Flying the Stars and Stripes

Flying the Stars and Stripes

By Chuck Graham

The purpose of this article is to provide information concerning the protocol related to flying the United States Flag.

The U. S. Congress has specified the rules pertaining to display and care of the United States Flag in U. S. Codes Title 4 and 36. These rules, commonly referred as "The Flag Code", are basically:

  • Always fly the U.S. Flag with respect and in the place of honor. The U. S. Flag is never dipped in honor of anyone or anything. No other flag is displayed above the U. S. Flag – in accordance with international protocol.
  • When displayed with other flags, the U. S. Flag is either on the right in a line of flags, in the center if in front of a line of flags, or in a position above other flags.
  • When displayed in a hall or auditorium, the U. S. Flag is to the right of the podium.
  • The Flag is displayed only during daylight unless properly lighted, and is not displayed in inclement weather unless designed for weather.
  • Never allow the Flag to touch the ground.

At the entrance to Sun City Texas, the U. S. Flag is displayed on the right of the other flags facing the entrance, since the flags are in one line.  At the Veterans Memorial, the Flag is in the center since it is higher than the service flags. The U. S. Flag displayed on a staff attached to the house at a resident's home should be to the right of any other flag as you face the street.

The U. S. Flag is flown at half-staff by order of the President upon the death of principal figures of the U. S. government, or by the Governor of a state in the event of the death of a present or former official of the State government. Quite often the President's directive specifies the U. S. Flag be flown at half-staff at federal buildings and on federal installations leaving some discretion as relates to other locations.

The U. S. Flag is also flown at half staff on May 15 – Peace Officers Memorial Day; the last Monday in May – Memorial Day; September 11 – Patriot Day, the first Sunday in October - National Firefighters Memorial Day; and December 7 – Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. Members of the Veterans Memorial Advisory Group lower and raise the flags at the Entry Building while the Pulte staff does the same for the flags in front of the sales center. When the U. S. Flag is at half-staff, all other flags at that location are also flown at half-staff.

Additional information concerning the U. S. Flag can be found on the Internet at various locations including the American Legion, VFW and Veteran Administration web sites.