How to Properly Display the Flag

Flag Display Options

The United States Flag symbolizes America and the national values of freedom, liberty, and justice cherished by the American people. The flag represents American history and is a special symbol of the heroic sacrifices of the men and women who died serving the nation. Caring for and displaying the flag properly demonstrates care and respect for the nation, for the soldiers who serve it, and for our fellow citizens.

Displaying the U.S. Flag at Half-Staff

First hoist the flag to the peak of the flagpole, and then lower it to half-staff. Before lowering the flag, again hoist it to the peak before lowering it fully. The flag is flown at half-staff at the death of important figures of the U.S. government and the governor of a state, territory, or U.S. possession. The flag is also flown at half-staff on Memorial Day until noon, before being raised to the peak of the flagpole. The President of the United States, governors of states, territories, and possessions, and the mayor of the District of Columbia may issue proclamations calling for the display of the U.S. flag at half-staff.

Display of Several Flags on one Pole

The United States Flag should be displayed on a separate pole from flags of other countries. When displayed on a pole with other flags, such as state flags, the United States Flag is displayed on top. State flags, territory flags, and military flags, in that order, may be flown from the same flagpole under the U.S. Flag. State flags should be displayed beginning with the host state flag and then by order of their admission to the Union. Military flags are displayed in the following order, according to Department of Defense Directive 1005.8: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Other flags, such as the Merchant Marine and veterans flags, may follow the Coast Guard flag.

Display of Multiple Flags from Separate Poles

The U.S. Flag should be displayed at the highest point and center of any grouping of state, society, or military flags. The U.S. Flag should be hoisted before and lowered after all other flags. No flag should be displayed to the U.S. Flag’s right.

Display of the United States Flag with Flags of Other Nations

The United States Flag and the national flags of other sovereign countries should be displayed from separate flagpoles. The U.S. Flag code states that no other flag should be flown above, in a position equal to, in a position of greater prominence to, or to the right of the U.S. Flag. The flags of two or more countries should be flown from separate poles of equal height. The flags should be of roughly equal size. One national flag should not be displayed above another during a time of peace.

Display in a Parade or March

The United States Flag should be carried on the flag’s own right when marching in procession or in the center of a line of flags. To be displayed on a parade float, the flag must be displayed on a staff or properly displayed against a wall. The flag may be attached firmly to the chassis of an automobile or fixed to the right fender, but may not be draped over the hood, sides, top, or back of a car, train, or boat.

Display on a Wall or in a Window

The union, or the blue field, should always be uppermost and on the flag’s own right, which is the observer’s left, whether displayed horizontally or vertically on a wall. The flag should be displayed in this manner in a window, with the union to the left of the observer in the street. The flag should be displayed flat to the wall or window.

Display from a Home

To fly the flag from a horizontal or angled staff attached to a window sill, balcony, porch, or home, the union, or blue field, should be at the peak of the staff. The flag should be hoisted union first from a building along a rope that extends from the house to a flagpole near the sidewalk. The United States Flag should not be flown at night unless illuminated and should not be flow in inclement weather unless made of all-weather material. The U.S. Flag may not be used as a banner, bunting, clothing, bedding, or drapery. Banners, bunting, and similar decorations of red, white, and blue may be used, with the blue positioned at the top, the white in the middle, and the red at the bottom.

Display in an Auditorium or a Church

The U.S. Flag should be displayed on a pole or staff in the position of prominence, in front of the audience. The flag should be to the speaker or clergy person’s right, to the left of the audience. Any other flag should be to the speaker’s left and the audience’s right.

Using the Flag to Cover a Casket

The union of the flag should be placed at the head and over the left shoulder of the casket. The flag should be removed and properly folded before interment and should not be lowered into the grave or touch the ground.

More Information on the Care and Proper Display of the United States Flag