Rules of the American Flag

Exhibiting an American flag is a good way to present off your enjoy for our nation. However, your act of patriotism can rapidly come to be (unintentionally) disrespectful if you happen to be unaware of an essential set of procedures. The U.S. Flag Code, established by Congress in 1942, gives guidelines for treating this countrywide symbol with dignity.

You can fly the American flag on all days, but the Flag Code especially recommends displaying it on Independence Working day, as properly as other key holiday seasons like Flag Working day, Labor Working day, and Veterans Working day.

Choose take note: Memorial Working day has its possess flag etiquette. The American flag ought to be flown at 50 %-mast from dawn right up until noon, then lifted to complete mast for the relaxation of the vacation.

Brush up on the relaxation of your flag etiquette forward of Memorial Working day weekend by studying how to fly the Stars and Stripes the proper way.

There is a proper and a mistaken way to dangle the flag vertically.

Really don’t dangle your flag backwards, upside down, or in another inappropriate manner. If you happen to be hanging your flag vertically (like from a window or from a wall), the Union portion with the stars ought to go on the observer’s remaining. By no means dip the flag to any man or woman or nearly anything.

american flag on wooden house by wet road

Marco Rigon / EyeEmGetty Visuals

Avoid letting the flag contact the ground.

Prevent your flag from touching the ground, ground, or drinking water. It is not necessary to dispose of your flag if it accidentally hits the pavement, but you ought to make sure that it is really in excellent issue just before displaying it again.

Know the variance amongst 50 %-personnel and 50 %-mast.

There is a variance amongst 50 %-personnel and 50 %-mast, even although they’re generally used interchangeably. “Fifty percent-mast” technically refers to a flag flown on a ship’s mast, though “50 %-personnel” describes flags flown on land.

Fly your flag on 50 %-personnel at the proper situations.

The flag is flown at 50 %-personnel when the country is in mourning, this sort of as for the demise of authorities official or for remembrance, as properly as from dawn to noon on Memorial Working day. When traveling the flag at 50 %-personnel, to start with hoist it to the peak for an immediate and then decreased to the 50 %-personnel posture.

Fifty percent-personnel is defined as one particular-50 % the distance amongst the prime and base of the flagpole. The flag ought to be again lifted to the peak just before it is decreased for the day.

American flag at half-mast in trees

liveslowGetty Visuals

Only fly a flag at evening if it is illuminated.

Custom made dictates that you ought to display screen flags only from dawn to sunset, but you can hold the stars and stripes traveling 24 hrs a day if it is correctly illuminated in the course of the hrs of darkness.

Really don’t fly the flag when it rains.

If the forecast phone calls for inclement climate, you happen to be not meant to display screen the flag — except if it is really an all-climate flag. However, most flags these day are produced of all-climate, non-absorbent elements like nylon, the American Legion states.

Normally fly the American flag previously mentioned other flags.

That involves point out and town flags. If they have to be at the same level (i.e., you happen to be hanging them vertically from a residence or porch), set the American flag on the remaining. Normally hoist the American flag to start with and decreased it very last.

Only fly a flag in excellent issue.

No matter how properly you take care of Aged Glory, in some cases age just wears down a flag. More recent flags produced with artificial elements can be equipment washed in cold drinking water with a gentle detergent, and hung to dry.

Older, far more fragile flags ought to be hand washed using Woolite or a similar item. Tiny tears can be fixed by hand, so very long as the mends usually are not overtly obvious when the flag is displayed. Flags that are overly worn, torn, or pale ought to be correctly disposed of.

Dispose of an old flag in a respectful manner.

The Federal Flag Code suggests that unserviceable flags ought to be burned in a respectful, ceremonial manner, but do so discreetly so people don’t misinterpret your intentions. If it is unlawful to burn artificial elements in your point out or you really feel unpleasant accomplishing so, get in touch with your nearby American Legion post to obtain out if they have flag disposal ceremonies, which generally come about on Flag Working day, June 14. Local Scout troops are another source for disposing your retired flag in a dignified and respectful way.

Fold your flag just before storing it.

The American flag is customarily folded in a unique arrangement, but we promise it is really simpler than folding a fitted sheet. When you have to retailer your flag, get another man or woman to assistance you. Start out by holding it parallel to the ground with another man or woman, and fold the decreased stripes lengthwise over the Union, holding the edges of the flag crisp and straight. Fold it lengthwise again, holding 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 edge of the flag, and then turn the outer issue parallel to the open edge to make a second triangle. Proceed building triangular folds right up until the entire flag is folded into one particular triangle of blue and white stars.

Skip clothing and objects with flags on them.

While this section of the Flag Code is almost never noticed, the guidelines advise from using the flag on clothing, costumes, athletic uniforms, bedding, cushions, handkerchiefs, other décor, and temporary-use things like paper napkins and boxes. It does permit flag pins worn over the remaining lapel and flags on military services and to start with responder uniforms.

However, the Supreme Court dominated in 1984 in the circumstance Texas v. Johnson that the authorities are unable to enforce flag-safety legislation, so you would not get arrested for sporting an American flag T-shirt. Do whichever feels most respectful and proper to you.

Avoid these widespread flag issues, as well.

In addition to sporting flag-coated clothing, there are a pair other Flag Code violations that you can conveniently stay clear of. Most of these concern flag placement — a flag ought to hardly ever contact nearly anything beneath it though it is really traveling, it ought to hardly ever been used as covering for a ceiling, and you ought to hardly ever put nearly anything on the flag (like a “mark, insignia, letter, term, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature”).

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