Flag Day 2019: How to Properly Display the American Flag

Friday marks Flag Day, which commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States and the birthday of the U.S. Army

We've grown up learning patriotic songs and seeing the red-white-and-blue waving in the wind almost everywhere you go, but you may see more flags flying on Friday.

That's because June 14 is Flag Day, which commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States and the birthday of the U.S. Army. This year marks the 244th birthday of the U.S.

The flag's 13 alternating red and white stripes represent the 13 original colonies and it's 50 white stars on a blue field represent the 50 states. The color red on the flag represents valor and bravery, the blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice, and the white signifies purity and innocence.  

Listed below are guidelines from on how to display Old Glory:

How to Display the American Flag

The flag should be displayed on or near the main building of public institutions, schools during school days, and polling places on election days. It should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.

When displaying the flag from a staff that is projecting from your home or porch, place the union (blue section) at the peak of the staff.

Flag display infographic

If the flag is against a wall or hanging over a window, is should be displayed flat with the union at the top left corner.

When placing it on your vehicle, clamp the staff to the right front fender.

When displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, place the U.S. flag to your left. Its staff should also be in front of the other flag’s staff. In a group of flags displayed from staffs, the U.S. flag should be at the center and the highest point.

How to Fly the American Flag

The flag shouldn’t be flown in inclement weather unless it’s an all-weather flag.

Flags displayed at night should be properly illuminated.

In a time of national mourning, hang the flag at half-mast.

When to Fly the U.S. Flag

Traditional guidelines call for displaying the flag in public from sunrise to sunset. However, the flag may be displayed at all times if it's illuminated during darkness.

The flag can be flown every day but it is often flown to show patriotism on these observances: New Year’s Day, Inauguration Day, Lincoln’s Birthday, Washington’s Birthday, Armed Forces Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Patriot Day, Constitution Day, Columbus Day, Navy Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. On Memorial Day, the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon.

The flag is also traditional flown at half-staff to honor a newly deceased federal or state government official by order of the president or the governor, respectively. 

How to Store the American Flag

Keep your flag completely dry and folded properly — into a triangle, with the union (blue section) visible — before storing it in a well-ventilated area. According to U.S. Flag Code, if the flag is damaged or worn out, it should be disposed of with dignity, preferably by burning.

The flag should not touch anything below it or rest on the ground.

Is Flag Day a National Holiday?

Flag Day is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.

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