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Flag Etiquette

While many Americans are proudly showing their patriotism by displaying an American flag in the wake of the terror attacks, officials are reminding people about proper flag etiquette.

The proper ways to display the American flag, according to U.S. Code, Title 4, Section 1:

  • When displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from the window sill, balcony, or front of a building, the union (white stars on blue field) of the flag should be placed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half-staff.
  • When displayed in a manner other than by being flown from a staff, it should be displayed flat, whether indoors or out. When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the observer's left.
  • 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.
  • Do not display on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed.
  • Do not allow the flag to touch the ground.
  • Display daily on or near the main administration building of every public institution.
  • When 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.
  • When flown at half-staff, it 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.
  • Do not drape over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle or of a railroad train or a boat. When the flag is displayed on a motorcar, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.
  • When used to cover a casket, it should be so placed that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground.
  • It should be at the center and at the highest point of a group of flags when displayed with other flags of States or localities or pennants of societies.

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