The Flag Code
  1. The flag should be flown only from sunrise to sunset. Upon special occasions, however, it may be displayed at night to produce a patriotic effect. (The flag is flown day and night, in accordance with presidential proclamation or Congressional authorization, at Fort McHenry National Monument and Flag House Square, both in Baltimore, Md.; the Marine Corps Monument, Arlington, Va.; and the town green in Lexington, Mass.) There are other places where the flag is flown day and night according to local custom. Until 1968 the U.S. flag flew day and night over Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima where it had been raised by Marines during World War II. When the island was returned to Japanese administration, the cloth flag was replaced by a bronze replica.
  2. The flag should be displayed on all days when the weather permits, particularly on national and state holidays and on historic and special occasions.
  3. The flag should be displayed in or near every polling place on election days.
  4. The flag should be displayed during school days in or near every schoolhouse.
  5. The flag should always be hoisted briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously.
  6. When carried in a procession with other flags, the flag of the U.S. should be either on the marching right that is, its own right or in front of the center of the line of flags.
  7. When displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, the flag of the U.S. should be on the right (its own right) and its staff should be in front of the staff of the other flag.
  8. When a number of flags are grouped and displayed from staffs, the flag of the U.S. should be at the highest point or at the center or the first flag at the right of the center.
  9. When flags of states or cities or pennants of societies are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the U.S., the national flag should always be at the peak. When the flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the U.S. flag should be hoisted first and lowered last. No flag or pennant should be placed above or to the right of it.
  10. When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they should fly from separate staffs of the same height and the flags should be approximately equal in size. (International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace.)
  11. When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from the windowsill, balcony, or front of a building, the union, or field of stars, should be at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half-staff. When it is to be suspended over a sidewalk from a rope extending from a house to a pole at the edge of the sidewalk, the flag should be hoisted out, union first, from the building.
  12. When the flag is displayed in a manner other than by being flown from a staff, it should be displayed flat, whether indoors or outdoors, or so suspended that its folds fall free as if it were staffed. When displayed against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right (observer's left). When displayed in a window, the union should be to the left of the observer in the street.
  13. When displayed over the middle of the street, as between buildings, the flag 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.
  14. On a speaker's platform the flag, if used flat, should be placed above and behind the speaker. It should never be used to cover the speaker's desk or draped over the front of the platform. If flown from a staff, it should be on the speaker's right.
  15. The flag should be displayed at the unveiling of a statue or a monument, but it should not be used as a covering. Blue, white, and red bunting may be used as a drapery.
  16. When flown at half-staff, the flag is hoisted to the peak for an instant, then lowered to the half-staff position (half the distance between the top and bottom of the staff). Before the flag is lowered for the day, it is raised again to the top. For some local conditions the flag may be flown at approximately half-staff. On Memorial Day (May 30), the flag is displayed at half-staff until noon and at full staff from noon until sunset. Half-staff honors the heroic dead; full staff shows that the nation lives, for the flag is the symbol of the living nation. Presidential proclamations set forth the following instructions as to when and for how long the U.S. flag should fly at half-staff: for 30 days from the day of death of the president or a former president of the United States; for 10 days on the death of the vice-president, the chief justice or a retired chief justice of the Supreme Court, or the speaker of the House of Representatives; from the day of death until burial of an associate justice of the Supreme Court, a member of the Cabinet, a former vice-president, the president pro tempore of the Senate, the majority and minority leaders of the Senate, or the majority and minority leaders of the House; on the day of death and the next day for a senator, representative, territorial delegate, or resident commissioner within the District of Columbia and until burial within the state, territory, or commonwealth concerned.
  17. Flags flown from fixed staffs are placed at half-staff to indicate mourning. Only by the order of the president may crepe streamers be affixed to flagstaffs or spearheads in a parade.
  18. When used to cover a casket, the flag should be placed so that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the grave or be allowed to touch the ground. The casket should be carried foot first.
  19. When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium, the flag of the U.S. should hold the position of honor at the speaker's right as he or she faces the congregation or audience. Any other flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the speaker or to the right of the audience.
  20. When a flag is no longer fit for display, it should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning. A flag may be washed or dry-cleaned.