Rules of the American Flag

Exhibiting an American flag is a fantastic way to display off your really like for our country. Nevertheless, your act of patriotism can promptly turn into (unintentionally) disrespectful if you happen to be unaware of an critical established of principles. The U.S. Flag Code, set up by Congress in 1942, features pointers for dealing with this national image with dignity.

You can fly the American flag on all times, but the Flag Code specially endorses displaying it on Independence Working day, as well as other main holiday seasons like Flag Working day, Labor Working day, and Veterans Working day.

Just take notice: Memorial Working day has its individual flag etiquette. The American flag must be flown at fifty percent-mast from sunrise until noon, then lifted to full mast for the relaxation of the getaway.

Brush up on the relaxation of your flag etiquette in advance of Memorial Working day weekend by studying how to fly the Stars and Stripes the right way.

You can find a right and a erroneous way to hold the flag vertically.

You should not hold your flag backwards, upside down, or in an additional inappropriate style. If you happen to be hanging your flag vertically (like from a window or against a wall), the Union portion with the stars must go on the observer’s left. Under no circumstances dip the flag to any human being or something.

american flag on wooden house by wet road

Marco Rigon / EyeEmGetty Illustrations or photos

Steer clear of allowing the flag touch the floor.

Prevent your flag from touching the floor, flooring, or water. It truly is not important to dispose of your flag if it accidentally hits the pavement, but you must make positive that it’s in superior situation in advance of displaying it again.

Know the distinction involving fifty percent-workers and fifty percent-mast.

There is a distinction involving fifty percent-workers and fifty percent-mast, even nevertheless they’re typically made use of interchangeably. “Fifty percent-mast” technically refers to a flag flown on a ship’s mast, although “fifty percent-workers” describes flags flown on land.

Fly your flag on fifty percent-workers at the right occasions.

The flag is flown at fifty percent-workers when the nation is in mourning, these types of as for the death of federal government formal or for remembrance, as well as from sunrise to noon on Memorial Working day. When traveling the flag at fifty percent-workers, first hoist it to the peak for an instant and then reduce to the fifty percent-workers position.

Fifty percent-workers is described as a single-fifty percent the length involving the major and base of the flagpole. The flag must be again lifted to the peak in advance of it is lowered for the working day.

American flag at half-mast in trees

liveslowGetty Illustrations or photos

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

Customized dictates that you must show flags only from sunrise to sunset, but you can preserve the stars and stripes traveling 24 hours a working day if it is adequately illuminated during the hours of darkness.

You should not fly the flag when it rains.

If the forecast calls for inclement weather, you happen to be not meant to show the flag — other than if it’s an all-weather flag. Nevertheless, most flags these working day are built of all-weather, non-absorbent elements like nylon, the American Legion states.

Always fly the American flag earlier mentioned other flags.

That consists of state and metropolis flags. If they have to be at the identical stage (i.e., you happen to be hanging them vertically from a home or porch), place the American flag on the left. Always hoist the American flag first and reduce it very last.

Only fly a flag in superior situation.

No matter how well you just take care of Outdated Glory, sometimes age just wears down a flag. More recent flags built with artificial elements can be equipment washed in cold water with a delicate detergent, and hung to dry.

More mature, additional fragile flags must be hand washed utilizing Woolite or a related product. Little tears can be fixed by hand, so very long as the mends aren’t overtly noticeable when the flag is exhibited. Flags that are overly worn, torn, or pale must be adequately disposed of.

Dispose of an previous flag in a respectful way.

The Federal Flag Code says that unserviceable flags must be burned in a respectful, ceremonial way, but do so discreetly so men and women will not misinterpret your intentions. If it is unlawful to burn artificial elements in your state or you experience not comfortable accomplishing so, make contact with your nearby American Legion submit to obtain out if they have flag disposal ceremonies, which typically arise on Flag Working day, June 14. Regional Scout troops are an additional resource for disposing your retired flag in a dignified and respectful way.

Fold your flag in advance of storing it.

The American flag is typically folded in a certain arrangement, but we promise it’s less difficult than folding a fitted sheet. When you have to store your flag, seize an additional human being to assist you. Get started by holding it parallel to the floor with an additional human being, and fold the reduce stripes lengthwise more than the Union, holding the edges of the flag crisp and straight. Fold it lengthwise again, holding 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 turn the outer position parallel to the open edge to make a next triangle. Continue on generating triangular folds until the entire flag is folded into a single triangle of blue and white stars.

Skip apparel and objects with flags on them.

Even though this part of the Flag Code is seldom noticed, the pointers recommend against utilizing the flag on apparel, costumes, athletic uniforms, bedding, cushions, handkerchiefs, other décor, and non permanent-use objects like paper napkins and containers. It does permit flag pins worn more than the left lapel and flags on armed forces and first responder uniforms.

Nevertheless, the Supreme Court dominated in 1984 in the scenario Texas v. Johnson that the federal government won’t be able to implement flag-safety regulations, so you will not get arrested for wearing an American flag T-shirt. Do regardless of what feels most respectful and proper to you.

Steer clear of these frequent flag faults, far too.

Other than wearing flag-covered apparel, there are a few other Flag Code violations that you can quickly stay away from. Most of these worry flag placement — a flag must never touch something beneath it although it’s traveling, it must never been made use of as covering for a ceiling, and you must never put something on the flag (like a “mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design and style, photograph, or drawing of any character”).