How to Display the American Flag Properly


There’s nothing that brings America together like the American flag. 94 percent of American flags are made within the United States. You can find an American-made flag in any neighborhood in the country.

One reason why there are so many flags is their versatility. It is easy to learn how to properly display the American flag. You just need to know some rules and guidelines.

When should you fly your flag? How can you display it alongside the banners of other countries? What are some points of etiquette you should keep in mind?

Answer these questions and you can show your patriotism like never before. Here is your quick guide.

When You Should Display Your Flag

You can display your flag on any day of the year. But there are various special occasions where you should display it.

Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Christmas Day are the most common ones. You can display it for a president’s birthday or for a day that commemorates the military.

The president or your governor may proclaim a day where Americans should display their flags. This may mark an occasion like the passing of a former president. Listen to your local news for these occasions.

You should display your flag during daytime hours. If you plan on displaying it at night, it must be illuminated. You can use a spotlight or a fire to keep it visible.

If you have no source of illumination, you should lower your flag down. Do so at dusk, after the sun has dropped below the horizon.

You can fly your flag when it is overcast. But you should not fly your flag while it is raining or snowing. You can only do so when you have an all-weather flag made from a material like nylon.

Displaying the American Flag Properly at Half-Staff

Flags fly at half-staff to show that the United States is in mourning. This is the case when a president or notable public figure passes away.

Governors can ask residents to fly at half-staff after a local tragedy. You should also fly your flag at half-staff from sunrise until twelve o’clock on Memorial Day.

Half-staff is one-half of the distance between the top and bottom of your flagpole. It does not matter how tall the pole is.

Before you lower your flag for the day, you should raise it to the top of the pole. You can then lower it all the way to the ground.

How to Display Your Flag on a Pole

There is no specific pole you need to display your flag on. You can buy a pre-made pole, or you can build your own. Look for products like the Titan Telescoping Flagpole Kit.

Raise your flag to the top of the pole. Your pole can have a finial on it if you would like.

The flag should not touch anything underneath it while it is flying. It is okay if it drapes in the wind and touches the pole. But it should not touch tree branches or other objects.

How to Hang Your Flag

You can display the American flag from the ceiling or along the wall of any building, including exterior walls. But you need to follow a couple of protocols.

The portion with the stars should face the observer’s left. It is okay to hang a flag in such a manner that observers can see it from both sides. In that case, you should hang it with the stars pointing north or east.

You can use a rope of any material to hang your flag. You should avoid puncturing or cutting it.

It is okay if your flag touches a wall. But it should not touch objects like picture frames or the floor. Find a space clear of other items to hang it.

Displaying the American Flag With Other Flags

When you are displaying international flags, the American one should go on the observer’s right. Each country’s flag should be on its own pole. All of them should fly at the same height.

If you are flying state flags, you can fly them on the same pole. But the national flag should go up top. It should be the same size or bigger than the other ones.

You can fly a military or civil flag alongside the American flag. Follow the same rules for international flags.

Essential Pieces of Etiquette

You should dispose of your flag when its colors fade or when it becomes tattered. You can drop it off at a Department of Defense office or burn it in a ceremonial manner.

You can store it in a cabinet or drawer. But you need to fold it according to the government’s prescribed practices. They can be a little hard to follow, so practice folding a few times until you get it right.

You can wear clothing that has a flag on it or its colors. You cannot wear a flag as a piece of clothing. Military personnel and members of patriotic groups can wear a patch with the flag on it.

How to Properly Display the American Flag

You should know how to properly display the American flag. Display it during any day of the year, as long as people can see it. Prioritize holidays like Christmas.

Fly it at half-staff to mark a moment of mourning. You should otherwise fly it at the top of a pole. Hang it so it doesn’t touch objects underneath it.

Display it to the right of other nation’s flags. Fly it above state flags. Dispose and fold it according to guidelines.

Find other ways to show your love of America. Follow our coverage for more lifestyle guides.

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