What is proper American Flag Etiquette?

October 15, 2023

American Flag Etiquette

Proper American flag etiquette and handling are important to show respect and honor for the flag, which is a symbol of the United States. Here are some flag guidelines to follow:

1. Displaying the flag:
- The flag should be displayed from sunrise to sunset. If you want to display it after dark, it should be properly illuminated.
- In inclement weather, the flag should not be displayed except when an all-weather flag is used.
- The flag should be displayed on all days, especially on national holidays.

2. Raising and lowering the flag:
- When raising or lowering the flag, it should be done slowly and with dignity.
- The flag should never touch the ground, floor, or water while being raised or lowered.
- When the flag is at half-staff, it should first be raised to the peak for an instant and then lowered to half-staff position. Before lowering it for the day, it should again be raised to the peak.

3. Handling the flag:
- The flag should be treated with respect and not used for any decorative purpose.
- It should never be used as clothing, bedding, or drapery.
- The flag should not be used for advertising purposes or as part of a costume, except for patriotic events.

4. Folding the flag:
- The flag should be folded in a specific manner known as the "flag folding ceremony" or the "flag folding ritual."
- There are 13 folds in the folding ceremony, and each fold has a symbolic meaning.

5. Disposing of the flag:
- When a flag becomes worn, torn, or faded, it should be retired and disposed of in a dignified manner.
- The preferred method of disposal is by burning in a respectful ceremony. Many American Legion posts, VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) posts, and other organizations hold flag disposal ceremonies.

6. Other considerations:
- The flag should be flown in a position of prominence, and no other flag should be placed above it.
- When displaying multiple flags, the American flag should be placed in the center and at the highest point.
- When the national anthem is played, individuals should stand at attention, face the flag, and place their right hand over their heart.

Remember, these guidelines are meant to show respect for the flag and the values it represents. By following proper flag etiquette, you demonstrate your appreciation for the United States and its symbols.

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