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Flag Etiquette

The federal flag code says the universal custom is to display the U.S. flag from sunrise to sunset on buildings and stationary flagstaffs in the open, but when a patriotic effect is desired the flag may be displayed 24-hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness. Also, the U.S. flag should not be displayed when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed.

Displaying the Flag

On Same Staff

U.S. flag at peak, above any other flag except a flag of another nation


U.S. flag goes to its own right. Flags of other nations are flown at same height.


U.S. flag to marchers right (observer's left).

On Speaker's Platform

When displayed with a speaker's platform, it must be above and behind the speaker. If mounted on a staff it is on the speaker's right.


Never use the flag for decoration. Use bunting with the blue on top, then white, then red.


Head bare (women and military leave hats on), right hand over heart, standing at attention

Over a Street

Union (stars) face north or east depending on the direction of the street.

Half Staff

On special days, the flag may be flown at half-staff. On Memorial Day it is flown at half-staff until noon and then raised.

Do not let the flag touch the ground.

Do not fly flag upside down unless there is an emergency.

Do not carry the flag flat, or carry things in it.

Do not use the flag as clothing.

Do not store the flag where it can get dirty.

Do not use it as a cover.

Do not fasten it or tie it back. Always allow it to fall free.

Do not draw on, or otherwise mark the flag.

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