theastrocowboy's Flag Etiquette page

as copied from the Annin & Co. brochure that accompanies most new commercially sold flags

as per the July 7, 1976 amendment (Public Law 94-344, 94th Congress, S.J. Res. 49)

to the Flag Code (Title 4, U.S. Code Chapter 1, June 22, 1942) as included below.

The flag code was adopted by the National Flag Conference, Washington, D.C., June 14-15, 1923, and Revised and Endorsed by the Second National Flag Conference, Washington, D.C., May 15, 1924. Revised and adopted at P.L. 623, 77th Congress, Second Session, June 22, 1942; as Amended by P.L. 829, 77th Congress, Second Session, December 22, 1942; P.L. 107 83rd Congress, 1st Session, July 9, 1953; P.L. 396, 83rd Congress, Second Session, June 14, 1954; P.L. 363, 90th Congress, Second Session, June 28, 1968; P.L. 344, 94th Congress, Second Session, July 7, 1976; P.L. 322, 103rd Congress, Second Session, September 13, 1994; P.L. 225, 105th Congress, Second Session, August 12, 1998; and P.L. 80, 106th Congress, First Session, October 25, 1999.
The " Flag Code "


All the states, at one time or another, have enacted laws relating to the United States Flag. Whereas the Federal Flag Code does not provide penalties for certain conduct or may not govern certain practices, state laws often do. At the national level, the Federal Flag Code (Title 36, U.S. Code, paragraph 170-178) provides uniform guidelines for the display of, and respect shown to, Our Flag, and conduct during playing of the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. The Code is designed 'for the use of such civilian groups of organizations as may not be required to conform with regulations promulgated by one or more executive departments' of the federal government, such as the armed forces. The Flag Code does not prescribe any penalties for non-compliance nor does it include enforcement provisions. Rather, it functions as a guide to be voluntarily followed by civilians and civilian groups.

While the Code empowers the President of the United States to alter, modify, repeal or prescribe additional rules regarding the Flag, no federal agency has the authority to issue 'official' rulings legally binding on civilians or civilian groups. Consequently, different interpretations of various provisions of the Code may continue to be made. The Flag Code may be fairly tested: 'No disrespect should be shown to the Flag of the United States of America.' Therefore, actions not specifically included in the Code may be deemed acceptable as long as proper respect is shown.


FYI: The owner of this website is a retired Air Force officer and member of the American Legion Post 43 in Jackson, WY.


Author's personal note:
The defeated flag amendment to the Constitution of the U.S., reads succinctly as follows:
"The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States."
That is all.  It will NOT create a law that says flag burners or urinators or whomever, for whatever reason, will be prosecuted or become automatic criminals or other similar canards being presented by its opponents.  However, this author does not support the amendment as we veterans served to preserve the Constitution & Bill of Rights and the flag is a representation of those documents.  It does not need to be amended.  IF, the amendment passes however, you know that the Congress will begin to pass laws as will be its right, to criminalize any desecration of the flag.  While despicable behavior, such a freedom of protesting, is what our nation stands for, however reprehensible it may be to many of us.  wf

Long may it waveGeneral Display

(Information to dispose of old flags in the Jackson, WY area is linked at the bottom of this page.)

It is the general custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flag staffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day, if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness. (The code is not specific here, but "properly lighted" has come to be interpreted as from below, the side or above.  For those of us in the Jackson, WY area, or almost anywhere, it is requested that when erecting a new flag, that due consideration be given to light pollution issues and make use of the least obtrusive lighting possible to "properly light" the flag.  This is to say, "Is a halogen light or lights pointed directly up at the sky, the most cost-effective and least offensive form of lighting that could be used?  Down lighting can be just as effective & minimize impact on the night sky.)

The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously. The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed. The flag should be displayed daily, on or near the main administration building of every public institution...in or near every polling place on election days...during school days in or near every schoolhouse. No other flag or pennant should be placed above or, if on the same level, to the right of the flag of the U.S., except during church services conducted by naval chaplains at sea...for personnel of the Navy...when the church pennant may be flown above the flag.

No person shall display the flag of the United Nations or any other national or international flag equal, above, or in a position of superior prominence or honor to, or in place of, the flag of the United States at any place within the U.S. or any Territory or possession thereof: Provided that nothing in this section shall make unlawful the continuance of the practice heretofore followed of displaying the flag of the United Nations in a position of superior prominence or honor, and other national flags in positions of equal prominence or honor, with that of the flag of the U.S. at the headquarters of the U.N.

The flag of the USA, when it is displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, should be on the right, the flag's own right, and its staff should be in front of the staff of the other flag. The flag of the USA should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of States or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs. When flags of States, cities or localities, or pennants of societies are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the U.S., the latter should always be at the peak. When the flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the flag of the U.S. should be hoisted first and lowered last. No such flag or pennant may be placed above the flag of the U.S. or to the United State's flag's right.

When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace. When the flag of the U.S. is displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from the window sill, balcony, or front of a building, the union (blue field with stars) of the flag should be placed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half-staff. When the flag is suspended over a sidewalk from a rope extending from a house to a pole at the edge of the sidewalk, the flag should be hoisted out, union first, from the building. When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way, with the union to the left of the observer in the street. When the flag is displayed over the middle of a street, it 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. The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.

The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water or merchandise. It should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way. It should never be used as a covering for a ceiling. It should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature. It should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.

Parades and Ceremonies

The flag, when carried in a procession or with another flag or flags, should be either on the marching right; that is, the flag's own right, or, if there is a line of others flags, in front of the center of that line. The flag should not be displayed on a float in a parade except from a staff (or as against a wall or in a window). It should form a distinctive feature of the ceremony of unveiling a statue or monument. But it should never be used as the covering for the statue or monument.

That no disrespect should be shown to the flag of the USA, the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor. The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.

During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in a parade or in review, all persons present except those in uniform should face the flag and stand at attention with the right hand over the heart. Those present in uniform should render the military salute (or under cover, such as American Legion or VFW members with their caps on), or, when not in uniform, men should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Aliens should stand at attention. The salute to the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes.

Folding the Flag

To fold the flag ceremoniously, first fold it lengthwise, bringing the striped half up over the blue field. Then repeat, with the blue field on the outside. Beginning at the lower right, make a series of triangular folds until the flag remembers a cocked hat with only the blue field visible.

Vehicles
The flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle or of a railroad train or boat. When the flag is displayed on a motorcar, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.

Corridors and lobbies

When the flag is suspended across a corridor or lobby in a building with only one main entrance, it should be suspended vertically with the union of the flag to the observer's left upon entering. If the building has more than one main entrance, the flag should be suspended vertically near the center of the corridor or lobby with the union to the North when entrances are to the East or West, or to the East when entrances are to the North or South. If there are entrances in more than two directions, the union should be to the East.

Rendering respects:

During the rendering of the national anthem when the flag is displayed and during the Pledge of Allegiance, all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should render the military salute at the first note of the anthem and retain this position until the last note. When the flag is not displayed, those present should face toward the music and act in the same manner as if the flag were displayed there.

Half-Staff presentation:

The flag should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day. On Memorial Day, the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff. By order of the President, the flag shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of principal figures of the U.S. Government and the Governor of a State, territory, or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory. In the event of the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries, the flag is to be displayed at half-staff according to Presidential instructions or orders, or in accordance with recognized customs or practices not inconsistent with law. In the event of the death of a present or former official of the government of any State, territory or possession of the U.S., the Governor of that entity may proclaim that the National flag may be flown at half-staff.

As wearing apparel, drapery, advertising, etc.

The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker's desk, draping the front of a platform, and for decoration in general. No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn of the left lapel near the heart. The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.

Disposal & Holidays

The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning. ( The local American Legion Post 43 [ Jackson, WY ] regularly conducts ceremonies to dispose of torn, worn, soiled, etc. flags and the public is invited to bring them to those ceremonies or to provide them to the Post for disposal. Usually the one particular ceremony being on June 14th, Flag Day. )

Flag holidays are: New Year's Day, January 1st                            Inauguration Day, Jan. 20th
Washington's Birthday, third Monday in February                       Easter Sunday, date varies
Mother's Day, second Sunday in May                                           Armed Forces Day, third Saturday in May
Memorial Day, (half-staff until noon), the last Monday in May     ***Flag Day, June 14th
Independence Day, July 4th                                                           Labor Day, first Monday in September
Constitution Day, Sept. 17th                                                         Columbus Day, second Monday in Oct.
Navy Day, Oct. 27                                                                         Veterans Day, Nov. 11th
Thanksgiving Day, 4th Thursday in Nov.                                      Christmas Day, Dec. 25th
AND, other days as may be proclaimed by the President of the United States; the birthdays of States, and on State holidays.

Other Good to Know Info not specifically in the Code

1.    A flag that has adorned a casket, can be used for other proper displays.
2.    Any genuine American flag, even with less that 50 stars, is a valid flag to be displayed.
3.    The flag code is a guideline & does not contain penalties for improper display or usage, except as noted in Section 3 in the District of Columbia.
4.    A flag does not have to be destroyed if it touches the ground, and dry cleaning or simple washing are acceptable.
5.    Fringe on a flag is acceptable.
6.    By contacting your Congressman or Senator, you can acquire a flag that has been flown over the nation's capitol in Washington, D.C. for a nominal fee.
7.    Points to ponder:
    a.    Is a flag painted on a lawn, a flag?
    b.    Is the flag waving at the top of my webpage, a flag applicable to the Flag Code?
    c.    What about the flag sewn to a ball cap, seat of pants, on a hankerchief, a napkin, a decal, a coffee cup, or other similar product commercial or otherwise?
    d.    Why are companies allowed to profit from selling flags?
    e.    Flags on service uniforms are set properly with blue field to the left, on the left shoulder.  On the right shoulder, they are inverted (blue field to the right) so as to imply forward movement, not retreat !  (We still make it up as we go.)

The December 2006 issue of American Legion Magazine suggests the following protocols for flying the flag from a motorcycle per their National Americanism Commission (We have an Americanism commission?).  Common-sense and reasonable suggestions, consistent with the code.

1.   If the U.S. Flag is flown alone, it must be displayed at the center, or at the rider's right side.
2.   Any other flags - other countries, POW flags, service branch, etc. - should be displayed to the rider's left.  Those flags can be the same size as the U.S. flag or smaller.
3.   For safety, it is recommended that any and all flags be flown from the back of a motorcycle.


( Lastly, a note from the owner & transcriber/author of this webpage...

   I am a veteran, American Legion Post 43 member in Jackson, WY, long time advocate in the POW/MIA issue & past regional rep for the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C., all with web info within this website. The flag presumably belongs to the government, not to any person; it belongs to all of us.  In the earliest days of our flag, people or units, especially in the Civil War, would simply make their own "American" flags & bring them to the fight.  Some had 13 stars early on, and some removed stars (called "exclusionary flags") relative to what states did or didn't support slavery.  Our "flag" is a very subjective piece of cloth.  Adding stars to the flag for each new state was initially, the invention of flag makers, not someone else like say, Congress.  Another curious point is whether Congress will address the display of the flag electronically on websites.  Is a personal site like mine OK, but not OK on a commercial site, etc?  How far do we take it?  Note the photo below & that even the President can't get it right.
   Interestingly, every year, the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament opens their finals w/a flag presentation at center court.  I have contacted them, and the Marine Corps in that area, to advise them that according to the flag code, they present it - improperly, year after year.  I have not been contacted by either entity, but, if the Marine Corps can't or won't do it properly, why should we worry about anyone else who doesn't know about a flag code displaying it improperly in the first place?  Why do some Americans, many vets, etc., even give a damn?  And, at other sporting events, other or combined military units, don't do it correctly either.  So, either do it right, change the code, or quit being so self-righteous about how others display it.

If you've read all the above, I can only hope you agree & will use this page in the spirit with which is was posted, to inform and to enlighten.  Fly the flag properly, don't disrespect it and if your protest is genuine, I'll stand by you to have done so.  Walt Farmer, Capt, USAF Ret. )

(This picture, is a no-no.)
AP Photo, Michigan, Pres. Bush autographs U.S. Flag, 7.28.03


(If you live in the area of Jackson, WY, you can contact our Legion Post to have your tattered or damaged or worn flags properly destroyed.  We have even placed a box on our front lawn for drop-off.  Contact information for that purpose is on American Legion Post 43's webpageHOWEVER, despite my repeated requests, even though I was the person who suggested we set out a deposit box for locals to leave their flags with us for dignified destruction per the Flag Code, this commander & this post, has never conducted a formal flag destruction ceremony, which is both disrepectful to the flag & local citizens who believed that the Legion post would honor their tattered & deposited flags.  This information is still on their current website.  And, the national office of the Legion apparently doesn't care either, telling me that they do not interfere with the operation of local posts!  I wonder if that displays their level of dedication to see that the flag is respected?  As such my advice to locals is, burn it or destroy it yourself.  If you do so with sincerity & respect, you'll be doing better than those veterans at our local post who say they'll do it for you.  I apologize for starting the deposit box & misleading you about the post's intent.  wf)


OTHER, the formal rules per the Code:
Sec. 1. - Flag; stripes and stars on
    The flag of the United States shall be thirteen horizontal stripes, alternate red and white; and the union of the flag shall be forty-eight stars, white in a blue field

Sec. 2. - Same; additional stars
    On the admission of a new State into the Union one star shall be added to the union of the flag; and such addition shall take effect on the fourth day of July then next succeeding such admission

(Watch out if you live the District of Columbia...)

Flag Code, Sec. 3. - Use of flag for advertising purposes; mutilation of flag
    Any person who, within the District of Columbia, in any manner, for exhibition or display, shall place or cause to be placed any word, figure, mark, picture, design, drawing, or any advertisement of any nature upon any flag, standard, colors, or ensign of the United States of America; or shall expose or cause to be exposed to public view any such flag, standard, colors, or ensign upon which shall have been printed, painted, or otherwise placed, or to which shall be attached, appended, affixed, or annexed any word, figure, mark, picture, design, or drawing, or any advertisement of any nature; or who, within the District of Columbia, shall manufacture, sell, expose for sale, or to public view, or give away or have in possession for sale, or to be given away or for use for any purpose, any article or substance being an article of merchandise, or a receptacle for merchandise or article or thing for carrying or transporting merchandise, upon which shall have been printed, painted, attached, or otherwise placed a representation of any such flag, standard, colors, or ensign, to advertise, call attention to, decorate, mark, or distinguish the article or substance on which so placed shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $100 or by imprisonment for not more than thirty days, or both, in the discretion of the court. The words ''flag, standard, colors, or ensign'', as used herein, shall include any flag, standard, colors, ensign, or any picture or representation of either, or of any part or parts of either, made of any substance or represented on any substance, of any size evidently purporting to be either of said flag, standard, colors, or ensign of the United States of America or a picture or a representation of either, upon which shall be shown the colors, the stars and the stripes, in any number of either thereof, or of any part or parts of either, by which the average person seeing the same without deliberation may believe the same to represent the flag, colors, standard, or ensign of the United States of America

Sec. 4. - Pledge of allegiance to the flag; manner of delivery
    The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, ''I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.'', should be rendered by standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. When not in uniform men should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should remain silent, face the flag, and render the military salute

Sec. 6. - Time and occasions for display
    (a) It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.
(b) The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
(c) The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all weather flag is displayed.
(d) The flag should be displayed on all days, especially on New Year's Day, January 1; Inauguration Day, January 20; Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, third Monday in January; Lincoln's Birthday, February 12; Washington's Birthday, third Monday in February; Easter Sunday (variable); Mother's Day, second Sunday in May; Armed Forces Day, third Saturday in May; Memorial Day (half-staff until noon), the last Monday in May; Flag Day, June 14; Independence Day, July 4; Labor Day, first Monday in September; Constitution Day, September 17; Columbus Day, second Monday in October; Navy Day, October 27; Veterans Day, November 11; Thanksgiving Day, fourth Thursday in November; Christmas Day, December 25; and such other days as may be proclaimed by the President of the United States; the birthdays of States (date of admission); and on State holidays.
(e) The flag should be displayed daily on or near the main administration building of every public institution.
(f) The flag should be displayed in or near every polling place on election days.
(g) The flag should be displayed during school days in or near every schoolhouse

Sec. 7. - Position and manner of display
    The flag, when carried in a procession with another flag or flags, should be either on the marching right; that is, the flag's own right, or, if there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line.
(a) The flag should not be displayed on a float in a parade except from a staff, or as provided in subsection (i) of this section.
(b) The flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle or of a railroad train or a boat. When the flag is displayed on a motorcar, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.
(c) No other flag or pennant should be placed above or, if on the same level, to the right of the flag of the United States of America, except during church services conducted by naval chaplains at sea, when the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for the personnel of the Navy. No person shall display the flag of the United Nations or any other national or international flag equal, above, or in a position of superior prominence or honor to, or in place of, the flag of the United States at any place within the United States or any Territory or possession thereof: Provided, That nothing in this section shall make unlawful the continuance of the practice heretofore followed of displaying the flag of the United Nations in a position of superior prominence or honor, and other national flags in positions of equal prominence or honor, with that of the flag of the United States at the headquarters of the United Nations.
(d) The flag of the United States of America, when it is displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, should be on the right, the flag's own right, and its staff should be in front of the staff of the other flag.
(e) 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 or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs.
(f) When flags of States, cities, or localities, or pennants of societies are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the United States, the latter should always be at the peak. When the flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the flag of the United States should be hoisted first and lowered last. No such flag or pennant may be placed above the flag of the United States or to the United States flag's right.
(g) When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace.
(h) When the flag of the United States is displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from the window sill, balcony, or front of a building, the union of the flag should be placed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half-staff. When the flag is suspended over a sidewalk from a rope extending from a house to a pole at the edge of the sidewalk, the flag should be hoisted out, union first, from the building.
(i) When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.
(j) When the flag is displayed over the middle of the street, it 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.
(k) When used on a speaker's platform, the flag, if displayed flat, should be displayed above and behind the speaker. When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium, the flag of the United States of America should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman's or speaker's right as he faces the audience. Any other flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker or to the right of the audience.
(l) The flag should form a distinctive feature of the ceremony of unveiling a statue or monument, but it should never be used as the covering for the statue or monument.
(m) The flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day. On Memorial Day the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff. By order of the President, the flag shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of principal figures of the United States Government and the Governor of a State, territory, or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory. In the event of the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries, the flag is to be displayed at half-staff according to Presidential instructions or orders, or in accordance with recognized customs or practices not inconsistent with law. In the event of the death of a present or former official of the government of any State, territory, or possession of the United States, the Governor of that State, territory, or possession may proclaim that the National flag shall be flown at half-staff. The flag shall be flown at half-staff 30 days from the death of the President or a former President; 10 days from the day of death of the Vice President, the Chief Justice or a retired Chief Justice of the United States, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives; from the day of death until interment of an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, a Secretary of an executive or military department, a former Vice President, or the Governor of a State, territory, or possession; and on the day of death and the following day for a Member of Congress. The flag shall be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day, unless that day is also Armed Forces Day. As used in this subsection -
(1) the term ''half-staff'' means the position of the flag when it is one-half the distance between the top and bottom of the staff;
(2) the term ''executive or military department'' means any agency listed under sections 101 and 102 of title 5, United States Code; and
(3) the term ''Member of Congress'' means a Senator, a Representative, a Delegate, or the Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico.
(n) When the flag is used to cover a casket, it should be so placed that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground.
(o) When the flag is suspended across a corridor or lobby in a building with only one main entrance, it should be suspended vertically with the union of the flag to the observer's left upon entering. If the building has more than one main entrance, the flag should be suspended vertically near the center of the corridor or lobby with the union to the north, when entrances are to the east and west or to the east when entrances are to the north and south. If there are entrances in more than two directions, the union should be to the east

Sec. 8. - Respect for flag
    No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.
(a) The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
(b) The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
(c) The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker's desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.
(e) The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
(f) The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.
(g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
(h) The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
(i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.
(j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.
(k) The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning

Sec. 9. - Conduct during hoisting, lowering or passing of flag
    During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in a parade or in review, all persons present except those in uniform should face the flag and stand at attention with the right hand over the heart. Those present in uniform should render the military salute. When not in uniform, men should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Aliens should stand at attention. The salute to the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes

Sec. 10. - Modification of rules and customs by President
    Any rule or custom pertaining to the display of the flag of the United States of America, set forth herein, may be altered, modified, or repealed, or additional rules with respect thereto may be prescribed, by the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, whenever he deems it to be appropriate or desirable; and any such alteration or additional rule shall be set forth in a proclamation.


I get a lot of hits here regarding inquiries about various misc. questions regarding the flag, saluting, etc.  I'll address them here from my personal knowledge, and that of a military officer.

    1.    Saluting:  a.    If you are a civilian, indoors or out, during the Pledge or the playing of the National Anthem, or when the flag passes you in a parade or at a funeral event, etc., remove your hat/cap/etc., and salute by placing your hand over your heart.  This should also apply to members of the active military not in uniform when these events occur.
    b.    If you are a member of the military and in uniform, render the appropriate hand salute to your service cap, indoors or out, although perfunctory etiquette requires that your hat be removed when indoors and that would require a salute with hand over heart or to hold the cap/hat over the heart.  Similarly, if you are a member of a service organization such as the VFW or the American Legion, and in civilian clothes, place your hand over your heart, but if you are "under cover" of your Legion or VFW cap, render the hand salute. Indoors?  Remove Legion or VFW cap & hold that over the heart.
    (c.    There is legislation currently in Congress (late 2007) that would allow military [or retirees] in civilian clothing, to render the hand salute.  Some think this is a good idea so that  military persons can be sort of, singled out.  But, if you are military and do so, and the person next to you was never in the military, he/she will likely think they too are supposed to render the hand salute instead of placing their hand over the heart to give honors.  Others would likely follow as well, and now, everyone is giving the hand salute.  If they are NOT former military, it theoretically should diminish the salute given by the military member.  I think this legislation is well-intended, but rather inane in its possible passage.)  This legislation, Passed!
    2.    Is it disrespectful to touch the flag if it is low enough to do so?  Why should it be?  In my town, there was one on display at the local KMart within reach & I passed by it often, and often without thinking, reach up and touch it when passing, out of respect.  If you think this disrespectful, my apologies.  There was another flag in the store, over the exit door, with names on it I presumed, of fallen soldiers, printed in the white stripes.  Technically, this is not allowed per the Flag Code.  Perhaps it is an uninformed way of respecting those fallen soldiers.  Only the "flag police" can make that call.
    3.    Flags on motorcycles?  So long as the American flag is on the left when facing it, fine.  The trick here is who is facing which part of the bike, and how big should such a flag be?  I would suggest generally, a medium to small flag, and that "facing" the bike would imply facing it from the front, much as it is accomplished on a military staff car.  I don't think anyone has ever officially addressed this often asked question.
    4.    At a front door of a residence?  Again, place it to the left of the door as a person would see it approaching the door.  Or not, the flag police aren't around the corner - yet.
    5.    What to do if the flag touches the ground?  Burn it, destroy it, hurt the person that let it touch the ground?  Come on folks, get over it.  Pick the flag up, dust it off, fly it like normal.  It doesn't automatically become worthless.  It happened, try not to let it happen again, you're not a bad person nor is the person who let it touch the ground, unless maybe they were deliberately making a statement against the flag.  Nasty, but it's sort of their right if they want to be jerks about it.
    6.    Many people inquire as to why the flag patch on the soldier's uniform is sewn on backwards.  It's to symbolically indicate movement toward battle.
    7.    The Blue Star Service Banner was designed and patented in 1917 by WWI Army Capt. Robert L. Queissner of the 5th Ohio Infantry.  It quickly became an unofficial symbol to identify a home with a loved one at war.  The gold star, indicates someone from that household, has been killed while on active duty.
    8.    From Wikipedia:  United States Code, 36 U.S.C. Para. 301, states that during a rendition of the national anthem, when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart; Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present and not in uniform may render the military salute; men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold the headdress at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart; and individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note; and when the flag is not displayed, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed. The national anthem is also played on U.S. military installations at the beginning of the duty day (0600) and at the end of duty day (1700). Military law requires all vehicles on the installation to stop when the song is played and all individuals outside to stand at attention and face the direction of the music and either salute, in uniform, or place the right hand over the heart, if out of uniform. Recently enacted law in 2008 allows military veterans to salute out of uniform, as well.
    8a.  However, this statutory suggestion does not have any penalty associated with violations. 36 U.S.C. para 301.  Moreover, generations of students who were introduced to flag etiquette prior to its enactment in 1998 were taught that the hand over the heart gesture was exclusively for the Pledge of Allegiance which has had the statutory requirement for much longer.  This behavioral requirement for the national anthem is subject to the same  First Amendment controversies that surround the Pledge.  For example, Jehovah's Witnesses are not required to stand for or sing the national anthem.
    9.    From the July 2008 edition of the American Legion magazine...
            a.    "The U.S. Flag Code is a federal law, providing rules for proper display, treatment & respect for Old Glory.  No committee of Congress has sole authority over the flag.  No government agency controls its place in society.  There are no flag police.  The U.S. Flag Code essentially belongs to the people, and its enforcement is most often conducted through education.  The code has been modified many times over the years, including 2008, when military personnel & veterans were given authority to salute the flag even when not in uniform.
            b.    The U.S. Flag patch on the right shoulder of a military uniform is reversed to reflect the proper method of displaying a flag that is moving, as if it is being carried forward into battle, during time of war.
            c.    As long as they are not made from actual U.S. Flags, patriotic articles of clothing and accessories featuring the Stars and Stripes are not a violation of the Flag Code.
            d.    Bike flags: Legion Riders often display flags on the backs of motorcycles.  The proper position for Old Glory, when two different flags are displayed, is on the rider's right.  One U.S. Flag: center or right.
            e.    The U.S. Flag Code was amended to 2007 to expand the authority of state governors to issue proclamations ordering the U.S. Flag to fly at half-staff after the death of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces.  Federal installations and facilities within a state governor's jurisdiction shall follow such proclamations.  Mayors, other than the mayor of the District of Columbia, do not have authority to issue proclamations to fly the U.S. Flag at half-staff.
            f.    A change to Section 9 of the U.S. Flag Code written in the Defense Authorization Act this year (2008) now gives veterans and members of the U.S. Armed Forces the authority to render a salute to the flag, whether or not they are in uniform or wearing identifying veteran apparel such as an American Legion cap.  All others present should remove any headwear, face the flag and place their right hand over their heart.  (Author: How will others know they should do this if standing next to a vet not in uniform but saluting?)  Headwear should be held to the left shoulder, leaving the right hand over the heart.  These acts are to be conducted anytime there is a hoisting of lowering of the U.S. Flag, whenever it passes.  Citizens of foreign countries should stand at attention.
            g.  The U.S. Flag Code does not prohibit later flying of a casket flag used in a funeral service.  Rather, it is a fitting tribute to the memory of the deceased  veteran and their service when the casket flag is displayed."
This concludes the Legion's comments from that issue of their magazine.

   10.  Wearing the flag pin on a lapel?  Well, most people wear them on the left lapel, but, should they be worn on the right one if that's how people face them so the flag is on the left?  Possibly, but probably not really, unless other flag pins are worn on the same garment, then one would presume that as in other situations, the Amer. flag should always be on the left of any other flag displayed, or higher than any other.  Referring to the flag as a living symbol, a flag pin should be worn on clothing over the person's left breast, which is to say: over the heart.
              Well, the possibilities seem to be endless.
11.    Touching the flag, disrespectful???  Come on.  Touching, even kissing the flag, is not about disrespect, unless disrespect is intended.  Walking on it is something else again.
12.    Is it disrespectful to wash the flag?  Quite the contrary.  Flying the flag dirty might be considered disrespectful.  Clean it by washing or dry cleaning, etc., brighten it up.
13.    At the beginning of something like a football game, can the flag be displayed by military or others horizontally to the field.  Flag Code says....No.
14.    Holiday or party napkins, cups, plates, etc. with the flag?  Nope.  Food decorated as a flag?  Not really appropriate.  "Designed" or made to be eaten?
15.    Stamps with flags on them?    Technically by the code, no.
16.    

I'll add other observations and suggestions here as they arise.
_______________________________________________

Also, people search the internet with questions & come to this site for answers.  I appreciate the confidence, but, some questions are a little beyond me & frankly, some outright amaze me.  Spellings are accurately represented in questions.  Some inquiries are just philosophically, amazing.  Some defy any response at all.  Sorry I don't have any smiley emoticons!  (Not really.)  Here's a few...

1.    "Does the President salute the flag?"  Why wouldn't he?  Do you?  Is he somehow less an American than you or I?
        a.  "Should FBI agents salute the flag, or one another?"  Everyone should salute the flag.  Whether they salute one another solely depends on how much they like each other.
2.    "If a civilian sees a flag in a parade, what should they do?"  The best answer is salute with the hand over their heart.  But if they don't, that's OK too.
3.    "How far below the American flag must the next flag be separated?"  How about just below, or not touching, or something like that?
4.    "Is a torn flag OK to fly?"  Yes, but better for one clean & not tattered.
5.    "What about napkins w/the American flag on them?"  Not really.
6.    "Veterans Day flag position?"  Prominent seems good.
7.    "Which side should an American lapel flag be worn?"  See above for generality.
   
     a. "Flag pin disrespect?"  See 14.
        b. "Is wearing a U.S. flag pin disrespectful on Veterans Day?"
       
c. "Which side do you wear an American flag pin when veteran is deceased cop?"
8.    "Lowering flag during war?"
9.    "VFW fringed flag outside?"
10.  "Is it OK to display the flag in a restaurant?"  Nothing restricts the flag from being displayed inside a place of business.  The aim should be to display it respectfully, wherever it flies or hangs, without commercial intent or for personal gain.
11.  "Is it OK to display the flag backwards?"  It's still the flag isn't it, backwards or frontwards?  Besides, if it's flying from a flagpole, how do you display it backwards in the first place?  Upside down however, has quite another meaning - distress.
12.  "When can the flag of another country fly above the U.S. flag?"  Never in the U.S.
        a.  "Can you fly another flag at the same height as the American flag?"  Can you?  Yes.  Should you?  No.
13.  "Is it OK to wash the American flag?"  Yes.  In fact, this is recommended if the flag is dirty, but not tattered so that it needs destruction.
14.  "How do you dispose of a replica American flag?  See 7.
15.  "Removing headwear during the pledge of allegiance?"  Generally, yes, hold in hand & place hand over your heart unless in military uniform.
        a.  "Are there any penalties for not removing your hat during the National annthum (their spelling)?"  Duh, shoot 'em all, then shoot the shooters.  Otherwise, no.
16.  "Why is it disrespectful to burn the flag?"  Depends on when/where/why/how/etc., intent?,  doesn't it?
17.  "What to do with the Amer. flag after a funeral?"  Flag on casket is given to designated next-of-kin.
        b  "Flag painted casket?"  Jeez.
        c.  "When to salute the flag at a funeral indoors?"  Almost never within the audience, except maybe for any formal presentation of the flag to the front of the room or its removal, or when engaging the Pledge of Allegiance - with no cap on indoors, hand over heart is more appropriate.  The funeral detail usually takes care of the obligatory salutes when folding/presenting the flag to the family.
18.  "Is it disrespectable to light up a flagpole with Christmas lights?"
19.  "Who has authority to change U.S. flag etiquette?"  Good one.  The current U.S. Flag Code was adopted by the U.S. Congress.  See top of page.  As far as I know, it's the only codified set of rules for respecting the flag although other organizations have their own additional made-up rules, such as the American Legion.
20.  "If the American flag touches the ground, do you really have to burn it or can you just wash it?"  (These are real web inquiries to my website folks, really.)
        a  "Picture of soldiers putting flag on ground?"
        b.  "What happens if the American flag touches the floor?"  Same thing as if it touches the air???  No, the republic does not go up in a poof of smoke & the flag does NOT have to be burned.
        c.  "Is the flag touching bushes, condered touching the ground?"    ???
        d.  "Do you arrest a person who lets the flag touch the ground?"  Jeez!
21.  "Why do you say two when lowering a salute to the flag?"  Huh?  The command should be "Order... arms." (For some unknown reason, some branches of the military do use that verbalization in D&C.)
22.  "How should an American flag be displayed at a residence?"  Depends on variables: on a pole, on a wall, on a roof, etc..  Consult the insert that probably came with the flag gotten at the hardware store or wherever.  Generally, prominently, & to the left of or above any other flags, much like anywhere else.  Take it down at night, or light it (consider light pollution issues).
23.  "What should you do if the flag is being flown improperly?"  This is a good one.  For the most part, nothing.  No law against flying the flag improperly.  However, there is the court of public opinion & appealing to the patriotism of the individual or business or whomever directly, that is flying the flag improperly.  You can just approach them w/information, a copy of the flag code, etc., to advise them & ask them to display it properly.  If they're flying it at all, they should want to make sure they're doing it right.  Perhaps someone else is working for them & hoisting it each day & they don't know they're doing it wrong.  They probably will want to do it right, although they'll want to know who the hell you are, why you're bothering them, what your problem is.  I know.
    If you're a member of an Amer. Legion post of VFW post or public service organization, you can start a committee (as I did) to get others to join you in calling these places/individuals, & ask them to fly it properly.  You could also as head of that committee, send them a courteous & informative letter on organization letterhead which will usually be significant to them.  If the offender is a public or governmental entity, lean on 'em.  They must get it right.  To others, point out other correctly flown flags at other locations in your town.  Keep after them for a while, then, why bother anymore?  Dufus is as dufus does.  It's not worth setting up a business boycott or other such inanities.  Occasionally write a generic letter to the editor asking entities to fly it properly, perhaps pointing out per the U.S. Flag Code, types of often committed irregularities that need addressing.  Then, send the entity w/the mistake, a copy of the paper.  If there are any patriotic radio shows on Memorial or Veterans Day in your area (wish you could tune mine in), ask them to mention recurring flag flying errors - or maybe have a call in for people to ask questions of a local authority on the Flag Code in the area.   All sorts of misc. options, but unless someone is an outright jerk regarding the flag's proper display, you can be a little rude in return, but flying it badly isn't a reason for illegal retribution.  Again, there is no flag police, & you can't arbitrarily appoint yourself the flag police commanding general & get it done.  Stand up, but just don't forget the freedoms our constitution gives all of us to be a jerk, or a misinformed citizen.
24.  Is it ever correct for one to salute when presented the flag at a funeral?  It is OK to do so, however, the person being presented the flag should be standing unless they cannot due to physical impairment.


For those wishing to know the proper comments to make at a memorial service or at the gravesite when presenting the flag to the next-of-kin or designated recipient...

(It would not be inappropriate at a local ceremony for a veteran, to extend a sincere comment, about the person's personal service, such as:
   
"...and for his/her service to our community, our Legion/VFW post," (etc.), adding, "(s)he will not be forgotten."
Upon completing the presentation, slowly stand to attention.  A slow hand salute (white glove is appropriate) is given & retired, then, an about-face - to rejoin the detail.)


Order of Flags:

When authorized, the following may be flown beneath the flag of the United States:

Order of precedence for the military branches:


(Author:  I wonder how it should be displayed on a webpage?  Time for some code updating? Or, see what you think of these dubious representations of the flag by clicking on this LINK.)

Walt's Home Page


The standard

 

If you see anything here that is wrong, needs correcting, a good suggestion to enhance the above info, etc., let me know.

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