How to Show Respect and Display a Flag the Right Way

Nothing shows American pride more than the Stars and Stripes. There have been 27 different versions of the flag. All of them show respect for the country and support for the people who fight for it.

You can start showing respect by displaying your own flag. But you can’t just put it up somewhere. You have to follow several points of etiquette.

When are the right occasions to display your flag? How can you fly and hang it? How can you fold it up, and what should you do when you need to dispose of it?

Answer these questions and you can show your country pride. Here is your quick guide.

When to Display Your Flag

The United States Flag Code provides the regulations for handling and displaying the American flag. States have their own codes, so you should read your local guidelines. You may face penalties if you do not follow them.

You can display your flag at any point from sunrise to sunset. If you plan on leaving your flag out past dusk, you need to illuminate it. You can do so with any kind of light, including a fire.

You should not fly your flag during inclement weather unless you have an all-weather flag. You should take it inside and store it for a better occasion.

Try to display your flag on all days. If that’s not an option, pick a federal holiday like Memorial Day or Independence Day. You can also pick an occasion like National Vietnam War Veterans Day, which is on March 29.

How to Fly It

Many people ask, “What is a flag pole?” It is not a tree or any upright object.

It is a pole or staff built with the specific purpose of displaying a flag. Whenever possible, you should display your flag from one.

Never place any other flag in a position of superior prominence to the American flag. You can place another flag on the same pole, but it must fly beneath the American one.

When displaying other flags, the American flag should lie in the center and be raised the highest. You can hang state, municipal, and other kinds of flags on adjoining poles. When displaying the flags of other nations, all of them should be at equal heights to each other.

Fly your flag at half-staff to mark a special occasion. This may be a tragedy in your area or the death of a President. You should also fly at half-staff from sunrise to noon on Memorial Day.

You can fly your flag on your car. You should clamp the staff to the front right fender. Make sure it does not interfere with your ability to drive or steer.

How to Hang It

It is acceptable to hang your flag on a wall. The upper-left corner with the 50 stars should remain uppermost from the viewer’s perspective.

You can hang it horizontally or vertically. You should try to keep the sides parallel to the ceiling and floor.

You can use any means to hang the flag, though you should try to avoid puncturing it. No part of the flag should ever touch the ground or objects below it. It can touch the wall.

You can display the flag so viewers from both directions can see it. In that case, the upper-left corner should face the eastern or northern side.

How to Fold It

The Flag Code does not specify an exact way of folding the flag. But military custom provides one specific means of doing so. Many government organizations and civil groups adhere to this way.

Hold the flag waist-high with another person. The surface should be parallel to the ground. No other objects should touch it.

Fold the stripe section lengthwise from the bottom up. It should extend over the field of stars. Make sure that you are holding the bottom and top edges so they are secure.

Make another lengthwise fold. The blue field should lie on the outside. If you can’t see it, you can flip the flag over so it is visible.

You then want to make a triangular fold. Bring the striped corner of the folded edge over to the open edge. Take the outer point of the fold and turn it inward, creating a second triangle.

Continue making triangular folds until you have folded the flag’s entire length. You should be left with a triangle that only has the blue field visible.

How to Dispose of Your Flag

When the colors on your flag have faded, you can dispose of it. You can also dispose of it if it becomes torn.

You should never throw it away in the trash. The Flag Code states you should burn it in a ceremonial manner.

Find an open space and build a bonfire. Do not build your fire on a windy day, as pieces of the flag could blow away. Fold the flag according to protocols, then place it into the fire.

Keep the environment respectful. You can recite the Pledge of Allegiance or engage in a moment of silent reflection. Do not leave or put out the fire until the flag has been burned to ashes.

How to Show Respect

The best way to show respect is to show your flag. You can show it during daytime hours on any day. Consider a special occasion like Independence Day.

Fly it on a good flagpole. Make sure it is above state flags and at the same level as other national ones. You can also hang it with the stars in the upper-left corner.

Learn how to fold it into a triangular shape. When you need to dispose of it, burn it in a ceremonial fashion.

You can show respect by showing knowledge. Follow our coverage for more etiquette guides.


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