|The Flag Code, which formalizes and
unifies the traditional ways in which we give respect to
the flag, also contains specific instructions on how the
flag is not to be used. They are:
- The flag should never be dipped to any person or
thing. It is flown upside down only as a distress
- The flag should not be used as a drapery, or for
covering a speakers desk, draping a platform, or for
any decoration in general. Bunting of blue, white
and red stripes is available for these purposes. The
blue stripe of the bunting should be on the top.
- The flag should never be used for any
advertising purpose. It should not be embroidered,
printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as
cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything
intended to be discarded after temporary use.
Advertising signs should not be attached to the
staff or halyard
- The flag should not be used as part of a costume
or athletic uniform, except that a flag patch may be
used on the uniform of military personnel, fireman,
policeman and members of patriotic organizations.
- The flag should never have placed on it, or
attached to it, any mark, insignia, letter, word,
number, figure, or drawing of any kind.
- The flag should never be used as a receptacle
for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering
When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch
the ground or any other object; it should be received by
waiting hands and arms. To store the flag it should be
folded neatly and ceremoniously.
The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary.
When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve
as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by
burning in a dignified manner.
Note: Most American Legion Posts
regularly conduct a dignified flag burning ceremony,
often on Flag Day, June 14th. Contact your local
American Legion Hall and inquire about the availability
of this service.
Displaying the Flag
When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting
from a window, balcony, or a building, the union should
be at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half
When it is displayed from the same flagpole with
another flag - of a state, community, society or Scout
unit - the flag of the United States must always be at
the top except that the church pennant may be flown
above the flag during church services for Navy personnel
when conducted by a Naval chaplain on a ship at sea.
When the flag is displayed over a street, it should
be hung vertically, with the union to the north or east.
If the flag is suspended over a sidewalk, the flag's
union should be farthest from the building.
When flown with flags of states, communities, or
societies on separate flag poles which are of the same
height and in a straight line, the flag of the United
States is always placed in the position of honor - to
its own right.
..The other flags may be smaller but none may be larger.
..No other flag ever should be placed above it.
..The flag of the United States is always the first flag
raised and the last to be lowered.
When flown with the national banner of other
countries, each flag must be displayed from a separate
pole of the same height. Each flag should be the same
size. They should be raised and lowered simultaneously.
The flag of one nation may not be displayed above that
of another nation.
Raising and Lowering the
The flag should be raised briskly and lowered slowly
and ceremoniously. Ordinarily it should be displayed
only between sunrise and sunset. It should be
illuminated if displayed at night.
The flag of the United States of America is saluted as
it is hoisted and lowered. The salute is held until the
flag is unsnapped from the halyard or through the last
note of music, whichever is the longest.
Displaying the Flag Indoors
When on display, the flag is accorded the place of
honor, always positioned to its own right. Place it to
the right of the speaker or staging area or sanctuary.
Other flags should be to the left.
The flag of the United States of America should be at
the center and at the highest point of the group when a
number of flags of states, localities, or societies are
grouped for display.
When one flag is used with the flag of the United
States of America and the staffs are crossed, the flag
of the United States is placed on its own right with its
staff in front of the other flag.
When displaying the flag against a wall, vertically
or horizontally, the flag's union (stars) should be at
the top, to the flag's own right, and to the observer's
Parading and Saluting the
When carried in a procession, the flag should be to
the right of the marchers. When other flags are carried,
the flag of the United States may be centered in front
of the others or carried to their right. When the flag
passes in a procession, or when it is hoisted or
lowered, all should face the flag and salute.
To salute, all persons come to attention. Those in
uniform give the appropriate formal salute. Citizens not
in uniform salute by placing their right hand over the
heart and men with head cover should remove it and hold
it to left shoulder, hand over the heart. Members of
organizations in formation salute upon command of the
person in charge.
The Pledge of Allegiance and
The pledge of allegiance should be rendered by
standing at attention, facing the flag, and saluting.
When the national anthem is played or sung, citizens
should stand at attention and salute at the first note
and hold the salute through the last note. The salute is
directed to the flag, if displayed, otherwise to the
The Flag in Mourning
To place the flag at half staff, hoist it to the peak
for an instant and lower it to a position half way
between the top and bottom of the staff. The flag is to
be raised again to the peak for a moment before it is
lowered. On Memorial Day the flag is displayed at half
staff until noon and at full staff from noon to sunset.
The flag is to be flown at half staff in mourning for
designated, principal government leaders and upon
presidential or gubernatorial order.
When used to cover a casket, the flag should be
placed with the union at the head and over the left
shoulder. It should not be lowered into the grave.