What Are Rules for Proper Flag Etiquette?


Quick Answer

The United States Flag Code states that the American flag should never fly upside down, except when used as a distress signal, and that it should not touch anything beneath it. The union should be at the top of the staff or flagpole, unless the flag is at half-staff.

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Full Answer

When the American flag shares a flagpole with other flags, it should fly at the top. When displayed with other flags on separate flagpoles, the American flag should be in the center. When displayed with one other flag, it should be on its own right. When displayed over a street, it should fly vertically in the middle of the street with the union to the north or east. It should always be the first flag raised and the last lowered.

A flag flown at half-staff is a sign of mourning. Presidents and governors can order the flag flown at half-staff in government buildings. It should also fly at half-staff from sunrise until noon on Memorial Day. The flag should not be used for advertising or decoration.

When the flag is taken down, it should only touch the person receiving it and should be ceremoniously folded before storage. When a flag is too worn to be revived by cleaning and mending, it should be ceremoniously burned.

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