Flag Code

The U.S. Flag Code says the universal custom is to display the flag of the United States of America from sunrise to sunset on buildings and stationary flagstaffs in the open, but when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness. The flag should not be displayed when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed.

Displaying the Flag

On Same Staff
U.S. flag at peak, above any other flag.

U.S. flag goes to its own right. Flags of other nations are flown at same height.

U.S. flag to marchers right (observer’s left).

On Speaker’s Platform
When displayed with a speaker’s platform, it must be above and behind the speaker. If mounted on a staff, it is on the speaker’s right.

Never use the flag for decoration. Use bunting with the blue on top, then white, then red.

All persons present in uniform should render the military salute. Members of the armed forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute. All other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.

Over a Street
Union (stars) face north or east depending on the direction of the street.

Half Staff
On special days, the flag may be flown at half-staff. On Memorial Day, it is flown at half-staff until noon and then raised.

General Rules
Do not let the flag touch the ground.
Do not fly the flag upside down unless there is an emergency.
Do not carry the flag flat or carry things in it.
Do not use the flag as clothing.
Do not store the flag where it can get dirty.
Do not use it as a cover.
Do not fasten it or tie it back. Always allow it to fall free.
Do not draw on or otherwise mark the flag.
When saluting the flag, the right hand is over the heart; the left hand is empty.

Flag Disposal

  1. The flag should be folded in its customary manner.
  2. Place the flag in a fairly large fire which is of sufficient intensity to ensure complete burning of it.
  3. The individual(s) can come to attention, salute the flag, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, and have a brief period of silent reflection.
  4. After the flag is completely consumed, the fire should then be safely extinguished and the ashes buried.
  5. Please make sure you are conforming to local/state fire codes or ordinances.
  6. Better yet, take the flag to your local American Legion or VFW, where it will be disposed of in a proper ceremony.

To learn more, please visit the NSDAR Flag Code page

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