Flag Etiquette

When to Fly the American Flag

  • The flag of the United States should be flown daily from sunrise to sunset in good weather from public buildings, schools, permanent staffs, and in or near polling places on election days.

  • It may be displayed 24 hours a day on patriotic holidays, or if properly illuminated.

  • The flag should always be flown on national and state holidays and on those occasions proclaimed by the president of the United States.

  • On Memorial Day, the flag should be flown at half mast until noon.

Hoisting, Lowering and Flying the American Flag

  • The flag should be hoisted briskly, but lowered ceremoniously.

  • It should never be dipped to any person, nor should it ever be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress.

  • The flag should never touch anything beneath it, nor should it ever be carried flat or horizontally.

Forbidden Uses of the American Flag

  • It should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, drapery, or decoration, nor for carrying or holding anything.

  • The flag, or its staff, should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. Nor should any picture, drawing, insignia or other decoration be placed on or attached to the flag, its staff or halyard.

  • The flag should not be embroidered on cushions, handkerchiefs, or other personal items nor printed on anything designed for temporary use and discarded. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, or members of other patriotic organizations.

Flying the American Flag on a Vehicle

  • The flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides or back of a vehicle. When a flag is displayed on a car, its staff should be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.

Retiring an American Flag


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