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  • K. Miller

Flag Etiquette Rules

Make sure you're aware of the flag etiquette rules so that you can display your patriotism and fly your flag in the proper way.


There are a number of rules and codes of which you should be aware when flying Old Glory. Keep these in mind so that you are displaying your respect along with your patriotism!


Properly Displaying the American Flag


According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, these are the general guidelines for displaying the flag:

  • When the flag is hung vertically on a wall, window, or door, the Union (blue section) should be to the observer’s left. When the flag is hung either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the Union should be to the observer’s left.

  • In a procession, the American flag should be to the right (the flag’s own right) of any other flag or, if in a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line.

  • When displayed from a staff projecting from a building, the union should be at the peak of the staff.

  • When the flag is displayed otherwise than by being flown from a staff, it should be displayed flat, whether indoors or out; or so suspended that its folds fall as freely as though the flag were staffed.

  • When displayed over a street, the flag should be suspended vertically with the union to the north in an east and west street, or to the east in a north and south street.

  • On a platform, the flag should be above and behind the speaker, with the union uppermost and to the observer’s left.

  • When displayed from a staff in a church or auditorium, the flag should occupy the position of honor and be placed at the speaker’s right as he faces the audience.

  • When the flag is used to cover a casket, the union should be at the head and over the left shoulder.

This infographic, from USA.gov, provides a visual representation of American Flag etiquette rules.

Proper Flag Disposal

The VFW provides these guidelines so that you can dispose of your flag correctly:

  1. The flag should be folded in its customary manner.

  2. It is important that the fire be fairly large and of sufficient intensity to ensure complete burning of the flag.

  3. Place the flag on the fire.

  4. The individual(s) can come to attention, salute the flag, recite the Pledge of Allegiance and have a brief period of silent reflection.

  5. After the flag is completely consumed, the fire should then be safely extinguished and the ashes buried.

  6. Please make sure you are conforming to local/state fire codes or ordinances.

American Flag Etiquette Don'ts

Here's a quick list of some "do nots" to keep in mind when flying or displaying the American flag from Military.com:

  • Don’t dip the U.S. Flag for any person, flag, or vessel.

  • Don’t let the flag touch the ground.

  • Don’t fly flag upside down unless there is an emergency.

  • Don’t carry the flag flat, or carry things in it.

  • Don’t use the flag as clothing.

  • Don’t store the flag where it can get dirty.

  • Don’t use it as a cover.

  • Don’t fasten it or tie it back. Always allow it to fall free.

  • Don’t draw on, or otherwise mark the flag.

  • Don’t use the flag for decoration. Use bunting with the blue on top, then white, then red.

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