Tuesday, June 14 is Flag Day, which celebrates the 1777 adoption of the American flag. With this and so many other patriotic holidays just around the corner, we want to remind you of the proper way to display the flag at home.
Here are few Flag FAQs
Q: When should I display the American flag?
A: While it is appropriate to display the flag everyday, you should pay special attention to hanging it on national holidays or days of national importance. Examples include Presidents’ Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Constitution Day (September 17), and Veterans Day (November 11).
Q: How can I display the flag at home?
A: Most people choose one of three options for flying the stars and stripes.
- A Mounted Bracket on the House: This easy and affordable solution will let you conveniently hang a moderately sized flag. For instructions on how to mount a bracket on brick vs. vinyl, check out this basic tutorial from This Old House.
- An In-Ground Flagpole: Installing and maintaining a flagpole at home requires quite a bit more work. When you install a flag pole, take into consideration how big your flag(s) will be and make sure to position the pole in a location that won’t interfere with structures or trees– a good rule of thumb is to leave open the distance of the length of your flag + 2 feet. Also keep in mind trees that might encroach on your flag when they bloom or grow. You’ll also need to remember when it is appropriate to fly the flag at half mast if you have a residential flagpole. For instance, the flag should be flown at half mast upon the death of government officials, until noon on Memorial Day, and upon order of the president.
- A Flag Subscription Service: Many community organizations around the country have begun to install and maintain American flags as a fundraiser. When you pay for a flag subscription, the sponsoring club will be responsible for mounting a flag in your front yard on appropriate holidays, removing it from your property, maintaining the flag and disposing of it when it gets weathered. As any member of the Salem Rotary Club will tell you, community flag projects can bring a lot of spirit and curb appeal to your neighborhood.
Q: What are the rules for flying the American Flag in a respectful manner?
A: In 1942 Congress and President Franklin Roosevelt passed the U.S. Flag Code, which cotified the guidelines for flying an American flag. While the flag code is very detailed, there are three important takeaways for anyone looking to fly the flag at home: orientation, lighting, and weather.
- Orientation: The Union (or blue field with white stars) must always be at the topmost left corner (or just the top, if you’re mounting it from your house) in order to demonstrate that the union of our states is superior to any individual state.
- Lighting: Typically, the flag ought only to be flown from sunrise to sunset, but on special patriotic occasions (like those listed above), it may be flown 24 hours a day, but only it can be properly lit. For easy lighting, consider solar lights that will charge during the day and come on at dark.
- Weather: While it is appropriate to hang the flag most of the time, you should consider bringing your flag inside in inclement weather to ensure that it does not become battered or fall to the ground.
Q: How do I dispose of a worn-out flag?
A: There does exist a flag retirement ceremony in which the flag is carefully cut and burnt. If performing your own ceremony seems impractical, civic organizations like the VFW, American Legion and Boy Scouts will take your flag and dispose of it properly for free. There are also flag recycling companies that provide a more environmentally friendly alternative, although they may cost you a bit of money.
Now that you know the basics of hanging Old Glory at home, we encourage you to celebrate and remember the values for which it stands.
Have a great summer!