Flag Etiquette

What is proper American Flag Etiquette?

Fundamental Rule: Treat all flags with respect and common sense.

The Stars and Stripes takes precedence over all other flags when flown within the U.S.

  • Other flags (including State and Organizational) may be flown at same height and in the same size.
    • If Stars and Stripes are flown from a taller staff than State or Organizational flags, it may be in the center of a group of flags.
      • If all other flags are those of other Nations, all flags must be same size and flown at same height.
  • The point of honor is “the flag’s right”.
    • In a public gathering, the Stars and Stripes should be to the right of the speakers or on the wall behind them.
    • When hung, the canton should be on the flag’s right (observer’s left).
    • Canton can be displayed on the flag’s left on caskets or when displayed as a decal or patch on a vehicle or person’s right side.

Flag Code: Title 4 U.S.C. §§ 4-10 Highlights



§ 6. Time and Occasions for Display.
(a) 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.
(b) The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.

§ 8. 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. Regimental colors, state flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.
(a) 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.
(b) The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
(c) The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker’s desk, draping in front of the platform, and for a decoration in general.
(g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
(h) The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
(i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.
(k) The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.

Is this in accordance with the Flag Code?


American Legion Department of Texas Flag Protocol

Sacred Ground

  • When the flags are posted, no person is to reach between the flags to hand or receive items to or from the speaker or table.
  • Approach the U.S. flag, stop and render a salute if covered or hand over heart if not covered, then proceed around the flag’s right to behind the speaker.
  • When leaving behind the podium, walk around the Post flag’s left until past the Post flag, stop and render the appropriate salute, then return to the audience.

Posted Colors require the appropriate salute when entering or leaving the meeting room.

American Flag Disposal

Matthew Miller, a Boy Scout with Troop 77 in Frisco, Texas, wondered why there wasn’t an easy way to dispose of the American Flag, so he made it his Eagle Scout project to get 5 Flag Disposal Bins created and build a Flag Retirement Facility.