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Flag Etiquette

General Information & Display  |  Special Flag Flying Holidays  |  Old Flag Disposal


It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.

1.   When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the exterior observer's left.

Flag EtiquetteNo other flag or pennant should be placed above, or, if on the same level, to the right of the flag of the United States of America, except during church services conducted by naval chaplains at sea... for personnel of the Navy... when the church pennant may be flown above the flag.

No person shall display the flag of the United Nations or any other national or international flag equal, above, or in a position of superior prominence or honor to, or in place of, the flag of the United States at any place within the United States or any Territory or possession thereof; Provided, that nothing in this section shall make unlawful the continuance of the practice heretofore followed of displaying the flag of the United Nations in a position of superior prominence or honor, and other national flags in positions of equal prominence or honor, with that of the flag of the United States at the headquarters of the United Nations.

2.   When flags of States, cities, or localities, or pennants of societies are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the United States, the latter should always be at the peak.

3.   When the flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the flag of the United States should be hoisted first and lowered last. No such flag or pennant may be placed above the flag of the United States or to the United States flag's right.

4.   The flag of the United States of America, when it is displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, should be on the right, the flag's own right, and its staff should be in front of the staff of the other flag.

5.   The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of states or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs of different heights. The flag of the United States of America should be at the observer's left if staffs are of the same heights.

6.   When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace.


7.   When used on a speaker's platform, the flag, if displayed flat, should be displayed above and behind the speaker. When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium, the flag of the United States of America should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman's or speaker's right as he faces the audience. Any other flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker or the right of the audience.

Note: In situations when placing your flags(s) at half-staff is not appropriate such as permanently mounted flags, indoor flag sets, or flags displayed from short flagpoles an older form of expressing morning is recommended. It is recommended to attach black ribbons above the top of the flag below the finial (ornament top). The ribbon itself should be twice as long as the flag yet not more than 10% of the width of the flag. The ribbon may then be tied with a bow or knot at or slightly below the center so that the two resulting lengths that hang are approximately the same length as the flag.


The flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day. On Memorial Day, the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff. By order of the President, the flag shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of principal figures of the United States Government and the Governor of the State, territory or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory. In the event of the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries, the flag is to be displayed at half-staff according to Presidential instructions or orders, or in accordance with recognized customs or practices not inconsistent with law.

In the event of the death of a present or former official of the government of any State, territory or possession of the United States, the Governor of that State, territory or possession may proclaim that the National flag shall be flown at half-staff.

Excerpts From The Flag Code of The United States - Public Law 94-344, July 7, 1976

The flag should be displayed on all days of the year, especially...
   - January 1
   - January 20
   - February 12
   - February 22
   - Third Monday in February
   - (variable)
   - April 6
   - May 8
   - Second Sunday in May
   - Third Sunday in May
MEMORIAL DAY (half-staff until noon)
   - Last Monday in May
   - June 14
   - Third Sunday in June
   - July 4
   - July 27
   - First Monday in September
   - September 2
PATRIOT DAY (half-staff)
   - September 11
   - September 17
   - Second Monday in October
   - October 27
   - First Tuesday after first Monday in November
   - November 11
   - Fourth Thursday in November
PEARL HARBOR DAY (half-staff)
   - December 7
   - December 25

All Patriotic Occasions
Your State's Birthday (date of admission to the Union)

State and local holidays and other days as may be proclaimed by the President of the United States


When the U.S. Flag is in such a condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display and service, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning. As a free service to all our customers*** we are please to offer a free old flag disposal service. Open to all U.S. Flags, any State Flags and any U.S. Military Flags.

Flags are collected at the address below and several times throughout the year are placed in a retirement flag burning ceremony held by civic and veterans organizations near our corporate headquarters here in Philadelphia.

Click Here to Order New U.S. Flags

We invite our customers*** to mail any of your old flags to:

Champion Flags, Inc.
Attn: Old Flag Disposal
P.O. Box 9600
Wilmington, DE 19809

*** This free service is open to existing or new Champion Flags customers only. To order your new flags call 1-800-496-1776.

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