American Flag Etiquette

Flag Etiquette

The American Flag … a symbol of our nation’s strength and unity. Consisting of 13 red and white horizontal stripes, which represent the 13 original colonies, and 50 white stars to represent the 50 states of the Union. The color Red symbolizes Hardiness and Valor, while White stands for Purity and Innocence and Blue represents Vigilance, Perseverance and Justice. Our flag is a symbol of our patriotism; it is deserving of our respect. Do you know proper flag etiquette?

1. The flag may be flown every day of the year, typically between sunrise and sunset, weather permitting. If displayed at night, it should be illuminated.


2. It should be unfolded and raised in a brisk manner. Lower it slowly and solemnly, without allowing it to touch any other object. The flag should be folded neatly for storage.


3. The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing, nor should it ever touch anything beneath it (the ground, floor, or water).


4. If the flag gets wet, it should be hung to dry, never rolled, folded or put away while damp. It is acceptable to repair and re-sew the flag to keep it in good repair.


5. When a flag becomes so worn that it is in need of replacement, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner. Many local VFW and American Legion Posts hold flag disposal ceremonies.


6. Citizens of all ages should stand and salute the flag whenever it passes in a procession and when it is raised or lowered. Non-citizens need not salute but should stand quietly at attention as a matter of courtesy and respect.


7. To salute the flag, those in uniform and the armed forces should give the military salute. All others should face the flag with the right hand over the heart. Veterans and service personnel out of uniform may give the military salute or place their hand over their heart. Men and boys should remove their hats and hold them in their right hands (over their hearts); this also applies to women and girls wearing sport caps.


8. When the pledge of allegiance and/or the national anthem is played or sung, it is appropriate to stand at attention and salute at the first word/note all the way through the last. Attention is directed to the flag, if displayed.


9. If you are moving about in any public place (a ball field, sporting event, etc.) and hear the first sound of the national anthem, stop where you are and stand at attention. There should be no talking, eating, chewing gum, smoking or fidgeting during this time.


10. A U.S. flag lapel pin should be worn on the left lapel.


Hardiness and Valor … Purity and Innocence … Vigilance, Perseverance and Justice. Strong, powerful words to think about.


Words that deserve respect.


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