8 rules for PROPERLY displaying the American flag


With the Fourth of July just around the corner, we will soon see our country’s streets lined with the American flag, our nation’s symbol. It is important to show our patriotism correctly by displaying our flag appropriately. Here are eight important rules for properly displaying the American flag.

1. It is traditional to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset; however, the flag may be displayed at night, if properly illuminated.

2. The flag should not be subject to harsh weather conditions. Unless you have an all-weather flag, it’s improper to display your flag during rain, snow and wind storms. 

3. When displayed with another flag against the wall with crossed staffs, the U.S. flag should be on its own right (left to a person facing the wall), and the staff should be in front of the other flag’s staff. 

4. If you are not displaying your flag on a staff, it should be displayed flat or suspended so that its folds fall free. If the flag is displayed horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union (stars) should be located on the flag’s upper right-hand corner (left to a person facing the wall). 

5. When displaying a flag in a window, it should be fixed with the union to the left of the observer in the street. 

6. If the American flag is displayed with a group of other flags, the American flag should be at the center, and at the highest point. 

7. When the flag is displayed over the middle of the street, it should be suspended vertically. The union should be to the north in an east-west street or to the east in a north-south street.

8. When the American flag is displayed on a car, the staff should be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.

Of course, the flag is not to touch the ground. Displaying a faded, torn or tattered flag is also inappropriate. 

Have a safe and festive Fourth of July, and don’t forget to fold your flag properly when you are done displaying it. 

For more information on flag etiquette, visit the American Legion’s Flag Code page.

About the author

Megan Wells is data journalist and digital content editor based in San Francisco, California. Wells currently focuses on personal finance, mortgage, and lifestyle content. Wells’ work has appeared in publications like Fox, Nasdaq, MSN, and Motley Fool. Wells also spoke at the 2015 Exceptional Women in Publishing conference.

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