Ever since the American Flag was adopted by Congress in 1777 on June 14th (which we now know as Flag Day), people have set about making rules to ensure it is displayed properly and with a high degree of respect.
Even if your neighbors don’t care about how and when you fly the United States (U.S.) Flag, there are a number of guidelines that have been recorded in national law books. In fact, if you read the Patriotic Customs section of Chapter 10 in the Title 36 of the U.S. Code, you will learn there are many accepted “norms” in how the flag should be flown.
As Memorial Day approaches, it helps to know the proper way to display “old glory” without breaking any rules.
According to the U.S. Flag Code the following holidays are recognized as days to display the flag:
1. New Year’s Day – Jan. 1
2. Inauguration Day – Jan. 20
3. Lincoln’s Birthday – Feb. 12
4. Washington’s Birthday – third Monday in February
5. Easter Sunday – (variable)
6. Mother’s Day – second Sunday in May
7. Armed Forces Day – third Saturday in May
8. Memorial Day (half-staff until noon) – last Monday in May
9. Flag Day – June 14
10. Independence Day – July 4
11. Labor Day – first Monday in September
12. Constitution Day – Sept. 17
13. Columbus Day – second Monday in October
14. Navy Day – Oct. 27
15. Veterans Day – Nov. 11
16. Thanksgiving Day – fourth Thursday in November
17. Christmas Day – Dec. 25
In addition, the U.S. Flag Code encourages citizens to display the United States Flag on certain days that are proclaimed by the President, and on the date when their state was admitted into the union.
Flags should be raised quickly at dawn and ceremoniously lowered at dusk, and should only be displayed after dark if it dramatically lit. On days when the flag is to be flown at half-staff, it should be raised quickly to the top, held there for a moment and then lowered to half staff. The same should be repeated when the flag is lowered for the day.
In addition, the U.S. flag should not be displayed in the rain or snow unless the flag is weather-proof.
These are the basic rules for displaying the American flag, but there are many little-known facts which pertain to displaying the flag in public places, on vehicles or in patriotic observances.