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When & How to Fly the U.S Flag

Nov 13, 2020

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Do you know where and when it's appropriate to fly the American flag? Of course, it is your right to fly the flag any day. 

However, there are certain holidays such as President's Day and Flag Day when it is recommended to fly Old Glory. 

The United States Flag Code addresses all of the ins and outs of displaying, caring and disposing the American flag. At the United States Flag Store, you will find more than just an amazing selection of flags, flagpoles and accessories. You will also discover a wealth of information about flags, including when and how to fly the flag.

January 1st New Year's Day

3rd Monday in January Martin Luther King Day

January 20th Inauguration Day

February 12 Lincoln's Birthday

February 22 Washington's Birthday

Varied Easter Sunday

3rd Monday in April Patriot's Day

2nd Sunday in May Mother's Day

May 15th Peace Officers Memorial Day

3rd Saturday in May Armed Forces Day

3rd Sunday in June Father's Day

July 27th Korean War Veteran's Day

1st Monday in September Labor Day

September 11th Patriot Day

September 17th Constitution Day

Last Sunday in September Gold Star Mother's Day

October 27th Navy Day

November 11th Veteran's Day

4th Thursday in November Thanksgiving

December 7th Pearl Harbor Day

December 25th Christmas Day

Varied State Birthdays & Holidays

Varied Other days proclaimed by the President of the USA

Hours

For a stationary flag displayed on a building, pole or staff, it is customary to fly it from sunrise to sunset. You are only permitted to display your flag at night if it is properly illuminated. This means that you must have a light dedicated to "spotlighting" your flag. A street light or well lit area will not provide enough light. With the right lighting, you can fly your flag 24 hours a day for as many days as you like.


Location

According to the Flag Code, the American Flag should be flown:

  • On or near every polling place on election days Voting is one of the most important rights we have as American people. It, like the flag, represents our freedom, and stands as a basis for our governmental structure. It is a requirement that the flag is flown on election days at polling places.

  • On or near the main administration building of all public institutions

  • On or near every schoolhouse (during school days)

  • The flag is to be flown at public schools and colleges to instill a sense of patriotism in the students. These institutions are owned by the government and important to the nation. Although it is strongly suggested to fly the flag in these areas, it is not required.


Conditions

If you haven't invested in an all-weather flag, make sure you bring your flag indoors in weather conditions like rain, snow, sleet or hail. Even all-weather flags can be damaged by severe storms, causing them to become torn and tattered. A damaged flag is disrespectful to our nation, and will require repair or replacement.

The Flag Code describes the flag as a living thing, and it should be treated as such. With the proper care, your flag can last for a long time with little or no repair.



Position

The flag should always be displayed upright with the union to the top left. Flying the flag with the union down is considered a "breach of etiquette" (Sharpman). However, it can be used as a call for help, similar to SOS, if you are in extreme danger and need assistance.

Throughout the years war protesters have flown the flag upside down to show that the entire country is in distress. It is still a debate whether this should be considered a desecration of the flag or an expression of free speech. It will usually attract negative attention from law enforcement and civilians alike.

References

U.S. Code, Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 6 & Section 7.

The Care and Display of the American Flag by the Editors of SharpMan.com 2004.


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