Fly That Flag! | American Flag Etiquette

Jul 2, 2013

It's "4th of July" week here in the good ol' USA. We celebrate our freedom in tons of different ways...cookouts, parties, vacations, parades, and fireworks. But one thing all that celebrating has in common is the display of the American flag. 
While a ton of planning goes into decorating, there are times that not much thought is given to the flag itself, what it represents, and the respect it deserves. Here are a few things you may not have known about our country's flag. The American flag is often referred to as "Old Glory". The white stars with the blue background is referred to as the "union". There are 13 total stripes that signify the original 13 colonies. The Secretary of Continental Congress had this to say about the red and white colors:
"The colors of the pales (the vertical stripes) are those used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valour, and Blue, the color of the Chief (the broad band above the stripes) signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice."
 Did you know that there is such a thing as 'flag etiquette'? Yep, there are rights and wrongs concerning the American flag that either shows disrespect or honor of all that it represents and the lives that fought for our freedom to hang it.

First, there are proper ways to display the flag. According to the VFW, a flag may be flown from a pole, attached to a wall with tacks, or taped over a window. The flag is not to be tied to a tree or draped over a vehicle. 

Secondly, the "union" should always be in the upper left-hand corner. If you're flying the American flag next to any other flag, the American flag should be on the left. If you're flying three flags, the American flag should be in the middle. The American flag should never share a pole with the flag of another nation and is only allowed to be flown with the flag of one of the States, with Old Glory on top.

Thirdly, the Veterans of Foreign Wars website instructs that the American flag should always be illuminated at night, whether by a street light if flown in town or a spotlight anywhere else. Otherwise, the flag should be taken down at sundown, folded neatly, and placed somewhere safe. Is your flag worn? This is a pretty serious sign of disrespect. Repair any small tears, send it to the dry cleaner if it can be saved, and replace it if it's beyond repair.

This brings us to number four- disposal of the flag. According to the U.S. Flag Code, burning the flag is the correct and respectful thing to do if done ceremoniously, with the flag folded correctly and saluted with a moment of silence.  If you don't feel comfortable doing this, your local American Legion office will be happy to have you drop it off there for proper disposal. 
Did any of these facts surprise you? I'll be honest, I haven't given much thought to this in the past. It wasn't until my sister married a U.S. Marine and I saw his deep respect for the flag that I was inspired to look into it a bit more.

As you're planning your celebration of our country's independence in a couple of days, I hope you keep these facts in mind as you proudly display the American flag and remember the courage and bravery that allows us to do just that!


  1. My dad is a veteran so most I knew :)

  2. Thank you for the lovely salute to the US flag... I certainly learned a lot regarding etiquette (for ex, I didn't know the flag needed to be illuminated at night or taken down if not). Have a wonderful 4th! :)

  3. Thanks for posting this. I knew there were proper procedures but I wasn't 100% on what they were. Happy 4th!

  4. This was such an interesting post. Thanks for sharing!

    On other matters, I wanted to let you know that I nominated you and your lovely blog for the Liebster Blog Award. Go check it out on my blog! Cangrats, girl!

    ~ With much love, Rebekah

  5. It's a great deal that people should know about flag etiquette. We have to do the right procedure. Learn more at