What Is Proper American Flag Etiquette?

Mike Mozart/CC-BY 2.0

Proper American flag etiquette for U.S. citizens includes standing at attention and saluting when the flag passes in a parade or is raised or lowered. The U.S. Flag Code, passed by Congress in 1942, provides guidelines regarding American flag etiquette. It can be access via the USFlag.org website.

Flags that hang on a wall, door or window should display the Union (the blue section) on the observer’s left. Every public institution and schoolhouse should display the flag. People should not display other flags above the United States flag. The United Nations flag cannot be in a superior position to the United States flag, except at the United Nations headquarters.

On a platform, the flag should be above and behind the speaker, with the union to the observer’s left. For a church or auditorium, the flag should be on speaker’s right as he faces the audience. To cover a casket, the union should be at the head, over the left shoulder.

The flag should never dip to any person or thing. It should only have the union down as a sign of dire distress. It should never touch anything below it, such as the floor, water or ground. If the flag is in poor condition, it should be destroyed in a dignified way.