Did you know that if you fly the American flag 24 hours a day it should be illuminated during darkness? Wondering about proper etiquette when they play the National Anthem? Well, if the flag is displayed turn towards it and put your right hand over your heart (men, remove your hats). If the flag is not displayed, turn towards the music and act as though the flag is displayed (that’s right, hand over heart).
While many people would like to be patriotic and display the flag, there seems to be a lack of proper etiquette when handling the flag. For that reason we have provided excerpts from The American Legion on proper FLAG CODE.
When your flag is tattered and is not fit for display you can bring it to an American Legion Post for proper disposal.
During a rendition of the national anthem which is the Star Spangled Banner
• (1) when the flag is displayed—
(A) individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note;
(B) members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute in the manner provided for individuals in uniform; and
(C) all other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart; and
• (2) when the flag is not displayed, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed.
CONDUCT DURING HOISTING, LOWERING OR PASSING OF FLAG
During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in a parade or in review, those present in uniform should render the military salute. Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute.
All other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Citizens of other countries should stand at attention. All such conduct toward the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes.
TIME AND OCCASIONS FOR DISPLAY
(a) It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flag staffs 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.
(b) The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
(c) The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed.
(d) The flag should be displayed on all days, especially on
New Year’s Day – January 1
Inauguration Day – January 20
Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday – third Monday in January
Lincoln’s Birthday – February 12
Washington’s Birthday – third Monday in February
Easter Sunday – (variable)
Mother’s Day – second Sunday in May
Armed Forces Day – third Saturday in May
Memorial Day (half-staff until noon) – last Monday in May
Flag Day – June 14
Independence Day – July 4
National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, July 27
Labor Day – first Monday – September 1 – 7
Columbus Day – second Monday in October
Navy Day – October 27
Veterans Day – November 11
Thanksgiving Day – fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day – December 25
Other days as may be proclaimed by the President of the United States
Birthdays of States (date of admission)
(e) The flag should be displayed daily on or near the main administration building of every public institution.
(f) The flag should be displayed in or near every polling place on election days.
(g) The flag should be displayed during school days in or near every schoolhouse.
Respect for flag
No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.
(a) The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
(b) The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
(c) The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free.
Bunting of blue, white, and red always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker’s desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.
(e) The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
(f) The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.
(g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
(h) The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
(i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkin or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.
(j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.
(k) The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning. (Disposal of Unserviceable Flags Ceremony)