"I 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."
There is established etiquette to caring for your American Flag,
established both by the federal government and by tradition. The section of law dealing with American Flag etiquette is generally referred to as the Flag Code.
Just as there is a proper way to display an American Flag there is a proper way to care for it and handle it the flag.
The flag should be raised and lowered by hand. Never, raise the flag while it is furled; unfurl, then hoist it quickly to the peak of the flagstaff. It should be lowered, slowly and with ceremony. The flag should never be allowed to touch anything beneath it, such as the ground or the floor.
The American Flag should never be used as part of a costume or as part of an advertising campaign. This means you shouldn’t place advertising on the flag pole or halyard.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember about American Flag etiquette is the flag should be clean and never have any drawings, markings, words or numbers on it. If the flag becomes worn, should either be mended or be properly disposed of by burning in a dignified manner. Having a flag that has faded, or is torn, is not honoring your country. In many communities, local veterans' groups will accept worn flags which they later destroy in the proper way.
The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. It is flown upside down only as a distress signal. The flag should not be used for any decoration in general. Bunting of blue, white and red stripes is available for these purposes. The blue stripe of the bunting should be on the top.
Almost most people fly their American flag most days of the year, there are specific days in which it should especially be flown.
FLAG FLYING HOLIDAYS
- New Year's Day: January 1
- Martin Luther King Day: Third Monday-January
- Inauguration Day: January 20
- Lincoln's Birthday: February 12
- President's Day: Third Monday-February
- Easter Sunday
- Mother's Day: Second Sunday-May
- Peace Officers Memorial Day: May 15
(flag is flown at half-staff)
- Armed Forces Day: Third Sunday-May
- Memorial Day: Last Monday-May
(flag is flown at half-staff until noon)
- Flag Day and Army Day: June 14
- Father's Day: Third Sunday-June
- Independence Day: July 4
- Labor Day: First Monday-September
- Patriot Day: September 11
(flag is flown at half-staff)
- Constitution Day and Air Force Day: September 17
- Gold Star Mother's Day: Last Sunday-September
- Columbus Day: Second Monday-October
- Navy Day: October 27
- National Election Day: First Tuesday-November
- Marine Corps Day: November 10
- Veteran's Day: November 11
- Thanksgiving Day: Fourth Tuesday-November
- Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day: December 7
(flag is flown at half-staff)
- Christmas Day: December 25
WHEN TO DISPLAY THE FLAG
The flag should be displayed on all days when weather permits, especially on state,local and legal holidays or other special occasions. It is customary to display the flag from sunrise to sunset on building or on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, on special occasions it may be displayed at night, if illuminated by light. In several places the flag flies day and night; among these are the Capitol in Washington, D.C. and the Fort Henry National Monument in Baltimore, which was the inspiration for "The Star Spangled Banner" by Francis Scott Key.
HOW TO FLY THE FLAG
The flag should be raised and lowered by hand. Never, raise the flag while it is furled; unfurl, then hoist quickly to the peak of the flagstaff. It should be lowered slowly and ceremoniously. The flag should never be allowed to touch anything beneath it, such as the ground or the floor.
The flying of the flag at half-staff, is a sign of mourning. When flown at half-staff, the flag should be first hoisted to the peak, then immediately lowered to half-staff position. It should be raised to the peak again for a moment before it is lowered for the day. "Half-Staff" is the point midway between the top and bottom of the flagstaff. On Memorial Day in May, the flag should fly at half-staff from sunrise until noon and at full-staff from noon until sunset.
As sea services by Navy chaplains, the church pennant may be flown above the flag.
No other flag may be flown above The United States flag except at the United Nations Headquarters. The UN flag may be placed above all flags of all member nations. In the UN enclave, national flags of all members are flown with equal prominence. When the flags of two or more nations are displayed together they should be flown from separate staffs of the same height and the flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another in a time of peace.
When flying your city, state or organization flag from the same pole as the U.S. Flag, the U.S.Flag should always be at the top of the pole. This is the position of honor.
HOW TO DISPLAY THE FLAG
When carried in procession with another flag or flags, the Stars and Stripes should be at the right-front of the column, or when there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line. The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and floating free.
When a number of flags are grouped and displayed from staffs, the flag of the Unites States should be in the center or at the highest point of the group. When displayed with another flag from crossed staffs, the flag of the United States should be on the right (the flag's own right), and its staff should be in front of the staff of the other flag.
If the flag is displayed from a staff projected from a window sill, balcony or front of a building, the union of the flag should go to the peak of the staff (unless the flag is to be displayed half-staff).
When the flag is displayed in any manner other than being flown from a staff, it should be displayed flat, whether indoors or out. If displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union 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 suspended in the same way-that is, with the union to the left of the observer in the street.
When displayed over the middle of the street, the Stars and Stripes should be suspended vertical with the union to the north on an east-west street and to the east on a north-south street.
When the flag is suspended over a sidewalk from a rope extending from house to pole at the edge of the sidewalk, the flag should be hoisted out from the building toward the pole union first.
When used on a speaker's platform the flag may be displayed flat, above and behind the speaker. If flown from a staff it should be on the speaker's right; all other flags on the platform should be on his left.
When it is displayed on the pulpit or chancel in a church, the flag should be flown from a staff placed on the clergyman's right as he faces the congregation. All other flags on the pulpit or chancel should be on his left.
However, when the flag is displayed on the floor of a church or auditorium, on a level with the audience, it is placed to the right of the audience.
When flags of states or cities, or pennants of societies, are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the United States, the latter should always be at the peak. When flown from adjacent staffs, the Stars and Stripes should be raised first and lowered last.
When used to cover a casket, the flag should be placed so 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. The casket should be carried foot-first from the hearse to the grave.
SALUTING THE FLAG
In saluting the flag those present in uniform should render the military salute. When not in uniform, men should remove the hat with the right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Women and men without hats, should place the right hand over the heart. Aliens should stand at attention.
All persons present should face the flag, stand at attention and salute on the following occasions:
When the flag is passing in a parade or review. The salute to the flag in the moving column is rendered at the moment the flag passes. During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag. When the National Anthem is played and the flag is displayed. During the Pledge of Allegiance.
When the National Anthem is played and the flag is not displayed, all present should stand and face toward the music. Those in uniform should salute at the first note of the anthem, retaining this position until the last note. All others should stand at attention, men removing their hats. When the flag is displayed, all present should face the flag and salute.
HOW TO DISPOSE OF WORN FLAGS
Every precaution should be taken to prevent the flag from becoming soiled. When a flag is in such condition, through wear or damage, that is no longer a emblem for display, it should be destroyed privately in a dignified manner. Contact any local veteran organization. Many of these groups collect flags for appropriate and respectful disposal.
THE FLAG SHOULD NEVER be tilted (dipped) even momentarily to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, organization or institutional flags may be tilted as the mark of honor.
THE FLAG SHOULD NEVER be displayed with the union down except as a signal of distress.
THE FLAG SHOULD NEVER be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and floating free.
THE FLAG SHOULD NEVER be displayed on a float, motor car or boat except from a staff.
THE FLAG SHOULD NEVER be allowed to touch the ground or floor, or brush against objects.
THE FLAG SHOULD NEVER have objects placed on, over it or be used as a covering for a ceiling.
THE FLAG SHOULD NEVER have any mark, insignia, letter, work, figure, picture or drawing of any nature placed upon or attached to it.
THE FLAG SHOULD NEVER be used as a receptacle for carrying anything, or be used to cover a statue or monument. If used in connection with unveiling ceremonies, it should not serve as a covering of the object being unveiled.
THE FLAG SHOULD NEVER be used for advertising purposes of have advertising signs fastened to its staff or halyard.
THE FLAG SHOULD NEVER be embroidered on such articles as handkerchiefs or cushions or be printed or otherwise impressed on boxes.
THE FLAG SHOULD NEVER be used as a costume or athletic uniform or part of one.
THE FLAG SHOULD NEVER be used as drapery of any sort whatsoever, never festooned, drawn back or up in fold, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white and red-always arranged with the blue above, white in the middle and red below-should be used for such purposes of decoration as covering a speaker's desk or draping the front of a platform.