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Tips, guidelines for the proper display, handling of the U.S. flag

Jun. 14, 2013 @ 08:31 AM

June 14 is Flag Day and to commemorate the flag, here are some of the congressional guidelines for the proper display and handling of the flag:

DISPLAY OF THE FLAG: The custom is to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset, but can be on display for 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during hours of darkness. It should not be displayed during inclement weather unless it is an all weather flag. The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.

The flag should be displayed on all days, especially on New Year’s Day, Jan. 1; Inauguration Day, Jan. 20; Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, third Monday in January; Lincoln’s Birthday, Feb. 12; Washington’s Birthday, third Monday in February; Easter Sunday (variable); Mother’s Day, second Sunday in May; Armed Forces Day, third Saturday in May; Memorial Day (half-staff until noon), the last Monday in May; Flag Day, June 14; Father’s Day, third Sunday in June; Independence Day, July 4; Labor Day, first Monday in September; Constitution Day, Sept. 17; Columbus Day, second Monday in October; Navy Day, Oct. 27; Veterans Day, Nov. 11; Thanksgiving Day, fourth Thursday in November; Christmas Day, Dec. 25; and such other days as may be proclaimed by the president; the birthdays of states (date of admission); and on state holidays.

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 unless the flag is at half-staff. When the flag is suspended over a sidewalk from a rope extending from a house to a pole at the edge of the sidewalk, the flag should be hoisted out, union first, from the building.

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.

When the flag is displayed over the middle of the street, it should be suspended vertically with the union to the north in an east and west street or to the east in a north and south 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.

No other flag or pennant should be placed above or, if on the same level, to the right of the flag of the United States of America, except during church services conducted by naval chaplains at sea, when the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for the personnel of the Navy.

RESPECT FOR THE FLAG: The flag should never be displayed with the 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.

The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.

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

CONDUCT NEAR THE FLAG: During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in a parade or in review, all people present in uniform should render the military salute. Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute. All other people present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.

BEHAVIOR DURING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM: When “The Star-Spangled Banner” is played and the flag is present individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note; members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute in the manner provided for individuals in uniform; and all other people present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. When the flag is not displayed, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed.

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