U.S. Flag Code
When to Display your Flag
New Year's Day, January 1.
Martin Luther King's Birthday, Third Monday in January.
Washington's Birthday, February 22.
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 14th.
Independence Day, July 4th.
Labor Day, First Monday in September.
Constitution Day, September 17th.
Columbus Day, October 12th.
Veterans Day, November 11th.
Thanksgiving Day, Fourth Thursday in November.
Christmas Day, December 25th.
Election Days (various).
Federally observed dates of the above holidays which may be different from the actual dates.
Such days as may be proclaimed by the President of the United States.
State and Local Holidays.
When displaying the flag, DO the following:
- Display the U.S. flag from sunrise to sunset on buildings and stationary flagstaffs in the open. When a patriotic effect is desired the flag may be displayed 24-hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.
- When placed on a single staff or lanyard, place the U.S. Flag above all other flags.
- When flags are displayed in a row, the U.S. flag goes to the observer’s left. Flags of other nations are flown at same height. State and local flags are traditionally flown lower.
- When used during a marching ceremony or parade with other flags, the U.S. Flag will be to the observer’s left.
- On special days, the flag may be flown at half-staff. On Memorial Day it is flown at half-staff until noon and then raised.
- 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. By "half-staff" is meant lowering the flag to one-half the distance between the top and bottom of the staff.
- When the flag is displayed over the middle of the street, it should be suspended vertically with the union (blue field of stars) to the north in an east and west street or to the east in a north and south street.
- When placed on a Podium the flag should be placed on the speaker’s right or the staging area. Other flags should be placed to the left.
- When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall (or other flat surface), the union (blue field of stars) should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left.
- When displayed in a window it 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 on a car, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.
- 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 saluting the flag DO the following:
- All persons present in uniform (military, police, fire, etc.) should render the military salute. Members of the armed forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute.
- All other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.
When stowing or disposing of the flag, DO the following:
- Fold in the traditional triangle for stowage, never wadded up.
- The VFW offers the following instructions for properly disposing of a worn flag:
- The flag should be folded in its customary manner.
- It is important that the fire be fairly large and of sufficient intensity to ensure complete burning of the flag.
- Place the flag on the fire.
- The individual(s) can come to attention, salute the flag, recite the Pledge of Allegiance and have a brief period of silent reflection.
- After the flag is completely consumed, the fire should then be safely extinguished and the ashes buried.
- Please make sure you are conforming to local/state fire codes or ordinances.
Quick list of Flag Etiquette Don’ts:
- Don’t dip the U.S. Flag for any person, flag, or vessel.
- Don’t let the flag touch the ground.
- Don’t fly flag upside down unless there is an emergency.
- Don’t carry the flag flat, or carry things in it.
- Don’t use the flag as clothing.
- Don’t store the flag where it can get dirty.
- Don’t use it as a cover.
- Don’t fasten it or tie it back. Always allow it to fall free.
- Don’t draw on, or otherwise mark the flag.
- Don’t use the flag for decoration. Use bunting with the blue on top, then white, then red.
1. Bring the striped half up over the blue field.
2. Then fold it in half again.
3. Bring the lower striped corner to the upper edge forming a triangle.
4. Then fold the upper point in to form another triangle. Continue until the entire length of the flag is folded.
5. When you get near the end - nothing but the blue field showing - tuck the last bit into the other folds to secure it.
WHY THE AMERICAN FLAG IS FOLDED 13 TIMES
1. The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
2. The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.
3. The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing our ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.
4. The fourth fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.
5. The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, "Our Country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong."
6. The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.
7. The seventh fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they are found within or without the boundaries of our republic.
8. The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor mother, for whom it flies on Mother's Day.
9. The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood; for it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.
10. The tenth fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since they were first born.
11. The eleventh fold, in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
12. The twelfth fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit.
13. When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding us of our nation's motto, "In God We Trust". After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and the sailors and marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones. Those who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges, and freedoms we enjoy today.
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