Rules of the American Flag

Displaying an American flag is a wonderful way to present off your love for our nation. However, your act of patriotism can quickly become (unintentionally) disrespectful if you’re unaware of an essential set of policies. The U.S. Flag Code, established by Congress in 1942, gives guidelines for managing this national image with dignity.

You can fly the American flag on all times, but the Flag Code specifically recommends exhibiting it on Independence Working day, as properly as other major holiday seasons like Flag Working day, Labor Working day, and Veterans Working day.

Just take take note: Memorial Working day has its have flag etiquette. The American flag really should be flown at 50 %-mast from dawn right up until noon, then raised to whole mast for the relaxation of the holiday break.

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

You will find a proper and a mistaken way to cling the flag vertically.

Will not cling your flag backwards, upside down, or in a further inappropriate vogue. If you’re 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 left. In no way dip the flag to any human being or nearly anything.

american flag on wooden house by wet road

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Steer clear of letting the flag touch the floor.

Protect against your flag from touching the floor, flooring, or h2o. It is really not needed to dispose of your flag if it accidentally hits the pavement, but you really should make confident that it truly is in fantastic ailment before exhibiting it once more.

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

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

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

The flag is flown at 50 %-staff members when the country is in mourning, this sort of as for the demise of government formal or for remembrance, as properly as from dawn to noon on Memorial Working day. When traveling the flag at 50 %-staff members, very first hoist it to the peak for an instantaneous and then decrease to the 50 %-staff members placement.

Fifty percent-staff members is defined as one particular-50 % the length between the prime and base of the flagpole. The flag really should be once more raised to the peak before it is decreased for the working day.

American flag at half-mast in trees

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

Personalized dictates that you really should display flags only from dawn to sunset, but you can hold the stars and stripes traveling 24 hrs a working day if it is thoroughly illuminated through the hrs of darkness.

Will not fly the flag when it rains.

If the forecast calls for inclement weather conditions, you’re not meant to display the flag — except if it truly is an all-weather conditions flag. However, most flags these working day are designed of all-weather conditions, non-absorbent resources like nylon, the American Legion states.

Usually fly the American flag earlier mentioned other flags.

That includes state and town flags. If they have to be at the very same stage (i.e., you’re hanging them vertically from a household or porch), set the American flag on the left. Usually hoist the American flag very first and decrease it previous.

Only fly a flag in fantastic ailment.

No make a difference how properly you acquire care of Previous Glory, often age just wears down a flag. More recent flags designed with artificial resources can be machine washed in chilly h2o with a moderate detergent, and hung to dry.

More mature, far more fragile flags really should be hand washed using Woolite or a equivalent solution. Compact tears can be fixed by hand, so extended as the mends usually are not overtly visible when the flag is shown. Flags that are extremely worn, torn, or faded really should be thoroughly disposed of.

Dispose of an aged flag in a respectful method.

The Federal Flag Code claims that unserviceable flags really should be burned in a respectful, ceremonial method, but do so discreetly so folks really don’t misinterpret your intentions. If it is unlawful to burn up artificial resources in your state or you sense not comfortable performing so, make contact with your local American Legion post to locate out if they have flag disposal ceremonies, which frequently occur on Flag Working day, June 14. Nearby Scout troops are a further source for disposing your retired flag in a dignified and respectful way.

Fold your flag before storing it.

The American flag is ordinarily folded in a specific arrangement, but we promise it truly is simpler than folding a fitted sheet. When you have to shop your flag, get a further human being to assist you. Start by keeping it parallel to the floor with a further human being, and fold the decrease stripes lengthwise above the Union, maintaining the edges of the flag crisp and straight. Fold it lengthwise once more, maintaining 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 switch the outer issue parallel to the open edge to make a second triangle. Proceed generating triangular folds right up until the entire flag is folded into one particular triangle of blue and white stars.

Skip outfits and objects with flags on them.

Although this part of the Flag Code is almost never observed, the guidelines advise in opposition to using the flag on outfits, costumes, athletic uniforms, bedding, cushions, handkerchiefs, other décor, and non permanent-use merchandise like paper napkins and containers. It does allow flag pins worn above the left lapel and flags on military and very first responder uniforms.

However, the Supreme Courtroom dominated in 1984 in the circumstance Texas v. Johnson that the government can’t implement flag-security legislation, so you won’t get arrested for putting on an American flag T-shirt. Do no matter what feels most respectful and appropriate to you.

Steer clear of these common flag errors, too.

Besides putting on flag-coated outfits, there are a few other Flag Code violations that you can very easily prevent. Most of these worry flag placement — a flag really should in no way touch nearly anything beneath it even though it truly is traveling, it really should in no way been utilised as masking for a ceiling, and you really should in no way place nearly anything on the flag (like a “mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, style and design, picture, or drawing of any character”).