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Flag Etiquette

How to Fold the American Flag

Fold the flag in half width-wise twice. Fold up a triangle, starting at the striped end ... and repeat ... until only the end of the union is exposed. Then fold down the square into a triangle and tuck inside the folds.

When to Display the American Flag

The American flag should be displayed on all days, but especially on:

New Year's Day, January 1
Inauguration Day, January 20
Lincoln's Birthday, February 12
Washington's Birthday, third Monday in February
Easter Sunday (variable)
Mother's Day, second Sunday in May
Armed Forces Day, third Saturday in May
Memorial Day (half-staff until noon), last Monday in May
Flag Day, June 14
Independence Day, July 4
Labor Day, first Monday in September
Patriot Day, September 11
Constitution Day, September 17
Columbus Day, second Monday in October
Navy Day, October 27
Veterans Day, November 11
Thanksgiving Day, fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day, December 25
Such other days as may be proclaimed by the President of the United States
The birthdays of States (date of admission)
State holidays


The American flag should be displayed daily on or near the main administration building of every public institution.

The American flag should be displayed in or near every polling place on election days.

The American flag should be displayed during school days in or near every schoolhouse.

How to Display the Flag

1. When the American flag is displayed over the middle of the street, it should be suspended vertically with the union to the north in an east and west street or to the east in a north and south street.

2. The flag of the United States of America, when it is displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, should be on the right, the flag's own right [that means the viewer's left], and its staff should be in front of the staff of the other flag.

3. The American flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day. By "half-staff" is meant lowering the flag to one-half the distance between the top and bottom of the staff. Crepe streamers may be affixed to spear heads or flagstaffs in a parade only by order of the President of the United States.

4. When flags of states, cities, or localities, or pennants of societies are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the United States, the latter should always be at the peak. When the flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the flag of the United States should be hoisted first and lowered last. No such flag or pennant may be placed above the flag of the United States or to the right of the flag of the United States.

5. When the American flag is suspended over a sidewalk from a rope extending from a house to a pole at the edge of the sidewalk, the flag should be hoisted out, union first, from the building.

6. When the American flag of the United States is displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from the window sill, balcony, or front of a building, the union of the flag should be placed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half-staff.

7. When the American flag is used to cover a casket, it should be so placed that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground.

8. When the American flag is displayed in a manner other than by being flown from a staff, it should be displayed flat, whether indoors or out. When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left. When displayed in a window it should be displayed in the same way, that is with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street. When festoons, rosettes or drapings are desired, bunting of blue, white and red should be used, but never the flag.

9. That the American flag, when carried in a procession with another flag, or flags, should be either on the marching right; that is, the flag's own right, or, if there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line.

10. The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of States or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs.

11. When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace.

12. When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium, the flag of the United States of America should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman's or speaker's right as he faces the audience. Any other flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker or to the right of the audience.

Proper Disposal of a Flag
When a U.S. flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner. Most American Legion Posts, VFW Chapters and Boy Scout Troops regularly conduct dignified flag burning ceremonies, often on Flag Day, June 14th. Contact your local American Legion Hall, VFW Chapter or Boy Scout Troop to inquire about the availability of this service. NEVER THROW A FLAG IN THE GARBAGE!

Flag Sizes
What size flag should hang on what size flagpole? The usual size of a flag used at home is 3'x5'. On houses, a 15' or 20' flagpole should fly a 3'x5' flag. A 25' flagpole should use a 4'x6' flag.

The following table shows the appropriate size for public display of the flag:

Flagpole Height - Flag Size

20' - 4'x6'

25' - 5'x8'

30'-35' - 6'x10'

40'-45' - 6'x10-8'x12'

50' - 8x12'-10x15'

60'-65' - 10'x15'-10'x19'

70'-80' - 10'x19'-12'x18'

90'-100' - 20'x38'-30'x50

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