Americans who go to the trouble to fly the flag are generally proud of their flag and all that it stands for. There are proper ways to display the American flag. These methods of display are codified in Public Law 94-344, also known as the Federal Flag Code. This code not only contains rules for displaying the American flag---it also contains rules for handling the American flag.
Proper Occasions for Display
The American flag can be displayed often. It is especially appropriate to display the flag during federal and state holidays, and during other special occasions. The flag should only be displayed from sunrise to sunset. The flag can be displayed at all times if it is lit by lights bright enough to do it justice. The American flag should be taken down during bad weather, unless the flag is constructed of all-weather materials. The flag should be displayed in public places and institutions, schools, and polling locations on Election Day. Hoist the flag quickly and lower it nobly.
Proper Display Methods
There are many methods for displaying the Stars and Stripes, but displaying them correctly will ensure that proper respect is given. The flag can be suspended vertically over the middle of a street. The stars representing the Union should be oriented either towards the east or the north depending on the orientation of the street. The flag can also be displayed attached to a staff and mounted onto a wall with another flag. The American flag must be oriented to its right and its staff must be mounted on top of the staff of the other flag. When the flag is flown at half-staff, the flag must be raised to the top of the flag pole before it is lowered to half-staff. Before it is lowered for the day, the flag must be raised to the top of the flag pole before it is lowered. When multiple flags are flown on the same halyard along with the American flag, the American flag must be flown at the peak of the pole with the other flags flown below it. When a flag is displayed from a staff horizontally or diagonally from the exterior of a structure, the Union should be at the peak of the staff, unless the flag is displayed at half-staff. When the flag is used to cover a casket, the Union should cover the head end and the left shoulder side. Do not lower the flag into the grave or allow the flag to come into contact with the ground. When the American flag is flown with state or locality flags or pennants, the American flag should stand above the other flags in the group. When flown with flags of other nations, the American flag should be flown at an equal height with the other flags, and the size should be approximately equal. International usage regulations disallow displaying one flag above another during times of peace. When the American flag is displayed in a church or at a public auditorium, the American flag should be displayed most prominently and to the left of the audience (to the right of the speaker).
- Ryan McVay/Stockbyte/Getty Images