An Introductory Guide to American Flag Etiquette


The American flag is an important symbol of our American history and culture. It represents all the hard work and struggles that we have endured creating a society where we can live in freedom.

That’s why it is so important to show your patriotism with respect for this symbol by following American flag etiquette. In this article, you’ll learn about American flag etiquette and how to show your American pride.

Display the American Flag from Sunrise to Sunset

American flag etiquette requires that the American flag is flown from sunrise to sunset. However, it can be raised or lowered at night if illuminated by an appropriate light source.

The American Flag Should Never Touch the Ground

American flag etiquette also requires that the American flag should never touch the ground. This means you should take down your American flag at night if it is going to be exposed to inclement weather, such as heavy rain or snow.

If a Flag Is Ever Soiled or Tattered, You Should Replace It Immediately

Even though American flag etiquette states that an American flag should only be flown from sunrise to sunset and treated with respect, sometimes flags become soiled or tattered due to mishandling by people who do not know about proper American flag care.

In this case, you can still show your patriotism for America by replacing your old American flag with a new one immediately.

Place the American Flag Over Over Flags of All Other Nations

When you’re displaying American flag etiquette, American flags should always be placed above and at the far right of all other national flags.

If Not Flying Alone, Place American Flag Next to Other American Flags on Right Side

The American flag is usually displayed in a group with other American flags flying from staffs of the same height. When this occurs, it must be given its appropriate place by being flown closest to or at the peak of any building or Titan telescoping flagpole.

Hang the Flag To the Observer’s Left During a Parade or Ceremony

When American flag etiquette is followed, the American flag should be to your left when observing a parade or ceremony.

Turn Your American Flag Upside Down When an Emergency Situation Is Present

If you see a sign that says “Emergency Shelter” with an American flag in front of it, this means there has been some kind of emergency situation and people are asked to go inside for protection.

If you follow American flag etiquette when displaying the American flag upside down during this time, it will show support for America while also encouraging communication with authorities about why they need assistance.

Display Half-Staff Position Appropriately During Mourning Periods

During American flag etiquette, the American flag is normally flown at half-staff when a member of Congress dies.

However, if someone else has passed away who was an important figure to Americans or had some kind of significant role in American history or culture, your American flag can also be flown at half staff as well.

Fly the American Flag Half-Staff on Memorial Holidays

When American flag etiquette is followed, American flags are lowered to half-staff on Memorial Day to honor those who died in order for our freedoms.

The same occurs at the end of every year during December so that American flags can be displayed at half-staff when commemorating Pearl Harbor Day and other important dates where American soldiers have lost their lives serving this country.

Everyone in Uniform Needs to Salute the Flag

When American flag etiquette is followed, everyone in uniform needs to salute the American flag during a color guard ceremony.

Put Your Right Hand Over Your Heart When Saying the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem

During American flag etiquette when saying the Pledge of Allegiance or playing/singing the Star-Spangled Banner, citizens should place their hand over their heart as a sign of respect for America’s national symbols.

It also shows that you are pledging your loyalty and devotion to this country with pride.

Fold the Flag Correctly After Use

When American flag etiquette is followed, it must be folded correctly when the American flag is no longer being displayed.

The American flag should always be folded with a triangle on the left and stars showing.

If you need help learning how to fold an American flag properly or if your American flag has been damaged by weather, there are many videos online that can show you exactly how to follow these rules of display for flying Old Glory at home as well as in public settings throughout the country.

Burn Throw-Away Flags Completely

When American flag etiquette is followed, people should burn American flags completely when they are no longer being displayed.

This means that if you don’t want to keep your American flag but also do not want it to end up in other countries’ hands or get worn out from use over time, always be sure to burn any throwaway American flags so they cannot be used by others for a disrespectful purpose.

Don’t Let the Flag Touch the Ground

When American flag etiquette is followed, American flags should never be allowed to touch the ground when they are laying down.

This rule applies whenever American flags are put anywhere in public or private settings so that people do not disrespect them by letting them hit the floor and get dirty.

Don’t Let Your American Flag Touch Other Flags When Flying Together With Other Flags

When American flag etiquette is followed, you need to make sure that your American flag does not come into contact with any other nation’s national symbols if it can be avoided.

This means keeping Old Glory away from state standards like Wisconsin’s banner as well as foreign country banners at sporting events for example.

Also, keep all US military standard-bearer poles separated clearly from any other nation’s military banners when American flags are displayed in a group setting.

Want to Learn More About American Flag Etiquette?

As you can see, there are so many things to know about American flag etiquette. If you’re interested in learning more about this subject, continue reading our blog for more helpful articles.