Memorial Day is just a few days away, so I thought it was appropriate to review the flag code. I also love all the patriotic summer holidays, so I’m likely to create something involving a flag. Hopefully this refresher will help me {and you!} be creative within the confines of the flag code. I love our flag and the country it represents, and I have always been a fan of flying the flag every day. Did you know that on Memorial Day, the flag should be flown at half-staff from sunrise until noon, then raised to the top of the staff until sunset? This represents respect to the fallen veterans in the morning and the living veterans in the afternoon. Since the flag on my house is on a fixed pole, I can’t display it at half-staff, but I will be looking around town to see whether flags that are displayed on poles are following this guideline.

US flag code

Even though there is a lot of text in the flag code, while I was reading it here I came to the conclusion that all the guidelines come down to respect. The flag should be displayed in certain ways, for instance with union (the blue part with the stars) on the observer’s left. When outdoors it should be displayed from sunrise to sunset, unless properly illuminated for nighttime display. If flown on a pole, it should be the top flag on the pole and should never share the pole with a corporate flag, only with state or local, or military flags. To display a corporate flag in addition to the US flag, there should be a different pole.

The flag is intended for display, so the flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. I have mixed feelings about that one. The interpretations I read about that one say that anything that looks like a flag to the observer, whether or not it’s to scale or correct numbers of stars/stripes should be considered a flag. There is also a guideline that the flag is not to be used for advertising. Combine that with the one about not printing the flag on something temporary that is meant to be discarded and that means that the Old Navy t-shirts our whole family wore for many 4th of July parades were disrespectful. Ugh. I intended that to be very respectful and patriotic. I am a rules girl. It disturbs me that I violated this rule and it is also a bummer because I really liked those t-shirts! Hopefully the fact that I did it with respectful intentions mitigates the breaking of the code just a little.

I learned a few things that I didn’t know before. First, there isn’t a penalty for not following these guidelines. They are just guidelines. Second, you don’t have to burn the flag if it touches the ground. If it touches the ground, just get it off the ground as soon as you can. This goes for touching other things below it, too, like the bushes near your front door. If it hits the bushes, raise the flag higher or do some trimming. The other thing I learned was that it’s okay to fly a flag in inclement weather if it’s an all weather flag. I have always raced to pull the flag in when it started raining, but since our flag is meant for all weather, I can leave it out now.

One of the sites I looked at had pictures of how NOT to display your flag. I found it helpful to see what they were talking about.

If you have a flag, do you display it every day or just on holidays?

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4 Responses to Flag Code

  1. Very interesting information. I do fly a flag and it’s Old Glory until Christmas. Then it’s a dove with Peace across the bottom. I love your red door.

    Have a great Memorial Day weekend.
    Peace,
    Linda at The French Hens Nest

  2. Julie says:

    Very interesting! I knew most of these…just not the code about the flag not being worn as apparel!

    With both grandfathers in the military, I appreciate your post.

    Oh, and your door is FABULOUS!!!

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