Things to Know about U.S. Flag Etiquette

Iris | 06 - 29 - 2021

What is Flag Etiquette? 

The flag is a sign of dignity, respect, and patriotism. Members of the armed forces and veterans are thus required to stand at attention and salute as their flag passes in a parade or is raised or lowered. Civilians should lay their right hand over their hearts. Did you know that there are certain dos and don’ts and some rules for flying the American flag? Get to know them here at Trivia blog.

American Flag Protocols: Do’s and Don’t

Do’s of American Flag Etiquette

  • Display the American flag on buildings and immobile flagstaffs in the open from dawn to dusk. When a patriotic impact is sought, the flag can be shown 24 hours a day if adequately light is there during the night. 
  • The flag may be flown at half-staff on special occasions. 
  • On Memorial Day, the flag is flown at half-staff until noon, when it is raised.
  • When flying at half-staff, the flag should be hoisted to the peak for a split second before being lowered to the half-staff position. Before lowering the flag for the day, it should be raised to the peak once more. Lowering the flag to one-half the distance between the top and bottom of the staff is referred to as “half-staff.”
  • When the flag is displayed on a vehicle, the staff must be securely fastened to the chassis or attached to the right fender.
  • When the flag is used to cover a casket, the union should be at the top and over the left shoulder. The flag should never be lowered into the grave or allowed to come into contact with the ground.
  • When exhibited in the center of the street, the flag should be suspended vertically with the union (blue field of stars) to the north in an east and west street or to the east in a north and south street.
  • When put on a podium, the flag should be placed to the right of the speaker or in the staging area. Other flags should go to the left.
  • When exhibited horizontally or vertically against a wall (or other flat surfaces), the union (blue field of stars) should be highest and to the flag’s right, i.e. to the observer’s left.

Don’ts of American Flag Etiquette

The Flag Should Be Folded in Its Customary Manner.
  • A. True
  • B. False
  • Don’t dip the American flag for anybody, flag, or vessel.
  • Don’t allow the flag to come into contact with the ground.
  • Unless there is an emergency, do not fly the flag upside down.
  • Do not carry the flag flat or with anything in it.
  • Don’t wear the flag like a piece of apparel.
  • Store the flag in a place where it will not become filthy.
  • It should not be used as a cover.
  • It should not be fastened or tied back. Allow it to fall loose at all times.
  • Do not scribble or else mark the flag.
  • Don’t decorate with the flag. Use bunting with the blue on top, followed by the white, and finally the red.

US Flag Rules and Etiquette

For almost 200 years, the American flag has been the symbol of our identity as a sovereign nation. The United States Flag Code formalizes and unifies the customary methods in which we honor the flag, as well as providing explicit guidelines on how the flag should not be used. Here we’ll look at some of the most essential American flag laws, as well as other aspects of American flag etiquette, to assist you to avoid causing offense or creating any faux pas with the American flag. 

Saluting the Flag 

  • Everyone in uniform (military, police, firefighters, etc.) should give the military salute. Military salutes may be given by members of the armed services and veterans who are not in uniform.
  • All other people in the room should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over their hearts, or if suitable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, with the hand over the heart.

Disposing of the Flag

When the flag has deteriorated to the point where it is no longer a suitable emblem, it should be removed in a dignified and ceremonious manner, ideally by burning. Most American Legion posts will hold an annual ceremony to retire old or worn flags, frequently on Flag Day (June 14); contact your local chapter if you are unable to dispose of the flag yourself. You might also inquire with your local Boy or Girl Scout group about retiring your flag.

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