Many American families and businesses show their pride by flying the flag on patriotic holidays or perhaps every day. The flag can be a stirring symbol of freedom that unites neighborhoods and communities. You can display the flag with patriotic pride by following the guidelines outlined in the U.S. Flag Code.
The code describes the correct way to fly a flag under many conditions: on a vertical pole, an angled staff, in a stand, in a parade or suspended from a building or stage. The code also explains the protocols for honoring military or public service by placing a flag on a casket or flying the flag at half staff on specific occasions.
To ensure that your flag display is done with honor and respect:
- Inspect your flag periodically. Is it torn, faded or unraveling from the ends? The Flag Code allows repairs to be made by sewing, but you may instead wish to buy a new one.
- Inspect the rope if you fly your flag on a pole. Look for signs of wear that could loosen in the wind, causing your flag to fall to the ground. Replace the rope as necessary.
- Check mounting brackets. Make sure they are secure to the wall and that the screws are tight.
- Check your wiring on lights used for night display. Flags displayed at night should be well lit. Check your wiring periodically and make sure you have an extra bulb on standby.
When flying the flag at half staff, first hoist it to the peak for an instant, then lower to the half-staff position. The flag again should be raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day.
If you replaced your flag, contact one of your local veterans’ organizations for help disposing of the old one properly. Every American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars post will gladly take your flag at no cost to you. Some even have drop boxes in front of their buildings for used flags. Some Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops also conduct annual flag retirement ceremonies.
For more information about the proper display of the flag and honors rendered, you can look up the U.S. Flag code.
The American Legion also answers common questions about the flag and flag etiquette on its website.