Rules for Flying the U.S. Flag

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.”

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