flag should be first hoisted to the peak for a moment and then lowered to the half staff position. The flag should be raised to the peak again before it is lowered for the day.
When other flags are flown 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.
Always hoist the U.S. flag briskly. Lower it ceremoniously.
It is generally not desirable to fly the flag outdoors when the weather is particularly inclement because exposure to severe winds and rain may damage the flag or the pole on which it is displayed. Never in any way should disrespect be shown the U.S. flag. The U.S. flag should never be dipped into 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 in instances of extreme danger to life or property. 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 it should always be aloft and free. Always allow the U.S. flag to fall free- never use the U.S. flag as wearing apparel, bedding or drapery, festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds. For draping platforms and decorations in general, use blue, white and red bunting. Always arrange the bunting with the blue above, the white in the middle and the red below. The U.S. flag should never be fastened, displayed, used or stored in any manner which will permit it to be easily torn, soiled or damaged in any way. Never use U.S. flags as a covering or drapes for the 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, boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use or discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown. Never use any part of the U.S. flag as a costume or athletic uniform. A flag patch may be affixed to uniforms of military personnel, firemen, policemen and members of patriotic organizations.
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 via flag disposal ceremonies held at your local VFW or American Legion Posts.
The above information was derived from Emily Post