American Flag Etiquette

Want to know about American flag etiquette? Read on to find out how the American flag should be handled by law…

There is a standard Flag Code applicable in USA which provides details on how to respect the national flag. This ensures that there is unity and traditions are applied irrespective of the location or situation in which the flag is used.

In the standard code, the flag is never to be lowered to another object or person and can be flown upside down only in a distress signal mode. It is not allowed to use it as upholstery, advertising purposes, as a speaker cover, nor impressed neither embroidered on hankies, napkins, cushions for décor, for platform décor or decorative purposes. For commemorative décor, there are buntings available and they have to be placed with the blue stripes on top.

The American flag cannot be used to create a full costume or uniform and the flag may be represented on the uniforms of military persons, firemen, police or patriotic agencies in the form of a patch only. No other mark, element, lettering, word, numeric etc. can be attached to these flags.

They are not to be used as packing material to carry, deliver, or receive anything. It should be mended and cleaned as required and should never touch the ground. It is to be received by arms and hands and the flag must always be folded ceremoniously for storage. A worn out flag is to be burned in order to discard it in a respectful manner.

Displaying the Flag Outdoors

If the flag is displayed from a projecting staff, it should always be at the tip of the staff unless it is at half staff. When displayed on the same flagpole of another flag, it must be at the peak. An exception to this rule is when the church pennant is flown above the flag if a Navy chaplain conducts a service for Navy personnel at sea or on a ship. If displayed on a street it should be suspended vertically and the union should point north or east.

Raising and Lowering the Flag

The flag should be raised briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously. Ordinarily it should be displayed only between sunrise and sunset or it should be illuminated if displayed at night. The USA flag is always saluted when lowered and hoisted and the salute is held till it is removed from the pole or till the end of the music, whichever lasts longer.

Parading and Saluting the Flag

In a procession the flag should always be to the right of the parade and when carried in sync with others, it should be centered in front of the others or to the right.

When saluting the flag every one must be at attention and the uniformed men are to give the formal salute. Non uniformed citizens are to place their right hand on the heart and men should remove head cover and hold it to left shoulder with hand over the heart.

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