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Flag Etiquette

The U.S. Flag should always be treated with the utmost care and respect. Remember, the flag represents a living country and, as such, is considered a living symbol.

Always display the flag with the blue union field up -- never display the flag upside down, except as a signal of extreme distress.

Always carry the flag aloft and free -- never carry it flat or horizontally in processions or parades. The exception to this is carrying very large flags in a parade that are too big to be flown from a staff or pole.

Always keep the flag clean. Keep it safe from those who would not respect it, or do not know enough to do so, such as young children.

When several flags are flown from the same flag pole, the U.S. Flag should always be at the top -- except during church services by naval chaplains at sea when the church pennant may be flown above the U.S. Flag on the ship's mast. Flags of sovereign nations should not be flown on the same pole as the United States Flag but from separate poles.

Half – Staff

To position the flag at half-staff, first raise the flag to the peak of the staff for an instant and then lower it to the half-staff position -- roughly halfway between the top and bottom of the staff. Before lowering it for the day, raise the flag again to the peak of the pole for a moment.

By order of the President, the flag shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of principal figures of the United States Government and the Governor of a State, territory, or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory. In the event of the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries, the flag is to be displayed at half-staff according to U.S. Presidential instructions, or in accordance with recognized customs.

In the event of the death of a present or former official of the government of any State, territory, or possession of the U.S., the Governor of that State, territory, or possession may proclaim that the National Flag shall be flown at half-staff.

The flag shall be flown at half-staff for thirty days following the death of the President or a former President; ten days following the day of death of the Vice President, the Chief Justice or a retired Chief Justice of the United States, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives; from the day of death until interment of an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, a Secretary of an executive or military department, a former Vice President or the Governor of a State, territory, or possession; and on the day of death and the following day for a Member of Congress. The flag shall be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day, unless that day is also Armed Forces Day.

In a case where the flag is fixed to the pole (often in residential situations) it cannot be flown at half staff. In this instance, it is proper to attach two black ribbons to the end of the pole (not the flag) to show respect.

Bad Weather

When the flag is flying and the weather turns to rain, sleet, snow or otherwise, it is proper to leave it flying if it is made of all-weather material. All-weather flags can be purchased from local flag dealers. Flags made to fly in and withstand high wind situations may also be purchased.

Raising & Lowering the Flag

The flag should be raised briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously. Ordinarily it should be displayed only between sunrise and sunset. It should be illuminated if displayed at night.

The Flag of the United States of America is saluted as it is hoisted and lowered. The salute is held until the flag is unsnapped from the halyard or through the last note of the National Anthem whichever is the longest.

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