Code, Etiquette, and Rules Of The American Flag

Code, Etiquette, and Rules Of The American Flag

There are recent questions on the code, etiquette, and rules of the American flag. I mean, how do you hoist the flag? When should you wear it? Any special rules to identify with the flag? Well, keep reading.

This blog will look at the various questions concerning the Americans flag. After reading the last line, I assure your body of knowledge on this inestimable Jewel would have significantly increased. 

Before we discuss these etiquettes and rules, however, let’s do a quick run of how the flag came to be.

The US flag came to be on 22nd June 1942 when Congress reached a joint resolution on the need to have an emblem of identity. This resolution was amended six months later, being 22nd December 1942. 


How Do I Honor The American Flag?

Often, most believe that the most relevant of all discussions is how citizens should behave around the flag. In other words, what should we do when we see the Stars and Stripes? 

The US flag is our emblematic identity as a sovereign nation that America has assumed for over two centuries, roughly 200 years. Giving the Stars and Stripes, utmost respect is, therefore, a compulsion.

The Constitution requires members of the armed forces and veterans to be at attention and give a salute when the flag is lowered, hoisted, or paraded. Civilians, meanwhile, are to cross the heart with their right hand.


When Should I Display The American Flag?

The flag is a symbol of honor, patriotism, and respect. As such, it must only be hoisted when necessary—and that too, with some strict guidelines. Displaying the flag must be by the following rules:

—The flag is customarily hoisted during the day in the open—that is, from sunrise to sunset. As a keen Patriot, however, you may display the flag during the night, as long as it is illuminated.

—The flag should be hoisted only on days when the weather is excellent and clear. Do not display during inclement weather.

—The flag should be hoisted in or close to polling centers during elections, at all public institutions and schoolhouses when schools are opened.

—You have the choice to hoist the flag daily, but it is more important on 22 special occasions in a calendar year. 


The 22 dates to display the flag are:

  1.     New Year’s Day— 1st January
  2.     Inauguration Day— 20th January
  3.     Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr, 3rd Monday in January
  4.     Lincoln’s Birthday— 12th February
  5.     Washington’s Birthday—3rd Monday in February
  6.     Easter Sunday—not fixed
  7.     Mother’s Day—2nd Sunday in May
  8.     Armed Forces Day—3rd Saturday in May
  9.     Memorial Day (half-staff until noon)—the last Monday in May
  10.     Flag Day— 14th June
  11.     Father’s Day—3rd Sunday in June
  12.     Independence Day— 4th July
  13.     Labor Day—1st Monday in September
  14.     Constitution Day— 17th September
  15.     Columbus Day—2nd Monday in October
  16.     Navy Day— 27th October
  17.     Veterans Day— 11th November
  18.     Thanksgiving Day— 4th Thursday in November
  19.     Christmas Day— 25th December
  20.     Days declared by the President of the USA
  21.     The dates of admission of states
  22.     State Holidays


General Rules For Displaying The Flag

To preserve the honor and nobility of the flag, there are a couple of rules to obey when hoisting it. They are:

  • The flag’s Union—blue side—should be to the watcher’s left when displayed vertically or horizontally on a wall. The same rule should be kept when the flag is vertically hung on a door, or window.
  • The US flag should be to its right—or that of any applicable flag—in a procession. However, it should assume the position before the center when in a line of other flags. 
  • The Union should be the pinnacle of a building when the flag is hoisted on a staff.
  • The flag should have a flat display when it isn’t hoisted on a staff. Alternatively, it should be positioned such that its folds will fall freely as if it was on staff.
  • When displayed in the street, the flag should suspend in a vertical fashion such that the Union faces the east in a south and north street or faces the north in west and east street. 
  • When displayed on a podium, the flag should be behind and above the speaker and stand to the watcher’s left.
  • The flag should assume the seat or spot of honor when displayed in an auditorium or church. The speaker should watch the flag at his right.
  • Lastly, the flag should be hoisted over the left shoulder and at the head when used on a casket.


Etiquettes To Hoist and Lower The Flag


Apart from the laid down procedures for displaying the flag, there are some etiquettes to adopt to keep its honor intact.

So, how should you raise or lower the flag?

—Hoist or lower the flag briskly and ceremoniously.

—When you display at half-staff, hoist the flag to the peak for a second before returning to the half-staff position. Proceed to repeat the process once more and then lower for the day. Half-staff is half of the distance between the hoisting staff’s top and bottom.


Occasions that warrant flying at half-staff include:

  1. For 30 immediate days after the death of the President or a former president.
  2. For ten immediate days after the death of the Vice President, current or former Chief Justice of the nation, or Speaker of the House of Reps.
  3. Flown from the day of death until interment of an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, a member of the cabinet, former Vice President, the Senate’s President pro tempore and Majority or Minority Leader of the House of Reps.


Closing Lines

The flag represents our honor, pride, and, most importantly, identity as an independent nation. Keeping the codes, etiquette, and rules of the American flag is, therefore, a patriotic duty. The flag is precious, and you should hence ensure it is accorded optimum respect everywhere and every time. God bless America! 


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Jul 9, 2020 - -

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