Lifelong American or brand-new citizen, the American flag is close to your heart.
But did you know that there are strict rules about how to fly the flag?
These rules aren’t meant to dampen your enthusiasm for your national symbol. Instead, they protect the flag from any accidental disrespect so that it can keep flying proudly.
Ready to learn how to fly the flag? Keep reading. This article will tell you everything you need to know to be respectful when you fly the American flag.
Where to Display the Flag
The most common way to display the flag outside your home is on a flagpole. If you’re using a flagpole, make sure you raise and lower the flag with ceremonious respect.
You might be flying the national flag along with others, like your state or city’s flag. In that case, make sure the American flag is in the middle of the display. If you’re only flying one other flag, the American flag should always be on the viewer’s right.
You may fly more than one flag on a single pole. In this case, the American flag should always be flown highest.
On days when a national tragedy occurs, the American president may declare that flags should be flown at half-staff. Lower your American flag so that the middle of the flag is at the middle of the pole, making sure that it doesn’t touch the ground.
You may opt to display your flag from a horizontal or angled bracket affixed to your house. Make sure that the union (the rectangle containing the stars) is on the top edge.
If you are flying your flag horizontally, the union should always be on the viewer’s left side. (On half-staff days, you may fly your horizontal flag with the union down.)
Ensure that your flag bracket is firmly affixed to your house. A poorly-affixed bracket will let your flag fall to the ground, which ought to never happen.
When To Fly The American Flag
You should fly your flag every day from dawn to dusk, especially on important days such as New Years Day, Inauguration Day, and federal holidays.
However, you should never let your flag fly in the dark. If you have a flagpole, flag etiquette recommends that you raise your flag at dawn and lower it before nightfall. If you can’t lower your flag, you can fly it at night if it is illuminated — by a lawn floodlight, for instance.
You should also bring your flag inside during bad weather, as a gesture of respect that prevents the flag material from damage. (This restriction doesn’t apply if you purchase an all-weather flag since they are specially designed to withstand rough conditions.)
Care For Your Flag
It’s disrespectful to fly a tattered flag or to use a damaged flagpole. However, flag maintenance isn’t always easy.
Making sure your flag is easy to care for is a matter of choosing how to display it. With the right flagpole, you can easily care for your flag so that it’s easy to replace it when it wears out.
The right flagpole construction also makes it easy to fix any broken parts of the flag-raising system. That way, you aren’t flying Old Glory on a pole or pulley that’s damaged, which could lead to the flag falling or getting ripped.
Check out https://flagpolefarm.com/how-to-choose-the-perfect-flagpole-for-any-home/ to learn more about choosing a flagpole that makes it easy to care for your flag so that she can keep flying proudly.
Dispose of Old Flags Respectfully
When your flag gets worn through, it’s no longer fit to be flown.
The only respectful way to dispose of a worn-out flag is by burning it. Make sure that you burn your flag in a ceremonious manner so that others do not misinterpret your actions. For instance, make sure that you fold your flag properly before burning, instead of burning it unfurled.
However, your flag’s fabric may include synthetic materials, which are illegal to burn in some cities.
If your flag isn’t eligible for burning, or if you worry that others may mistake your intentions if they see you disposing of your flag, contact the American Legion. They offer flag disposal ceremonies to help Americans put their flags to rest as respectfully as possible.
What To Avoid
We’re all enthusiastic about our national symbol. That being said, there are many things you should never do with the flag, including:
- Using the flag as a bedspread or drapery
- Using the flag to carry something
- Flying a visibly damaged or tattered flag
- Wearing a flag that is meant to be flown
- Letting the flag touch the ground at any time
- Hanging the flag upside-down
All of these misdemeanors signal extreme disrespect to the flag. Stay respectful towards our country’s national symbol by avoiding them at all times.
Check Your State Laws
Last but not least, keep an eye on your state’s legislation.
The rules on how to display an American flag don’t vary by state. They’re defined by the U.S. Flag Code and are the same across the country.
But it’s up to individual states to decide what penalties they will give to those who don’t fly the flag respectfully.
If you’re flying the American flag, you are taking on a serious responsibility — and not living up to that responsibility can lead to serious consequences. Make sure you look into your state’s laws about what consequences to expect if you don’t take care of your flag.
Show Your Pride and Be Respectful
Flying the American flag shows your pride in your country, but taking the extra steps to be respectful shows that you are willing to go the extra mile. With these tips, you’ll never be caught making a disrespectful etiquette mistake.
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