Rules of the American Flag

Ruth D. Adamson

Displaying an American flag is a good way to exhibit off your like for our nation. Even so, your act of patriotism can speedily turn out to be (unintentionally) disrespectful if you are unaware of an vital set of procedures. The U.S. Flag Code, set up by Congress in 1942, delivers tips for managing this nationwide symbol with dignity.

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

Choose observe: Memorial Day has its individual flag etiquette. The American flag really should be flown at 50 %-mast from sunrise until eventually midday, then lifted to full mast for the rest of the holiday getaway.

Brush up on the rest of your flag etiquette in advance of Memorial Day weekend by understanding how to fly the Stars and Stripes the proper way.

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

You should not hang your flag backwards, upside down, or in an additional inappropriate style. If you are hanging your flag vertically (like from a window or in opposition to a wall), the Union portion with the stars really should go on the observer’s remaining. Never dip the flag to any person or just about anything.

american flag on wooden house by wet road

Marco Rigon / EyeEmGetty Photos

Stay away from permitting the flag contact the floor.

Reduce your flag from touching the floor, ground, or h2o. It is not essential to dispose of your flag if it accidentally hits the pavement, but you really should make sure that it can be in excellent ailment just before exhibiting it all over again.

Know the distinction in between 50 %-staff and 50 %-mast.

There is a distinction in between 50 %-staff and 50 %-mast, even nevertheless they are normally utilised interchangeably. “Fifty percent-mast” technically refers to a flag flown on a ship’s mast, while “50 %-staff” describes flags flown on land.

Fly your flag on 50 %-staff at the proper periods.

The flag is flown at 50 %-staff when the nation is in mourning, these kinds of as for the death of authorities formal or for remembrance, as effectively as from sunrise to midday on Memorial Day. When traveling the flag at 50 %-staff, very first hoist it to the peak for an immediate and then lessen to the 50 %-staff position.

Fifty percent-staff is defined as one particular-50 % the length in between the best and bottom of the flagpole. The flag really should be all over again lifted to the peak just before it is reduced for the working day.

American flag at half-mast in trees

liveslowGetty Photos

Only fly a flag at night time if it is illuminated.

Custom made dictates that you really should display screen flags only from sunrise to sunset, but you can preserve the stars and stripes traveling 24 hrs a working day if it is properly illuminated throughout the hrs of darkness.

You should not fly the flag when it rains.

If the forecast phone calls for inclement climate, you are not supposed to display screen the flag — apart from if it can be an all-climate flag. Even so, most flags these working day are produced of all-climate, non-absorbent components like nylon, the American Legion states.

Usually fly the American flag higher than other flags.

That incorporates condition and city flags. If they have to be at the identical degree (i.e., you are hanging them vertically from a dwelling or porch), set the American flag on the remaining. Usually hoist the American flag very first and lessen it final.

Only fly a flag in excellent ailment.

No issue how effectively you take care of Aged Glory, in some cases age just wears down a flag. Newer flags produced with artificial components can be machine washed in chilly h2o with a delicate detergent, and hung to dry.

Older, additional fragile flags really should be hand washed making use of Woolite or a very similar product. Tiny tears can be fixed by hand, so lengthy as the mends are not overtly visible when the flag is shown. Flags that are extremely worn, torn, or pale really should be properly disposed of.

Dispose of an previous flag in a respectful manner.

The Federal Flag Code says that unserviceable flags really should be burned in a respectful, ceremonial manner, but do so discreetly so individuals don’t misinterpret your intentions. If it is unlawful to burn artificial components in your condition or you really feel not comfortable performing so, contact your area American Legion write-up to come across out if they have flag disposal ceremonies, which normally happen on Flag Day, June fourteen. Nearby Scout troops are an additional resource for disposing your retired flag in a dignified and respectful way.

Fold your flag just before storing it.

The American flag is ordinarily folded in a unique arrangement, but we ensure it can be simpler than folding a fitted sheet. When you have to retail store your flag, grab an additional person to assistance you. Start off by keeping it parallel to the floor with an additional person, and fold the lessen stripes lengthwise about the Union, retaining the edges of the flag crisp and straight. Fold it lengthwise all over again, retaining the blue Union on the exterior.

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 convert the outer place parallel to the open edge to make a 2nd triangle. Continue on building triangular folds until eventually the full flag is folded into one particular triangle of blue and white stars.

Skip outfits and objects with flags on them.

Although this portion of the Flag Code is not often noticed, the tips advise in opposition to making use of the flag on outfits, costumes, athletic uniforms, bedding, cushions, handkerchiefs, other décor, and short term-use objects like paper napkins and packing containers. It does permit flag pins worn about the remaining lapel and flags on armed forces and very first responder uniforms.

Even so, the Supreme Court dominated in 1984 in the situation Texas v. Johnson that the authorities are unable to enforce flag-protection rules, so you won’t get arrested for carrying an American flag T-shirt. Do whatever feels most respectful and appropriate to you.

Stay away from these widespread flag issues, too.

Besides carrying flag-coated outfits, there are a few other Flag Code violations that you can simply avoid. Most of these concern flag placement — a flag really should under no circumstances contact just about anything beneath it while it can be traveling, it really should under no circumstances been utilised as masking for a ceiling, and you really should under no circumstances position just about anything on the flag (like a “mark, insignia, letter, phrase, figure, style, photo, or drawing of any mother nature”).

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