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Fly that Flag

July 4, 2016


It seems our flag is always in the news. As a symbol of the United States, it is revered by patriots and desecrated by our enemies. Is linked with protests and free speech. When I was in grade school each day started with the pledge and we have kept that tradition in our homeschool.

There were “rules” for flag protocol as early as 1923, but it was not until June 22, 1942 that a joint resolution was passed and later amended (December 1942) to become Public Law 829; Chapter 806, 77th Congress, 2nd session.

I found it interesting that the law does not impose penalties for misuse of our flag, but that is left to each state’s own flag law. Criminal penalties for certain acts of desecration were contained in the code prior to 1989, but in 1989 the statute was held unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Here are a few of rules of protocol:

  1. The flag should always be hoisted briskly and lowered reverently.
  2. The code lists the holidays that the flag should be specifically flown on, including Mother’s Day and Christmas. On Memorial Day it should be flown at half-mast until noon and then raised to the full height.
  3. If displayed from a vehicle, then it should fly free from a staff firmly attached to the chassis or clamped to the right front fender.
  4. When the US flag is displayed with other flags, it should be hoisted first and lowered last.
  5. The flag may be a distinctive feature in the ceremony of unveiling a statue or monument, but should never be used as the covering.
  6. When flying at half-staff, always raise it to the highest point before lowering to half-way. When taking it down, you should again raise it to the peak before lowering.
  7. In the code there are guidelines for how long a flag should be flown at half-staff for deaths of dignitaries. And when a flag is used to cover a casket, the field of blue – The Union – should be placed at the head and over the left shoulder of the casket.
  8. A flag with the Union down is a sign of EXTREME and DIRE distress.
  9. The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free. (Have you seen this with the huge flags at sporting events?)
  10. The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or tapestry. It should never be drawn back or up. Use a bunting for decoration if this effect is desired. (The bunting has rules too – blue is always on top with white in the middle and red below the white.)
  11. It should never be used on anything temporary – like napkins or boxes. It should not be used in advertising.
  12. It should not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, although a flag patch can be used on articles of clothing in certain circumstances.
  13. It is a universal custom to fly the flag from sunrise to sunset, but it may be flown at night if properly lighted.

So fly that flag proudly and correctly.

Information and the complete code can be found at

One Comment leave one →
  1. Rosemary Potter permalink
    July 5, 2016 7:08 pm

    Thanks Candy. A good reminder in these days when “anything goes.”

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