Ring, O bells, from ev’ry steeple!
Tell the story far and near;
Let the breezes bear your echoes,
Freedom’s natal day is here.
Fire the guns and shout for freedom,
See the flag above unfurled!
Hail the stars and stripes forever,
Dearest flag in all the world.
— “Song of Freedom”, words by Florence A. Jones
As the greatest symbol of our independence and the sacrifice the people of our nation have made to provide it, it’s important that we treat “Old Glory” with the respect and dignity it deserves. So, be sure to follow these flag rules when you’re helping the celebrate Independence Day by flying the Stars and Stripes, which according to the United States Flag Code, approved by Franklin D. Roosevelt on June 22, 1942, should be flown on all days, and especially on Independence Day, July 4.
Here are some details on appropriate Flag Etiquette so you can fly the flag in all its glory – the right way.
How to Fly Old Glory – Flag Etiquette Tips
Title 4 of the United States Code is known as the “Flag Code” and includes: “instruction and rules on such topics as the pledge of allegiance, display and use of the flag by civilians, time and occasions for display, position and manner of display, and how to show respect for the flag”. Below we’ve highlighted some of the most applicable rules governing appropriate flag etiquette.
Time and Occasions for Display
- It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.
- The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
- The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed.
Position and Manner of Display
- When the flag of the United States is displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from the window sill, balcony, or front of a building, the union of the flag should be placed at the peak of the staff.
- When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag’s own right, that is, to the observer’s left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.
- The flag, when flown at half-staff, 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.
Respect for Flag
- No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America.
- The flag should not be dipped to any person or thing.
- The flag should never be displayed with union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
- The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
For an overview of all proper rules related to flag flying, including its role during the Star Spangled Banner and the Pledge of Alligance, view the full Flag Code as PDF here.
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