How to properly display the American flag

| May 22, 2017

Displaying the American flag is a way to show your patriotism and pride in our country. However, the flag cannot be hung any way you may want it. There are certain guidelines to follow when displaying and caring for your flag. Russell Hammond, of the Coshocton County Veterans Service Office, offered these tips.

  • When the flag is hung on the wall, whether it is hung vertically or horizontally, the blue area must be the upper left corner.
  • When the flag is flown at night, it must be illuminated. If you cannot light the flag, take it down at sunset.
  • While many people believe the flag isn’t supposed to be flown during inclement weather, this is simply a matter of preference. Flags that are exposed to rain or snow tend to fade and fray quicker than ones that are only used on sunny days.
  • If you are using a flag pole, flags are to be at half-staff on Memorial Day or when given the order by the president of the United States or the governor of your state. The proper way to fly a flag on those days is to raise the flag to the top of the pole, then lower it to half-staff. To take it down, it should be raised to the top of the pole then lowered. If you are using a flag on your porch, there is no need to try to display it at half-staff. Display as you usually do.
  • Never let the American flag touch the ground. Hammond believes this is rooted in history, because flags on the ground showed a weakness in the military. During battles, the flag bearer carried only the flag and no weapon. As long as the flag was flying, the battle went on. If the flag went down, the soldiers would retreat.
  • The proper way to fold a flag is in half lengthwise, in half again, the in small triangles with the end tucked into the triangles. While in modern days, a meaning has been attributed to each fold, Hammond said the flag was folded this way historically because it is convenient. The flag is easily stored and carried when folded in this way.
  • When the flag is carried in a parade, you should remove your hat and stand with your hand over your heart as it passes you. Military personnel in uniform should salute as it passes.
  • When your flag becomes faded or torn, it is time to replace it. Do not throw away your flag. It must be properly retired in a ceremony. Take your flag to the Veteran’s Service Office in the basement of the courthouse or to the American Legion on Main Street. The American Legion holds ceremonies with local Boy Scouts to properly dispose of flags.

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