FLAG ETIQUETTE

 

 

The American flag is our great collective symbol of our National Patriotism. It represents the patriotic ideals and spiritual qualities of the citizens of the United States.  It exemplifies the principles of liberty, justice, and freedom.  It is the living symbol of the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.

American flags should be flying everywhere especially during the upcoming holidays: Flag Day (June 14), Fourth of July, and Memorial Day. You can fly your flag any day of the year; just remember to show it proper respect by following these few simple but very important rules.

The traditional time for flying the flag is between sunrise and sunset, but it may also be flown at night as long as it is properly illuminated.  Please do not fly a flag in inclement weather unless it is made of an all-weather material. 

The flag should always be handled respectfully, and should be carefully protected in storage and when in use so that it won’t be damaged. It should not touch the ground, water, or floor.  When handling the flag do not let it touch other objects. 

According to the United States Flag Code, Title 4, Chapter 1.  “The flag, when it is in such a condition that is no longer a fitting emblem of display, should be retired and destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.” You can contact your local Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts or American Legion they usually will provide this service.

The flag should always be raised rapidly and lowered slowly and solemnly. It is always hoisted union first. (The union is the navy field with the 50 white stars) When flown at half-staff, the flag should be raised to the peak for a moment and then lowered to its position half way down the pole.  The flag should again be raised to the peak before lowering it for the day.  On Memorial Day the flag is displayed at half-staff until noon and then raised to full-staff until sunset.    

Displaying the flag:

When hung flat against a wall, the union should be on the observers’ upper left. In a window it should be displayed the same way. 

When used in a house of worship, it is displayed from a staff and placed on the clergyperson’s right. 

When used to cover a casket the flag is placed so that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder of the deceased. 

When the American flag is flown with other flags on the same pole the U.S. flag is always at the peak. When flown from adjacent poles the U.S. flag should be raised first and lowered last.

Whenever a flag passes by, U.S. citizens pay their respects by standing at attention and placing their right hand over their heart.  We remove our hats and hold them, in our right hands, over our hearts.  Men and women in the armed forces give the military salute as the flag passes.  Citizens of other countries are not expected to salute the U.S. flag, but it is respectful for them to stand quietly while the flag passes.

In 2007, the U.S. Congress addressed proper etiquette for the pledge of allegiance and the national anthem.  When saying the pledge of allegiance, citizens should stand at attention, face the flag, and salute by placing the right hand over their heart.  During the playing of The Star Spangled Banner, everyone should rise, stand quietly, remain standing, and salute by placing their right hand over their heart.  If you are on your way to a seat during a sporting event, or in any public place and you hear the anthem bring played, you should stop where you are and stand at attention until the very end.  Please do not talk, eat or smoke during this time.  

Remember to not use the flag as a decoration.  If you would like to decorate in red, white and blue; please use bunting with the blue on top, then white and then red. Do not use a flag.  You can still show your patriotism while not disrespecting our symbol of pride.

When you see a flag waving, remember that it represents your country and all that it stands for and all that you stand for as well.

 

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"Manners are a sensitive awareness of others.  if you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use."

-Emily Post

American author on etiquette



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