Just bought a new home? If so, one of the many questions that may be on your mind is how to display your flag.
Though hanging American flags is a show of patriotism, it can also be disrespectful. See, the U.S. flag code (established in 1942) has some strict rules on flag etiquette. For example, the most important date to let it fly is Independence Day.
Need a refresher on other flag-hanging guidelines? Here are four tips to help you ensure you’ll treat the national symbol with dignity.
1. Hang It Right
Don’t hang your flag upside down, backward, or in another unfit fashion. The only two proper ways to do it are horizontally and vertically. If you opt for the latter (such as hanging it against a wall), the stars should be on the left.
Regardless of how you hang your flag, don’t let it touch the ground. That said, you don’t have to dispose of the flag if it touches the pavement on accident. Still, make sure that it’s in good condition before you put it on display again.
2. Consider the Weather
If the forecast predicts rain, you’re not supposed to hang the flag. The only exception is if you have an all-weather flag made of nylon or other non-absorbent materials. According to the American Legion, most flags today are all-weather flags.
Another rule about hanging flags outside is to only do it from sunrise to sunset. Again, though, this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. If your backyard is well-illuminated, feel free to let the flag hang the entire day.
3. Be Respectful
When it comes to where to hang flags, the American flag should always be above others. If your flags have to be at the same level, place the American flag on the far left. Don’t forget to hoist the Old Glory first and remove it last.
Before you hang your flag, make sure it’s in good condition. If you have a synthetic flag, you can machine wash it in cold water. For older or more fragile flags, use Woolite or similar products. Mending small tears is fine.
4. Know When to Go Half-Staff
The most common time to fly your flag at half-staff is from sunrise to noon on Memorial Day. You should also do it when the nation is in mourning. As the name implies, half-staff refers to the position halfway down the pole.
Before flying the flag at half-staff, hoist it to the peak for a few seconds. Do the same before lowering it for the day. If this often leads to your flag wrapping around the pole, consider getting a rotating flag pole.
More on Hanging American Flags
By following the above tips, you should have no issues with Flag Code violations. One final tip: dispose of your old flags in a respectful, ceremonial manner. Make sure to do it discreetly, as other people could misunderstand your intentions.
Want to more about hanging American flags? Interested in learning the etiquette about displaying flags inside your home? Keep reading our Home & Garden section!