Flag Etiquette

The fundamental rule of flag etiquette is: treat all flags with respect and common sense. The Stars and Stripes takes precedence over all other flags when flown within the United States. It should not be flown lower than another flag nor should it be smaller than another flag flown with it. Other flags may, however, be flown at the same height and in the same size. Other national flags should not be smaller or flown lower than the Stars and Stripes when displayed together. If it is not possible to display two or more national flags at the same height, it is not proper to display them together at all.

The point of honor is on the extreme left from the standpoint of the observer ("the flag's right"). The order from left to right of flags flown together is: the Stars and Stripes, other national flags in alphabetical order, state flags, county and city flags, organizational flags, personal flag.

If one flag is at half-staff in mourning, other flags flown with it should be at half-staff. The Stars and Stripes is raised first and lowered last.

A salute (hand over heart for those not in uniform) should be rendered when the flag is raised, lowered, or carried by on parade; when the Pledge of Allegiance is recited, and when the national anthem is played (unless the flag is not present).

It is proper to fly the Stars and Stripes at night, but only if it is spotlighted.

No flag should be flown during weather which might damage it, based on a common sense interpretation of circumstances.

To extend the life of a flag, when it is torn it should be repaired and under no circumstances should a flag be folded while wet.

When a flag is no longer of dignified appearance and cannot be repaired, it should be destroyed in a dignified way (burned or sealed in a bag or box before being sent out for trash collection).

In a gathering (lecture hall, church, etc.), the Stars and Stripes should be to the right of the speakers or on the wall behind them.

The canton of the flag (the blue "field" with the 50 stars) should always be to the observers' left except:1) when displayed on a casket; 2) when displayed as a decal on the right side of a vehicle (bus, truck, plane, etc.); 3) when worn as a patch on the right arm (but use on the left arm is preferable).

The Stars and Stripes should be in the center of a group of flags only when: 1) the center pole is taller than the others or 2) when a fan-like arrangement makes the center pole higher than the others.

It is not illegal or improper to fly any flag (state, ethnic group, organization, etc.) alone, but it is always preferable to display the Stars and Stripes at the same time.

Flag Flying Holidays

January 1 New Year's Day
January 20 Inauguration Day
3rd Monday of January Martin Luther King's Birthday
February 12 Abraham Lincoln's Birthday
3rd Monday of February George Washington's Birthday
April 6 Army Day
Easter Sunday
2nd Sunday in May Mother's Day
3rd Sunday in May Armed Forces Day
Last Monday in May Memorial Day - Observed
May 30 Memorial Day - Traditional
June 14 Flag Day
July 4 Independence Day
1st Monday in September Labor Day
September 11 Patriot's Day
September 17 Constitution Day
2nd Monday in October Columbus Day
November 11 Veteran's Day
4th Thursday in November Thanksgiving Day
December 25 Christmas Day

Other Recommended Flag Flying Days
May 8 V-E Day
3rd Sunday in June Father's Day
August 10 V-J Day
August 19 National Aviation Day
October 27 Navy Day
1st Tuesday in November Election Day
November 10 Marine Corps. Birthday

Determining Flag Size

The length of the flag should be at least 1/4 the height of the pole. For example, a 40' pole requires a 6'x10' flag or larger. This guideline applies to poles 20' and larger. Most residential flags are 3'x5' or 4'x6'. Most small industrial and commercial buildings use either a 5'x8' or a 6'x10' flag. Major industrial, municipal and government buildings require 8'x12' and larger. However, the size of the pole is the determining factor.

Flagpole Height Flag Size
20' 4'x6'
25' 5'x8'
20'-35' 3'x5', 4'x6', 6'x10'
40'x45' 6'x10' - 8'x12'
50' 8'x12' - 10'x15'
60'-65' 10'x15' - 10'x19'
70'-80' 10'x19' - 12'x18'
90'-100' 20'x38' - 30'x50'