Are you new to flying the American flag? Do you have questions about owning a flag? When is it appropriate to hang it? How should it be hung? When is it okay to replace a flag, and how should it be disposed of? If you have these questions, you’ve come to the right place. This is your guide to the most patriotic way to hang an American flag.
General Flag Etiquette
If you are interested in properly displaying an American flag, there are rules. Why should you care about respecting the flag? For starters, the American flag is an important symbol for our country. It represents the unification of America.
If you listen to the National Anthem lyrics, you can understand how important the flag is to our country and the people it represents. Consider these lyrics: “What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming...gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave. O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
The flag stands for a prevailing country and its people. It represents unity in something greater than ourselves. It stands for strength and freedom. That is why it is paramount to fly an American flag with respect and integrity.
What are the rules to flag etiquette, you ask? Well, first, let’s breakdown the places you might hang an American flag:
- The front porch
- On a wall or window
- On the street
- On a vehicle
- At the office
The Front Porch
When flying an American flag on your front porch, keep in mind that the union of the flag should be at the highest point on the flagpole (unless the flag is at half staff). The union is the blue field and stars of the flag.
Say your flag is on a pole pointing out towards your front lawn. Make sure the flag is pointed out (union first) from your house.
To The Window, To The Wall
If you feel inclined to display your flag on a flat surface like a wall or window, it’s important to have the union be at the top left.
On The Street
The flag should be flown vertically when shown over the middle of the street. The union should be to the north in an east and west street and to the east in a north and south street. As a general note, never allow the flag to touch the ground.
What Are The Rules?
That’s not all, folks. There are a few more bases to cover if you want to learn all of the ins and outs of flag etiquette.
Raising And Lowering The Flag
Ever wonder how the flag should be raised and lowered? There’s a method to it. It should be raised at a fast and brisk pace. When lowering the flag, it should be slow and methodical. The United States flag should be saluted while it’s being raised and lowered. The salute should be held until the flag is unsnapped from the halyard (the rope, lanyard, wire-center halyard, or stainless steel cable).
Sunrise To Sunset
You may not know this, but an American flag is only meant to be flown from sunrise to sunset. It’s typical to lower a flag once the sun has gone down. However, it is within flag etiquette to fly a flag 24/7 if it is lit properly once the sun has set.
If you desire to fly a flag at night, consider investing in a battery-powered LED light that is portable and easy to attach to the flagpole. You could also hang the flag under a porch light that is usually on at night.
Should The Flag Be Flown At Half Staff?
On certain occasions, it is appropriate to lower the American flag to half staff. The term "half-staff" means the position of the flag when it is one-half the distance between the top and bottom of the flagpole. This comes in times of national mourning. These periods are usually announced by the president of the United States, by the governor of the state/territory, for local remembrance, or in the event of the death of a member/former member of the federal state government.
Vertical Or Horizontal?
It’s important to note that when an American flag is displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be at the top and to the observer’s left.
If you are displaying more than one flag along with the American flag, make sure that the American flag is the highest one. No other flag should be placed above or at the same level as the American flag.
Let us reiterate; the flag should never EVER touch the ground when it’s being lowered or in any other circumstance. The flag should be stored in a neat manner and folded in a ceremony or in a ceremonious-like way.
Upside Down Flag
The American flag should never be flown upside down in a normal setting. The act of flying the flag upside down signals distress and a need for help. It is not to be taken lightly, and it is only to be displayed in life or death situations. It represents extreme danger. This action should not be used as a sign, protest, or a show of political discontent. It is strictly to show distress.
Replacement And Disposal
You know when it’s time to replace your American flag when it is very worn and tattered. If you feel that your flag is too worn to adequately represent what it stands for, then it’s time to replace the flag.
Signs or flag distress include; fade in color, tattered edges, stains, and holes. If your flag displays aging symptoms, it may be time to replace it with a new one.
Now, disposing of an American flag is a whole other story. You never just want to toss an American flag into a trash can or dumpster. That is a huge gesture of disrespect. The most admirable way to dispose of an American flag is to burn it. This may seem dangerous, but you have options. If you would like this to be done properly and provide a learning experience for the youth, try donating your tattered flag to a local Boy or Girl Scout troop. They often practice safe methods of disposing of American flags.
Another recommended way to retire a flag is to fold it into a ceremonial triangle (this is a common practice amongst Scouts as well). Then, dig a hole a few feet under the ground and bury it.
Once you’ve successfully and properly gotten rid of your old flag, buy a new one! Wave that flag all day and proudly represent our beautiful country.
Where To Buy a Quality American Flag?
If you are worried about where to buy the best flag, do not fret. Flags are sold in many different places, but you can never be too careful where you decide to buy one. You want your flag to display the respect you have for America, so make sure it’s high-quality and durable.
Allegiance Flag Supply should be your first and final stop for American flag shopping. They specialize in one product; the American flag. They offer honest production methods, and their flags are 100% made in America! Rest easy knowing that when you buy an Allegiance American flag, you are buying a flag to last.
To Sum It Up
It may seem straightforward when you go to hang an American flag, but you should definitely adhere to the rules. They are there to help you fly the flag in the most dignified way possible.
Remember, if you are to display the flag past sunset, make sure it is well lit. Never let the flag touch the ground and invest in a good quality product.
Allegiance Flag Supply will provide you with a durable flag to suit all of your patriotic display needs. They offer flags that are as strong as the American people. You won’t have to worry about fast wear and tear or unraveled stitching with Allegiance Flag Supply products!
We hope this helped you learn how to display your American flag with pride and respect!