The History of Flag Day and Flag Etiquette Rules to Know
Old Glory, as the American flag is often referred to, symbolizes our country’s heritage and freedom. For seniors who served or had a loved one serve during a period of war or conflict, the American flag can be especially meaningful. It represents pride, sacrifice, courage, and determination.
Each year, we celebrate Flag Day on June 14. This is the date when the U.S. flag was officially adopted in 1777. Many Americans honor this day by flying the American flag at their home or business. If you are one of them, it’s important to know the etiquette rules for displaying and caring for the American flag.
Learn More About Etiquette and the American Flag
Here are the key rules that relate to the American flag:
- Hours to display: The American flag should be flown from sunrise to sunset. If there is lighting on or near the flag, it can be flown at night.
- Keep it clean: Hang the flag in a location where it will be kept clean. Unless the flag is made of an all-weather material, it should be taken inside during inclement weather.
- Respect: As a sign of respect, you should never let the flag touch the ground. Also, allow the flag to fall freely and not be fastened or tied back.
- Face north: When a flag is displayed in a window, the stars should always face north. Never fly the flag upside down except as a signal of distress or emergency.
- Not a decoration: Never use the flag as a decoration or piece of clothing. If you are decorating for a holiday, use bunting instead.
- Prominence: When flags are displayed in a row, the U.S. flag should be placed on the viewer’s left. If both state and local flags are being flown, the American flag should be displayed higher than the others. If flags of other nations are also being flown, each should be flown at the same height.
Flag etiquette rules that relate to parades, presentations, and processions are also important to know. They include the following:
- If the American flag will be carried during a procession or parade, audiences should stand, face the flag, and place a hand over the heart. Men and boys should also be asked to remove their hats.
- Veterans and military personnel should salute the flag during all parades and processions, as should police and fire personnel.
- If you are preparing a stage for a presentation that will include the flag, place it to the right of the speaker, behind and above where they will stand.
- The American flag should never be thrown in the trash. Contact your local American Legion post to learn when their next disposal ceremony is scheduled.
Flag Day Celebration
If you will be hosting or attending a Flag Day celebration, one tasty treat to add to your menu is fruit tart flags. Our easy-to-follow recipe is sure to be a hit with partygoers!