Below are excerpts from the United States Code-Patriotic Customs
(Title 36, Chapter 10) that provide information on the flag's display.
The United States Flag Code establishes advisory rules for
display and care of the flag of the United States. It is Chapter
1 of Title 4 of the United States Code (4 U.S.C. & 1 et seq).
This is a U.S. federal law, but there is no penalty for failure
to comply with it and the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that
punitive enforcement would conflict with the First Amendment
right to freedom of speech. This etiquette is as applied
within U.S. jurisdiction. In other countries and places, local
the American flag design on websites, clothing, jewelry, home
furnishings, and other pride of country intent...
Since the terrorists attacks on September 11, 2001 along
with the internet becoming integral in the lives of the
overwhelming majority of Americans ... the American
flag design has been used increasingly including for commercial
purposes ... with most never intending to demean ... the spirit
of the flag code ... but honoring the FLAG with pride and instilling
the same with fellow Americans ... even when it is for financial
gain. These Americans are expressing their First Amendment
right in respect of the flag and country ... not
burning it out of disdain for the USA!
the use of the American Flag in the USA Patriotism! logo ... is
all about pride of America and reinforcing what USA
Patriotism! is all about ... the United States of America
... It is also believed that the Founding Fathers would be proud
to see it used this way.
173. Display and use of flag by civilians: codification of rules and customs; definition
The following codification of existing rules and customs pertaining to the display and use of the flag of the United States of America is established for the use of such civilians or civilian groups or organizations as may not be required to conform with regulations promulgated by one or more executive departments of the Government of the United States. The flag of the United States for the purpose of this chapter shall be defined according to the Title 4, United States Code, chapter 1 section 1, and section 2 and Executive Order 10834 issued pursuant thereto.
174. Time and occasions for display
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 twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.
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 on all days, especially on
New Year's Day - January 1
Inauguration Day - January 20
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) - last Monday in May
Flag Day - June 14
Independence Day - July 4
Labor Day - first Monday in September
Columbus Day - second Monday in October
Navy Day - October 27
Veterans Day - November 11
Thanksgiving Day - fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day - December 25
- Other days as may be proclaimed by the President of the United States
Birthdays of States (date of admission
The flag should be displayed daily on or near the main administration building of every public institution.
The flag should be displayed in or near every polling place on election days.
- The flag should be displayed during school days in or near every schoolhouse.
175. 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.
should not be displayed on a float in a parade except from a staff, or as provided in subsection (i) of this section.
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.
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 of 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.
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.
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.
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
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
sized. 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 thirty days from the death of the President or a
former President; ten days from the 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 internment 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.
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.
- 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.
for the 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.
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.
The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but
always aloft and free.
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.
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.
The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.
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.
The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving,
holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
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 napkin 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.
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.
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.
177. Conduct during hoisting. lowering or passing of the flag
During the ceremony
of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in a
parade or in review...
Face the flag,
stand at attention, remove one's hat and place right
hand over heart
Current military members in
uniform... Face the flag,
stand at attention and render a military salute.
Veterans or former and present
military members not in uniform...
Face the flag, stand at attention, remove one's hat,
place right hand over heart or render a military salute.
- Aliens should stand at attention
The salute to the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the
moment the flag passes.
Poems about the Flag by
David Bancroft, USA Patriotism! founder
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