FLAG ETIQUETTE

 

HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN FLAG

The flag of the United States is a symbol of freedom before which Americans recite the pledge of allegiance. 
The flag's 13 red and white stripes represent the 13 original colonies. Its 50 white stars on a blue background represent the 50 states.
Each of the colors on the flag has a meaning:
  • Red: valor and bravery
  • White: purity and innocence
  • Blue: vigilance, perseverance, and justice
A star is added to the flag when a new state joins the United States. The flag was last modified on July 4, 1960, when Hawaii was incorporated as a state.

DISPLAY OF THE AMERICAN FLAG

Traditional guidelines call for displaying the flag in public only from sunrise to sunset. However, the flag may be displayed at all times if it’s illuminated during darkness. The flag should not be subject to weather damage, so it should not be displayed during rain, snow and wind storms unless it is an all-weather flag. It should be displayed often, but especially on national and state holidays and special occasions. The flag should be displayed on or near the main building of public institutions, schools during school days, and polling places on election days. It should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
  • In a group of flags displayed from staffs, the U.S. flag should be at the center and the highest point.
  • When the U.S. flag is displayed other than from a staff, it should be displayed flat, or suspended so that its folds fall free. When displayed over a street, place the union so it faces north or east, depending upon the direction of the street. 
  • When the U.S. flag is displayed from as projecting from a building, the union of the flag should be placed at the peak of the unless the flag is at half-staff. When suspended from a rope extending from the building on a pole, the flag should be hoisted out, union first from the building.
  • When flags of states, cities or organizations are flown on the same staff, the U.S. flag must be at the top (except during church services conducted at sea by Navy chaplains)
  • When carried in procession with other flags the U.S. flag should be either on the marching right (the flag’s right) or to the front and center of the flag line. When displayed on a float in a parade, the flag should be hung from a staff or suspended so it falls free. It should not be draped over a vehicle.
  • When displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, the U.S. flag should be on its own right (left to a person facing the wall) and its staff should be in front of the other flag’s staff.
  • When the flag is used to cover a casket, the union (blue field of stars) is at the head and over the left shoulder (of the deceased). The flag should not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground.

SPECIAL RULES

  1. Do not let the flag touch the ground. 
  2. Do not fly flag upside down unless there is an emergency. 
  3. Do not carry the flag flat, or carry things in it. 
  4. Do not use the flag as clothing. 
  5. Do not store the flag where it can get dirty. 
  6. Do not use it as a cover. 
  7. Do not fasten it or tie it back. Always allow it to fall free. 
  8. Do not draw on, or otherwise mark the flag. 

FOLDING THE AMERICAN FLAG

Step 1
To properly fold the Flag, begin by holding it
waist-high with another person so that its
surface is parallel to the ground.

Step 2
Fold the lower half of the stripe section
lengthwise over the field of stars, holding the
bottom and top edges securely.

Step 3
Fold the flag again lengthwise with the blue
field on the outside.

Step 4
Make a triangular fold by bringing the striped
corner of the folded edge to meet the open
(top) edge of the flag.

Step 5
Turn the outer (end) point inward, parallel to
the open edge, to form a second triangle.

Step 6
The triangular folding is continued until the
entire length of the flag is folded in this
manner.

Step 7
When the flag is completely folded, only a
triangular blue field of stars should be visible.