Showing Respect for Our Flag...
Besides U.S. flags, Harbortown Flag carries many other styles and types of flags. . . State and Territory, Foreign Nations, Sports, Boating, Armed Forces, Corporate & Collegiate, attention-getting pennants, banners and message flags, brightly colored special occasion, holiday, and seasonal banners, bunting fans. . . There are many ways to Show Your Colors, but there are specific "rules" to follow for showing respect to our U.S. flag, both in handling the flag and in its presentation. This is also known as
It is proper to display the U.S. flag only from
sunrise to sunset when flown outdoors. If it is properly illuminated, the flag may be flown during the hours of darkness as well.
When against a wall or window (1), the union should be uppermost and to the flagís own right, the observerís left, whether horizontal or vertical. From a window, the observer is considered as being on the outside.
Except for certain specific circumstances,
no other flag, banner or pennant should be displayed in such a way as to remove the U.S. flag from the position of superior prominence. An exception to this rule is the United Nations flag flown at the U.N. Headquarters.
Although it is becoming common practice for flags to be flown oversized, there is a proper formula for the
correct flag size for outdoor display. 3x5' is the standard size for a U.S. flag displayed from the front of a house. For a ground staff, the length of the flag should be approximately 1/4 the length of the flagpole. For example, a 30' pole would fly a 5x8' flag.
When other flags such as state, city, or corporate flags are flown on the same halyard (2), the U.S. flag is displayed at the uppermost position, or peak.
When our flag is in motion (being raised or lowered, passing by in a parade, etc.), all eyes should be on the flag; military personnel salute with the right hand at the forehead, civilians with their hands over their hearts, men removing their hats. All persons should also face the flag, stand at attention, and salute when the National Anthem is played, and during reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance.
When displayed over the middle of the street, the flag should be suspended vertically, with the union to the North on an east-west street, and to the East on a north-south street. If the flag is to be suspended over a sidewalk from a rope extending from a building to a pole at the edge of the sidewalk, the flag should be hoisted out from the building toward the pole, union first.
When other flags such as foreign flags are flown from
adjacent staffs (3), the U.S. flag takes lead position, is hoisted first, and is lowered last.
As a sign of mourning, the flag can be flown at
half-staff on Memorial Day, in the event of the death of a government official, including those of states, territories or possessions of the United States, and by order of the President upon the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries as well. The flag 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 is displayed at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff.
When used to cover a casket, the flag is placed so that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground. The casket should be carried foot-first from the hearse to the grave.
When the U.S. flag is being displayed against a wall with another flag from
crossed staffs (4), it should be on itís own right (the observerís left), and its staff should be placed in front of the other flagís staff. In this case, the union will appear to the observer in the uppermost right corner, rather than to the flagís own right.
The U.S. flag always takes the lead position in parades. It should be carried before (in front of) all other flags. If it is carried in a column instead, it should be the farthest to the right (the observerís left), or the U.S. flag should be centered and carried above all others, slightly in front of all other flags. The U.S. flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but should be held aloft and floating freely.
in a grouping (5) on staffs with other flags, the U.S. flag should be at the center and at the highest point.
never let the flag touch the ground or floor. If a flag is too large for one person to handle, two people should hold and fold the flag. The flag should never be tilted (dipped) to any person or thing. It should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress. This should never be performed as a joke. You should never display the flag on a float, motor car, or boat, except from a staff. The flag should never have objects placed on or over it, or be used as a covering for a ceiling. The flag should never have any mark, insignia, letter, work, figure, picture, or drawing of any nature placed upon or attached to it. The flag should never be used as a receptacle for carrying anything, or be used to cover a statue or monument, such as for unveiling ceremonies. The flag should never be used as drapery, festooned, or drawn back or up in folds, but always allowed to fall free. For such purposes of decoration, as a covering for a speakerís desk, or draping the front of a platform, bunting fans should be used.
When displayed flat for use at a speakerís platform, the U.S. flag should be above and behind the speaker, and should be positioned as detailed in #1 above for wall placement. When displayed from a staff in a
church or auditorium (7), the flag should hold the position of superior prominence, in front of the audience, and at the speakerís right as he/she faces the audience. Any other flag should be placed on the left of the speaker, or the right of the audience.
Flags should be kept clean, and to show proper respect, should be repaired or replaced when frayed or faded. For longer life, do not display the flag in severe weather. Some materials are stronger than others, but all materials are abused by sun, winds and rain, and they will shorten a flagís life span.
When itís time to dispose of your old flag due to soiling, wear, or damage, and it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, make sure it is done properly and with respect. Many of our customers turn in their old flags to us. You can also contact a local organization such as a Boy Scout troop. Many organizations such as this perform flag burning ceremonies. Not only does this dispose of the flag properly, but it teaches our youngsters the proper respect for our flag. The flag should always be destroyed in a dignified manner.
How long should
a flag last? There are several factors to consider.
Flag life depends on the flagís material, weather conditions, location,
airborne pollutants/dirt, and how often the flag is flown. Whether your
flag is nylon, polyester, or any other material, it is a piece of cloth that
snaps, chafes, bakes, freezes, flutters, furls, unfurls, twists, flaps,
strains, flies, and hangs. With all of that work, flags flown on a
regular basis canít be expected to last for years. Flags that are
flown every day, all day, will not last as long as those flown part-time.
A flag flown from a ground pole is more exposed to the factors that weaken it,
and it will not last as long as a flag hung from a pole on the front of your
home. The more your flag is subjected to, the shorter its life span.
Because the combined factors that influence the life of a flag are not exactly
the same in any two locations, no two flags will wear identically.
Some of the information above is from the Flag Code of the United States Ė Public Law 94-344, July 7, 1976.