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How to Properly Fly the U.S. Flag

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Tips from the U.S. Flag Code.

On Memorial Day, there are lots of American flags on display. If you’re flying one, be sure to do it the right way.

The flag should fly at half-staff from sunrise until noon on Memorial Day, says the U.S. Flag Code. Then it should be “raised briskly” to the top of the staff until sunset, according to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

On June 14, 1923, the U.S. adopted a National Flag Code. The purpose was to provide guidance on displaying and honoring the flag, including the specifics of how it should be flown on Memorial Day.

“Memorial Day is only one of six occurrences in which the flag should be flown at half-staff,” according to The Hill. “The others are Peace Officers Memorial Day on May 15, Korean War Veterans Armistice Day on July 27, Patriot Day on September 11, Pearl Harbor Day on December 7, and any day when the president issues an order lowering the flag as a mark of respect for the death of a principal figure or others.”

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More From the U.S. Flag Code

  • The flag should only be displayed from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open.
  • If illuminated at night, the flag can be displayed for 24 hours.
  • When the flag is raised, it should be done briskly. When lowered, it should be done ceremoniously.
  • Flags displayed on a wall should hang so the union – the stars – are in the top left corner.
  • In a window, the union should also be in the upper left corner when viewed from outside.
  • No flag or pennant should be placed above the flag. But during church services conducted by naval chaplains at sea for Navy personnel, the church pennant may be flown above the flag.

SOURCES: U.S. Chamber of Commerce, The Hill

USFlag.org: A website dedicated to the Flag of the United States of America – United States Code (chamberofcommerce.org)

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