Guidelines For Display of The
(We Wish to Acknowledge The US
Veterans Affairs for the info.)
Public Law 94-344, known as the Federal
Flag Code, contains rules for handling and displaying the
U.S. flag. While the federal code contains no penalties for
misusing the flag, states have their own flag codes and may
impose penalties. The language of the federal code makes
clear that the flag is a living symbol.
In response to a Supreme Court decision
which held that a state law prohibiting flag burning was
unconstitutional, Congress enacted the Flag Protection Act
in 1989. It provides that anyone who knowingly desecrates
the flag may be fined and/or imprisoned for up to one year.
However, this law was challenged by the Supreme Court in a
1990 decision that the Flag Protection Act violates the
First Amendment free speech protections.
Important Things to Remember
Traditional guidelines call for displaying
the flag in public only from sunrise to sunset. However, the
flag may be displayed at all times if it’s illuminated during
darkness. The flag should not be subject to weather damage, so
it should not be displayed during rain, snow and wind storms
unless it is an all-weather flag.
It should be displayed often, but especially
on national and state holidays and special occasions.
The flag should be displayed on or near the
main building of public institutions, schools during school
days, and polling places on election days. It should be hoisted
briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
The U.S. flag, when carried in a procession with
another or other flags, should be either on the marching right (the
flag’s own right) or, if there is a line of other flags, in front of
the center of that line. Never display the U.S. flag from a float
except from a staff, or so suspended that its folds fall free as
The U.S. flag, when displayed with another flag
against a wall from crossed staffs, should be on the U.S. flag’s own
right, and its staff should be in front of the staff of the other
The U.S. flag 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
When the U.S. flag is displayed other than from a
staff, it should be displayed flat, or so suspended that its folds
fall free. When displayed over a street, place the union so it faces
north or east, depending upon the direction of the street.
When other flags are flown from the same halyard,
the U.S. flag should always be at the peak. When other flags are
flown from adjacent staffs, the U.S. flag should be hoisted first
and lowered last. No flag may fly above or the right of the U.S.
flag (except flags of other nations; see below).
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 U.S. flag is displayed from a staff
projecting from a building, the union of the flag should be placed
at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half staff. When
suspended from a rope extending from the building on a pole, the
flag should be hoisted out, union first from the building.
The U.S. flag should form a distinctive feature
at the ceremony of unveiling a statue or monument, but should never
be used as the covering for the statue or monument.
When displayed from a staff in a church or public
auditorium, the U.S. flag should hold the position of superior
prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor
at the clergy’s or speaker’s right facing the audience. Any other
flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the speaker or to
the right of the audience.
If displayed flat against the wall on a speaker’s
platform, the U.S. flag should be placed above and behind the
speaker with the union of the flag in the upper left-hand corner as
the audience faces the flag.
When the U.S. 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. The flag, when flown at half staff, should be
first hoisted to the peak for a moment and then lowered to half
staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before
it is lowered for the day.
During a ceremony when hoisting, lowering or when
the flag is passing in parade, all persons should face the flag,
stand at attention and salute. A man should remove his hat and hold
it with the right hand over the heart. Men without hats and women
salute by placing the right hand over the heart. The salute to the
flag in the moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag
Things Not to Do with the Flag
- Dip it for any person or thing, even though state flags,
regimental colors and other flags may be dipped as a mark of
- Display it with the union down, except as a signal of
- Let the flag touch anything beneath it: ground, floor,
- Carry it horizontally, but always aloft.
- Fasten or display it in a way that will permit it to be
damaged or soiled.
- Place anything on the flag, including letters, insignia, or
designs of any kind.
- Use it for holding anything.
- Use it as wearing apparel, bedding or drapery. It should not
be used on a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch
may be attached to the uniform of patriotic organizations,
military personnel, police officers and firefighters.
- Use the flag for advertising or promotion purposes or print
it on paper napkins, boxes or anything else intended for
temporary use and discard.
During the hoisting or lowering of the flag or
when it passes in parade or review, Americans should stand at
attention facing the flag and place their right hand over the heart.
Uniformed military members render the military salute. Men not in
uniform should remove any headdress and hold it with their right
hand at their left shoulder, the hand resting over the heart. Those
who are not U.S. citizens should stand at attention.
When the flag is worn out or otherwise no
longer a fitting emblem for display, it should be destroyed in a
dignified way, preferably by burning.
(Thanks to Tom Rainsberry for providing
information on the US Flag Guidelines)