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Flag Etiquette

by on July 12, 2013
Image courtesy of Michael Elliott at

Image courtesy of Michael Elliott at

If there’s one thing you’ll learn about me it’s that I’m a flag etiquette freak.  There’s just something about seeing a flag flying properly that gives me a chill.  When it’s done incorrectly…well let’s just say I get up in arms. Maybe it’s because my dad raised me around Boy Scouts or that I have quite a few military veterans in my family.  Whatever the reason let me share some etiquette with you.

  1. Never fly a flag at night without a light shining on it.
  2. Flying a flag upside down is an international sign of distress. If you do this you’re asking for the U.N. to send in troops.
  3. You fly a flag at half-mast after a national tragedy of when a political figure has passed.  To properly fly it you must raise the flag to the top of the flagpole then lower it to half.
  4. No other flag flies equal to the American flag. State, group or company flags must fly at a lower level.
  5. No part of an American flag should be used as adornment. This is why when you see red, white and blue bunting although it is similar to a flag it is not identical.
  6. Flags on a wall should be on the wall toward Washington D.C. so most flags are posted to the east wall accept a few in the south and north along the Eastern seaboard.
  7. When carried the U.S. flag does not bow to anyone, even a U.S. President. This caused great disrespect during the 1988 Olympics to the host country, but a rule’s a rule.
  8. No flag in disrepair should be flown. There is a ceremony where it can be properly interred in a fire where all parts are destroyed. The metal grommets, what you raise the flag by, must then be buried or given to the persons in charge of the ceremony as a sign of a job well done.
  9. During the raising and lowering of a flag there should be silence.  All but religious headwear should be removed and you should be standing if able.

10. A flag should never be marked with any additional insignia, letter, word, number, figure or drawing.

Don’t just remember these rules on Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day and The Fourth of July; remember then whenever you see a flag flying. It took a lot of sacrifice for all those stars to be put on there.  It’s a symbol of freedom of thought and the ability to be whatever you dream.


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