American Flag Etiquette

The American flag is a symbol of freedom, history, and pride. When you show your pride by flying a USA flag outside of your home, you show everyone your pride in being a part of this great nation. When you make the decision to fly the flag, you should be aware of the customs and etiquette surrounding Old Glory and understand that as a flag bearer, it is your responsibility to show the flag USA the respect it deserves. If you do a search for a flag company in the United States, they should offer information on American flag sizes and which flag sizes are appropriate for your display area of choice.

Raising and Lowering the Flag

When the America flag is hoisted first thing in the morning, it should be done quickly and raised to the top of the flagpole unless it is being flown at half-mast. You must also salute the patriot flag as it is being raised. When the flag is lowered before sundown, it should be done slowly and ceremoniously as a sign of reverence and respect. The flag should never touch the ground when it comes down and is removed from the flagpole. Once removed, the flag should be folded neatly and properly into a triangle and stored safely.

Flying Old Glory or the Betsy Ross Flag With Other Flags

When you decide to fly your American flag with your state flag, the American flag should always be higher on the flagstaff. If you are flying three flags, then the American flag should be in the middle of the flagstaff and at the highest point of all of them.
betsy ross flag

Displaying the American Flag From a Window

If you live in an apartment building, you may have no choice but to fly your flag from a window. When you do this, you must adhere to the protocols around the American flag. Place the stars in the upper left corner as seen from the road. This means that the union will be on the upper right-hand side of the flag when you look at it from the inside.

Flying the American Flag at Half-Staff

You will usually get your cue from the White House on when the American flag should be flown at half-staff. When flown at half-staff, the flag must be hoisted to the top of the flagpole and then lowered to the half-staff position. There are also certain days that have such importance that they carry their own protocols for the flag. On days such as Memorial Day, the flag is at half-staff until 12:00 PM and then hoisted to the top of the flagpole until sundown.
american flag

Don't Fly the American Flag in the Dark

The flag should be removed at sundown and folded neatly for storage while there is still light in the sky. If you plan on flying your flag at night, it needs to be fully lit so it can be seen in all its glory. If you have a big American flag, you need to illuminate it from all sides.

Displaying Over a Walkway

When you suspend your flag over a sidewalk or other walkway from a rope that extends from your house, the flag should be hoisted stars first.

Displaying the Flag From Your Porch

The union should be placed at the peak when you display your flag from a pole on your porch. Unless it is flying at half-staff. It is also forbidden to fly the flag upside down which is considered a distress signal.

When to Fly the American Flag

The flag should be flown from flagpoles, flagstaff or from other structures from sunrise to sunset. If you fly your flag beyond these hours, then it should be fully illuminated and not flown in the dark.

Do Not Fly the American Flag in Inclement Weather

Unless your flag is specially designed to be flown during bad weather, it is customary to lower the flag during snowstorms, rain, and other weather that could damage the flag.
patriot flag

Always Be Respectful

The American flag is a symbol of this great nation and should be treated with the same reverence and respect. Never use your flag as a costume, or for anything other than display purposes. A displayed flag should always be in good shape and replaced as soon as it becomes too tattered for display.
When you are ready to retire an old flag, don't throw it in the garbage but drop it off at a flag drop-off box so it can be destroyed properly.