Rules for Flying the U.S. Flag

June 27, 2011

Purchasing an American flag, no matter how large or small requires understanding of proper flag regulations. Although not difficult to follow, many Americans are unaware of the federal laws that ensure all American flags are treated with dignity and respect. Below are the most important rules that govern the use of the American flag, according to the United States Flag Code.

  1. The American flag is customarily displayed only from sunrise to sunset. A flag may be displayed during darkness if the flag is properly illuminated
  2. The flag is always raised quickly and lowered slowly.
  3. Only all-weather or weather-resistant flags should be flown during sever weather to avoid damaging—and thus making unusable—less durable flags.
  4. The main administration buildings of every public institution should fly an American flag on the premises.
  5. Polling locations should display the American flag on or near the premises on election days.
  6. Schools should display the American flag on or near the premises when school is in session.
  7. In a procession with other flags, the flag should appear in the front of the line, on the flag’s own right (observer’s left).
  8. The American flag should never be draped over anything, such as a car, train, boat, statue, or monument, and should never be used on a parade float.
  9. When used indoors, the union of the flag should appear at the flag’s own right (observer’s left). If the flag is on display during a speaker’s presentation, the flag should be displayed either on a pole at the speaker’s right or above and behind the speaker. If other flags are on display, they should appear to the speaker’s left, and only the flag of the United States should appear on the speaker’s right.
  10. When a flag is displayed above the middle of a street, the union should be to the north on an east-west street or to the east on a north-south street.

It’s also important to note that the Flag Code cannot cover all possible flag-waving situations. When practices are in question, the following overarching rule should be followed: “No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America.”


Valley Forge Flags

June 27, 2011

The United States Flag Store is the largest and most complete vendor of Valley Forge flags, flagpoles, and accessories. With the widest variety and largest quantities of Valley Forge flags and flag accessories in their inventory, the United States Flag Store is your number one online store for these high-quality American-made flags.

Valley Forge flags are special for several reasons. In addition to serving as one of the oldest and most widely regarded makers of American flags, Valley Forge flags are completely American-made. The company is also a major supplier of American flags to the United States government, and Valley Forge flags have been raised and flown in major American events since World War II, including at the Battle of Iwo Jima, at the liberation of the Nazi Concentration Camps, in Normandy on D-Day, and on the first moon landing.

The Valley Forge Flag Company has remained a family-owned business since its beginnings in 1882. The company began its industry by manufacturing burlap sacks and began manufacturing American flags and other surplus during World War I. In 1932, due to increasing demand for American flags, the Valley Forge Company opened a small factory in Spring City, Pennsylvania. To this day, the Valley Forge Flag Company operates under the mission to manufacture United States flags that are 100% American-made. The Valley Forge Flag Company is committed to educating the American people and flag sellers about the importance of American-made flags and helped found the Flag Manufacturers Association of America.

Valley Forge flags are available in three materials from the United States flag store: cotton, nylon, and Koralex. The Valley Forge Best Cotton American Flags are made of heavyweight 2×2 ply mercerized cotton. The cotton flags feature vibrant colors and reinforced fly ends, and are designed for outdoor use. Valley Forge Nylon American Flags are a lower cost alternative to the traditional cotton flag but are a cut above traditional nylon flags. Valley Forge nylon flags feature sewn stripes, embroidered stars, and reinforced fly ends for an elegant look. Valley Forge Koralex American Flags are another great alternative to traditional cotton flags because they have the appearance of cotton but are more fray and weather resistant.


Etiquette for Flying the U.S. Flag

June 22, 2011

When you purchase and fly the Flag of the United States of America, you are committing to adhering to certain standards of respect for the flag, or rules of etiquette. The Flag of the United States should be treated with utmost respect at all times, and if a flag becomes unsuitable for use, it should be disposed in a proper manner. Here are some of the most important rules regarding flag etiquette.

The Flag of the United States should always be flown with the union–the blue and white “stars” field–at the flag’s own right (the observer’s left). Flying the flag upside down is a standardized signal of distress. Flying the flag backwards is disrespectful.

The flag should never be used for purposes other than flying. Therefore, the flag should not be used in any advertisements; as a costume or article of clothing; or as a covering for a table, desk, or podium. The only exception to this rule is that a flag patch may be worn on uniforms of certain government personnel, including those in the military, fire fighting, and police forces.

The flag should never touch the ground or be dipped to any person or other object. There are specific instructions for folding the U.S. flag. Instructions for folding, which requires two people, can be found here.

The United States flag should be kept as clean as possible. If the flag becomes damaged, or if it has been used in an inappropriate manner, it should be destroyed in a dignified flag burning ceremony.

When the Flag of the United States is displayed with other flags, such as flags of other states or organizations, the United States flag should be the first flag raised and the last flag lowered. The U.S. flag should be at the top of the pole if it is flying with other flags.  If the flags are on separate poles, no flags should fly higher than the United States flag, and the U.S. flag should be on its own right (the observer’s left). The United States flag should not be smaller than any of the other flags. When the U.S. flag flies with flags of other countries, each flag should be on a separate pole, all the flags should be raised and lowered at the same time, and all flags should fly at the same height.


Half-Mast, Special Flag Days, and Continuous Display of the U.S. Flag

June 22, 2011

The Flag of the United States can be found flying on the sites of government buildings and also outside residential homes. In general, the U.S. flag is raised quickly at sunrise and lowered ceremoniously at sunset. There are of course, exceptions to this rule: residences and public places, for example, can display the flag during darkness if the flag is properly illuminated. There are also certain days throughout the year that are special flag flying days or when the flag should be flown at half mast.

To achieve a patriotic effect, there are some government buildings that display the flag continuously. These are:

  • The Washington Monument (Washington, D.C.)
  • The White House (Washington, D.C.)
  • United States Marine Corp Memorial (Arlington, VA)
  • Flag House Square (Baltimore, MD)
  • Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine (Baltimore, MD)
  • On the Green (Lexington, MA)
  • The National Memorial Arch at Valley Forge State Park (Valley Forge, PA)
  • At United States Customs Ports of Entry

There are also special flag flying days, or days of celebration when United States citizens are encouraged to display their flags at full mast. These days include:

  • President’s Day (the third Monday in February)
  • United States Flag Day (June 14), celebrating the adoption of U.S. flag in 1777
  • Veteran’s Day (November 11), a celebratory day to honor our veterans

There are other days when the flag should be flown at half mast. In general, flags should be flown at half mast from sunrise to sunset. The exception to this rule is Memorial Day, when the flag is flown at half mast until noon, and then raised to full mast until sunset. Half mast days include:

  • Peace Officers Memorial Day (May 15)
  • Memorial Day (the last Monday in May)
  • Patriot Day (September 11)
  • Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day (December 7)

The President of the United States or a United States governor has the power to declare the United States flag to be flown at half mast. To honor the death of a state or national figure, the flag is flown at half mast for the following durations:

  • Thirty days following the death of the President or former president
  • Ten days following the death of the Vice President, Chief Justice, retired Chief Justice or Speaker of the House.
  • The time between the death and burial of a former Vice President, Associate Supreme Court Justice, military secretary, and a state governor.
  • The day of and day after the death of a congressperson.

If a community deems appropriate, the U.S. flag can also be flown at half mast to honor the death of important local government, religious, social, or youth leaders, teachers and coaches, or other community figures.

To get the most current updates about when the flag should be flown at half mast, visit www.halfstaff.org.


Flag of Kansas

June 9, 2011

The flag of the state of Kansas was adopted by the Kansas State Legislature on May 21, 1927. The flag features a blue background with the Great Seal of the State of Kansas in the center. The Kansas state crest is appears above the seal and the state’s name is printed in block letters below the seal.

The Great Seal of the State of Kansas was adopted on May 25, 1861 and tells the story of Kansas’s development. A farmer, two horses and a plow, and a cabin are depicted in the seal’s foreground, reflecting the importance of agriculture in Kansas’s economy, society, and history. The journey many Americans made to Kansas from the American east during the nineteenth century is depicted behind the agricultural scene with a train of oxen and wagons moving westward. Kansas’s Native American population is represented in the background of the seal with two Native Americans hunting buffalo on horseback. A river and a steamboat are also pictured in the seal’s background, representing Kansas’s participation in interstate commerce. The state’s motto, Ad astra per aspera, or “through hardships to the stars,” is written at the top of the seal in Latin. The Kansas state seal also includes thirty four stars, representing Kansas’s admission to the Union as the thirty-fourth state on January 29, 1861. Around the entire scene are the words, “Great Seal of the State of Kansas, January 29, 1861.”

Kansas’s state crest is featured at the top of the flag and consists of a sunflower resting on top of a gold and blue bag. The flower is Kansas’s state flower and also symbolizes fearlessness and openness. The blue and gold bar represents the Louisiana Purchase, of which the area that is now Kansas was a part.

The Kansas State Flag was flown for the first time in 1927 at Fort Riley to honor the troops stationed at Fort Riley and the Kansas National Guard.


Flag of Alabama

June 9, 2011

The flag of the state of Alabama was adopted by Alabama’s state legislature on February 16, 1895. The flag is rectangular and features a crimson cross in front of a white background. The cross on Alabama’s flag is the St. Andrew’s cross, which runs diagonally from corner to corner on the state’s banner.

There are three proposed theories attempting to explain the origin of Alabama’s flag. The most commonly accepted explanation for the flag’s design is that it resembles the flag of the Confederate States of America, which was adopted in 1865. The flag of the Confederate States of America features a blue St. Andrew’s cross with white stars in front of a red background.

A second proposed theory regarding the design of Alabama’s flag is that it is similar to a banner flown by the seventh Alabama Cavalry during the American Civil War. The cavalry was part of Rucker’s Brigade and was led by Edmund Rucker, who resided in Montgomery after the Civil War. Rucker’s Brigade flew a white banner that featured a red St. Andrew’s cross decorated with blue-green stars. The flag was made from the “best dresses” of several Confederate women, including the wedding dress of Lorenzo Leedy, a Mississippi widow.

Finally, it’s important to note that the flag of Alabama resembles two other important state and country flags. The Alabama flag closely resembles the United Kingdom’s Union Flag and the flag of the state of Florida, of which Alabama was originally a part.

Before the adoption of Alabama’s current flag in 1895, Alabama flew a much different two-sided banner. In 1861, the Alabama Secession Convention set out to design the state’s first official flag, and several Montgomery women created the double-sided design. The flag is rectangular with a blue background. One side of the flag features the “Goddess of Liberty” holding a sword in one hand and a blue flag in her other hand. The text at the top of this side of the flag reads “Independent Now and Forever.” The other side of the flag features a rattlesnake and a cotton plant. Underneath the image are the Latin words Noli Me Tangere, or “Touch Me Not.”