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Showing Respect: Rules for Flying the American Flag

The internet’s full of fascinating statistics about the American flag. For instance, did you know that there are 6 of these flags flying on the moon? And that manufacturers ship $300 million of products with the stars and stripes on every year?

Clearly, we’re a proud nation of patriotic flag flyers! Yet showing respect to our flag and everything it represents isn’t as simple as some people think. There’s an actual US Flag Code, established in Congress around 80 years ago, which details the correct way to display the American flag!

Learning more about the proper etiquette of flag flying is the best way to ensure you show this symbol of our nation’s sovereignty the respect it deserves. With that in mind, read on to discover the crucial rules for flying the American flag that every patriot needs to know!

You Can Display It Everyday

Sunrise to sunset, every single day. That’s how often you’re encouraged to display the American flag! We’ll address a few exceptions to this rule in due course, but you’ve got the official go-ahead to hoist the flag 365 days of the year.

However, not everybody wants to display the stars and stripes on such a regular basis. If that’s the case for you, then why not save it for special occasions in the calendar instead? For example, many Americans choose to show their patriotic side by hanging the flag on Labor Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving Day, Independence Day, Easter Sunday, and Inauguration Day, among other events of this nature.

Take It Down in Bad Weather

You need to keep an eye on the weather though. Whether it’s a matter of tradition or respect, when the wind’s high, snow’s falling, or it’s raining outside, good flag flying etiquette requires you not to display the stars and stripes. Wait for any inclement weather to pass before raising it back into its customary position.

The only exception is when you have an all-weather flag. In these cases, Title 36, Chapter 10 of the US Flag Code says you can leave it flying all day long- regardless of what’s happening outside. Of course, buy yourself indoor flag pole kits and you won’t have to worry about the weather in the first place!

Light It Up at Night

Most flags come down with the sun. The day comes to an end, the sun sinks below the horizon, and these proud symbols of America are lowered at the same time! They’re then hoisted back up as the sun returns to the sky in the morning.

Don’t fancy the hassle of taking it down every day? Install some lighting to illuminate it throughout the night and you don’t have to! Combine these nightlights with an all-weather flag and you’ll never have to lower the flag at all.

Half-Staff for National Mourning

Flags are amazing ways to show respect and solidarity in times of national mourning. No matter the catastrophe or day of remembrance in question, it’s customary to fly them at half-staff. It might seem like a minor thing, but few sights are more powerful to behold than a street of American flags in this position!

The order to fly at half-staff usually comes from a presidential proclamation. But you might also hear it from your state’s governor (or the mayor of the District of Columbia). In general, you should lift the flag to the top of the mast for a brief moment before lowering it to the half-way point.

Don’t Let It Touch the Ground

Flag flying 101 dictates that you should never let your flag touch the floor! This is all about respecting the stars and stripes and preserving its aesthetics. Whether it’s being displayed over concrete, grass, or water, the flag must remain off the ground at all times.

After all, a muddy, wet, or weather-beaten flag does no justice to the values it represents. You don’t have to do anything as extreme as throwing it away if an accident does occur and it hits the floor. But you should endeavor to treat the flag like a treasured possession, take pride in its appearance, and only ever display it in a good condition.

Hang It the Right Way

The manner in which you display the American flag’s important too. The ‘right way’ varies depending on where you’re hanging it.

For example, the blue section (known as the union) should always be at the top of the staff when you’re displaying the flag from your porch. If you’re hanging it vertically (from a wall, for instance), then the union should be in the top left corner. And if it’s being flown from your vehicle, then make sure you have the staff clamped tightly to the front right fender.

It’s Different On Memorial Day

The rules for flying the American flag change on the last Monday of May though. As you know, this is Memorial Day, which honors the brave military men and women who have died in service to the country. It’s only fitting that this important public holiday has its own flag etiquette.

In recognition of the occasion, you should fly the US flag outside your home at half-staff until midday. Then, when noon comes around, you should raise it to full-mast. You’d leave it there until the day draws to a close.

Remember The Rules for Showing Respect with the American Flag

Showing respect to the American flag and our might nation involves more than putting it on display! Nope, you have to do it in alignment with the US Flag Code and the strict etiquette that entails. Have you been thinking about installing a flagpole and flying flags outside your home?

Well, follow the guidelines in this article and you’ll be doing it properly in no time. Oh, and here’s a bonus rule: remember to hoist the US flag higher than any others you choose to display! To read more articles like this one, search ‘America’ on the website now.

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