The American flag is one of the most powerful symbols in the world today. Its red and white stripes mixed with stars on a blue canton represent democracy and freedom that Americans obtained via their own revolution.

People all across the world view this flag as a notable mark that expresses individual rights, among many other positive things. Many Americans also possess this Stars and Stripes banner to show their patriotic feelings towards “The Land of the Free.”

A common methodology to hang these American flags usually is by raising them on flagpoles or displaying them horizontally across a wall or window. Some people might even try an alternative method to the flag itself and hang American bunting instead.

This is a great way to show pride as well. For those of you looking for other ways to display your classic American flag, vertically hanging is another prominent method.

Flag Code Is the Name of the Game

When it comes to displaying the American flag in any way, shape, or form, the United States Flag Code must be referenced. This 1942 law defines many cardinal rules that people must follow in the United States when choosing to honor the American flag. 

One of the main guidelines is to make sure that the union (the blue star portion) of the flag must always be on top.

This rule applies to hanging the flag in any method: The stars must be at the top of the flag whenever it is hung. If you display the American flag with the union at the bottom, this is seen as extremely disrespectful and frowned upon.

When the flag is hanging vertical, the union will be in a different position. Luckily, the Flag Code makes provisions for this flag display method. 

Basic Rules of Vertical Hanging Flags

When hanging your American flag vertically, here are some of the main points to consider:

  • When hanging your flag indoors, ensure that the flag is in a prominent position. It should be placed to the right of the speaker or service leader.
  • The flag’s union should be placed to the viewer’s left when affixed to a door, wall, or window.
  • When hanging over a street: the union of the flag should face north in an east/west street. On a north/south street, the union should face east. 

Other Alignment Requirements

When displaying the flag on another sort of wall, whether it be horizontal or vertical, the positioning always matters. The only time that the United States flag can not be displayed with the union in its proper place should be due to a time of distress.

This is mainly referring to instances where people might be faced with incredible danger to their lives or their property. Only in these extreme situations is it permissible to hang the U.S. flag upside down.

United States flags should never touch anything beneath them. This means that they should not come in contact with any floors, water, or other items in their vicinity. Whenever carrying the flag, it’s also important not to hold it flat or horizontally. 

How Do You Hang a Flag Inside?

The flag must be carefully positioned when being displayed inside: Keep in mind the phrase, “the flag’s own right.” For example, if the American flag is raised next to a state flag, it must appear to the left of the other to the view of an observer. This also applies to public addresses as well.

If somebody is speaking at a forum or public event with an American flag on display, its positioning must be to the right of the speaker. Basically, “its own right” just means the flag must always appear on the left unless someone is sharing the stage with the Stars and Stripes.

If multiple American flags are being displayed next to one another, the order doesn’t particularly matter. Usually, in this case, both a horizontal and vertical flag will appear next to one another.

The only thing to keep in mind here is to make sure the union is at its highest point and left-positioned. As a side note, both of the American flags in this instance would have to be the same height from the ground.

Methods To Hanging the American Flag

American flags have grommets fixated on the edges of their frame. These are tiny holes internally bordered with a golden frame. Grommets are meant to allow people to easily hoist their flags onto the display while avoiding putting holes into the fabrics of flags. They also allow the flag to be raised onto a flag pole.

Make sure to utilize your American flag’s grommet when hanging it vertically. You may press thumbtacks through the grommets to hang the flag. If you have a larger flag, you may have to drive nails through the grommet openings. Do not put nails or tacks into the flag itself. 

How Do You Hang a Flag Outside?

There are a plethora of ways that people can choose to raise their flags and put them on display. One of these methods is off of buildings, usually in an urban setting.

Make sure you use a flagpole in this instance and angle the pole at precisely 90 degrees relative to the building. The flag must be perfectly parallel to the ground. The union is supposed to be as far away from the building as possible. The pole must be high enough so that the fabric doesn’t reach the heads of people who might be walking underneath. 

If you want to hang the flag over a street instead of against a building, utilize two of the grommets at the end of the fabric and tie the rope to two objects. Preferably, pick two objects that are of equal heights; the flag should appear parallel to the ground once again. It’s also crucial to make sure it’s raised high enough over the ground so that it doesn’t obstruct civilians or touch the ground.

Never fly your Old Glory in rough weather, as this can harm the flag. While this advice is practical, it is also an integral part of the Flag Code.

Additional Flagpole Etiquette

There are certain things to know about raising and lowering the fabrics. Whenever the flag is raised or hoisted, it must be saluted until it becomes unsnapped or the music playing ends. It should be raised faster than it is lowered as well.

Flags are supposed to be hoisted at a rather brisk pace, whereas the lowering ceremony is encouraged to be more drawn out. The flag is only supposed to be raised by the flagpole at certain times of the day, barring rare circumstances.

Traditionally, it should only be visible between sunrise and sunset. If you’re raising an American flag after hours, it’s crucial that it remains illuminated while on display.


Hanging Flags Going Forward

Displaying the Stars and Stripes is an American tradition unlike any other. This shows immense patriotism and respect for the country that proves individual freedoms and liberties to people unique to everywhere else in the world.

Remember to incorporate the Flag Code whenever making the initial decisions about the location you want to raise your flag. This set of laws highlights the preferred methods for properly displaying one’s American flag in a respectful manner. The most important rule to remember from the flag code is the positioning of the unit relative to where it’s being raised.

The union must always be at the highest and most far-left point-of-view to any observer. Along with this, make sure the flag never touches the ground or any building that it’s being raised from when on display. It’s important to keep the flag in a free position while it is being raised and lowered.

At Allegiance Flag Supply, we know the importance of the American flag and the message it sends. That’s why we design and manufacture all of our products in the United States: made in America by Americans. 




4 U.S. Code 8 - Respect for flag | Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute

How to Display the American Flag | National Flag Foundation

Do's and Don'ts for Displaying Old Glory | US Department of Defense 

American flag terminology you should know | National Flag Foundation

Guidelines for Display of the Flag |

Katie Lyon