Rules of the American Flag

Kennith Bogan

Exhibiting an American flag is a wonderful way to demonstrate off your adore for our nation. Even so, your act of patriotism can swiftly come to be (unintentionally) disrespectful if you might be unaware of an important established of procedures. The U.S. Flag Code, proven by Congress in 1942, gives tips for treating this national symbol with dignity.

You can fly the American flag on all days, but the Flag Code specifically recommends exhibiting it on Independence Day, as perfectly as other main vacations like Flag Day, Labor Day, and Veterans Day.

Choose notice: Memorial Day has its very own flag etiquette. The American flag need to be flown at 50 %-mast from sunrise right until midday, then lifted to total mast for the relaxation of the holiday.

Brush up on the relaxation of your flag etiquette forward of Memorial Day weekend by learning how to fly the Stars and Stripes the correct way.

There’s a correct and a completely wrong way to cling the flag vertically.

Never cling your flag backwards, upside down, or in another inappropriate fashion. If you might be hanging your flag vertically (like from a window or versus a wall), the Union part with the stars need to go on the observer’s still left. Never dip the flag to any man or woman or something.

american flag on wooden house by wet road

Marco Rigon / EyeEmGetty Photographs

Prevent allowing the flag touch the floor.

Prevent your flag from touching the floor, ground, or h2o. It can be not vital to dispose of your flag if it accidentally hits the pavement, but you need to make confident that it can be in very good condition prior to exhibiting it yet again.

Know the variation in between 50 %-staff members and 50 %-mast.

There is a variation in between 50 %-staff members and 50 %-mast, even however they’re frequently used interchangeably. “Fifty percent-mast” technically refers to a flag flown on a ship’s mast, though “50 %-staff members” describes flags flown on land.

Fly your flag on 50 %-staff members at the correct occasions.

The flag is flown at 50 %-staff members when the nation is in mourning, these kinds of as for the demise of federal government formal or for remembrance, as perfectly as from sunrise to midday on Memorial Day. When flying the flag at 50 %-staff members, 1st hoist it to the peak for an quick and then decrease to the 50 %-staff members placement.

Fifty percent-staff members is defined as 1-50 % the length in between the top and base of the flagpole. The flag need to be yet again lifted to the peak prior to it is decreased for the day.

American flag at half-mast in trees

liveslowGetty Photographs

Only fly a flag at night if it is illuminated.

Custom dictates that you need to screen flags only from sunrise to sunset, but you can retain the stars and stripes flying 24 hours a day if it is properly illuminated in the course of the hours of darkness.

Never fly the flag when it rains.

If the forecast phone calls for inclement weather conditions, you might be not intended to screen the flag — apart from if it can be an all-weather conditions flag. Even so, most flags these day are manufactured of all-weather conditions, non-absorbent supplies like nylon, the American Legion states.

Usually fly the American flag above other flags.

That includes point out and metropolis flags. If they have to be at the exact same degree (i.e., you might be hanging them vertically from a house or porch), put the American flag on the still left. Usually hoist the American flag 1st and decrease it last.

Only fly a flag in very good condition.

No subject how perfectly you choose care of Old Glory, occasionally age just wears down a flag. More recent flags manufactured with artificial supplies can be equipment washed in cold h2o with a mild detergent, and hung to dry.

Older, much more fragile flags need to be hand washed employing Woolite or a comparable merchandise. Tiny tears can be fixed by hand, so very long as the mends usually are not overtly seen when the flag is exhibited. Flags that are extremely worn, torn, or pale need to be properly disposed of.

Dispose of an old flag in a respectful fashion.

The Federal Flag Code suggests that unserviceable flags need to be burned in a respectful, ceremonial fashion, but do so discreetly so people really don’t misinterpret your intentions. If it is illegal to burn up artificial supplies in your point out or you truly feel not comfortable accomplishing so, contact your community American Legion submit to obtain out if they have flag disposal ceremonies, which frequently occur on Flag Day, June fourteen. Regional Scout troops are another useful resource for disposing your retired flag in a dignified and respectful way.

Fold your flag prior to storing it.

The American flag is traditionally folded in a certain arrangement, but we ensure it can be less complicated than folding a equipped sheet. When you have to keep your flag, get another man or woman to support you. Commence by holding it parallel to the floor with another man or woman, and fold the decrease stripes lengthwise over the Union, keeping the edges of the flag crisp and straight. Fold it lengthwise yet again, keeping the blue Union on the outdoors.

how to fold an american flag

Betsy Farrell

Now make a triangular fold by bringing the striped corner of the folded edge to the open up edge of the flag, and then change the outer stage parallel to the open up edge to make a second triangle. Keep on building triangular folds right until the entire flag is folded into 1 triangle of blue and white stars.

Skip apparel and objects with flags on them.

When this part of the Flag Code is hardly ever noticed, the tips advise versus employing the flag on apparel, costumes, athletic uniforms, bedding, cushions, handkerchiefs, other décor, and temporary-use items like paper napkins and containers. It does allow flag pins worn over the still left lapel and flags on military and 1st responder uniforms.

Even so, the Supreme Courtroom ruled in 1984 in the circumstance Texas v. Johnson that the federal government cannot enforce flag-safety guidelines, so you will not get arrested for sporting an American flag T-shirt. Do what ever feels most respectful and appropriate to you.

Prevent these common flag blunders, as well.

Moreover sporting flag-included apparel, there are a few other Flag Code violations that you can conveniently steer clear of. Most of these worry flag placement — a flag need to never touch something beneath it though it can be flying, it need to never been used as covering for a ceiling, and you need to never put something on the flag (like a “mark, insignia, letter, term, determine, design, picture, or drawing of any mother nature”).

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