When to Display the American Flag
The American flag should be displayed on all days, but especially on:
New Year's Day, January 1
Inauguration Day, January 20
Lincoln's Birthday, February 12
Washington's Birthday, third Monday in February
Easter Sunday (variable)
Mother's Day, second Sunday in May
Armed Forces Day, third Saturday in May
Memorial Day (half-staff until noon), last Monday in May
Flag Day, June 14
Independence Day, July 4
Labor Day, first Monday in September
Patriot Day, September 11
Constitution Day, September 17
Columbus Day, second Monday in October
Navy Day, October 27
Veterans Day, November 11
Thanksgiving Day, fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day, December 25
Such other days as may be proclaimed by the President of the United States
The birthdays of States (date of admission)
The American flag should be displayed daily on or near the main administration building of every public institution.
The American flag should be displayed in or near every polling place on election days.
The American flag should be displayed during school days in or near every schoolhouse.
How to Display the Flag
1. When the American flag is displayed over the middle of the street, it 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.
2. The flag of the United States of America, when it is displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, should be on the right, the flag's own right [that means the viewer's left], and its staff should be in front of the staff of the other flag.
3. The American flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day. By "half-staff" is meant lowering the flag to one-half the distance between the top and bottom of the staff. Crepe streamers may be affixed to spear heads or flagstaffs in a parade only by order of the President of the United States.
4. When flags of states, cities, or localities, or pennants of societies are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the United States, the latter should always be at the peak. When the flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the flag of the United States should be hoisted first and lowered last. No such flag or pennant may be placed above the flag of the United States or to the right of the flag of the United States.
5. When the American flag is 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.
6. When the American flag of the United States is displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from the window sill, balcony, or front of a building, the union of the flag should be placed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half-staff.
7. When the American flag is used to cover a casket, it should be so placed that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground.
8. When the American flag is displayed in a manner other than by being flown from a staff, it should be displayed flat, whether indoors or out. When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left. When displayed in a window it should be displayed in the same way, that is with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street. When festoons, rosettes or drapings are desired, bunting of blue, white and red should be used, but never the flag.
9. That the American flag, when carried in a procession with another flag, or flags, should be either on the marching right; that is, the flag's own right, or, if there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line.
10. The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of States or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs.
11. When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace.
12. When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium, the flag of the United States of America should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman's or speaker's right as he faces the audience. Any other flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker or to the right of the audience.
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U.S. FLAG HISTORY
OLD GLORY: The name "Old Glory" was first applied to the U.S. flag by a young sea captain who lived in Salem, Mass. On his 21st birthday, March 17, 1824, Capt. William Driver was presented a beautiful flag by his mother and a group of Salem girls. Driver was delighted with the gift and named the flag "Old Glory." Old Glory accompanied the captain on his many sea voyages. In 1837 he quit sailing and settled in Nashville. On patriotic days he displayed Old Glory proudly from a rope extending from his house to a tree across the street.
After Tennessee seceded from the Union in 1861, Captain Driver hid Old Glory, sewing it inside a comforter. When the Union soldiers entered Nashville on February 25, 1862, Driver removed Old Glory from its hiding place. He carried the flag to the capitol building and raised it above the state capitol. Shortly before his death, the old sea captain placed a small bundle into the arms of his daughter. He said to her: "Mary Jane, this is my ship's flag, Old Glory. It has been my constant companion. I love it as a mother loves her child. Cherish it as I have cherished it."
The flag remained as a precious heirloom in the Driver family until 1922. It was then sent to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., where it is carefully preserved under glass.
BETSY ROSS?:Who designed the original "Stars and Stripes" flag of the United States is a point never definitely confirmed. Was it Betsy Ross, expert Philadelphia seamstress, or New Jersey's Congressman Francis Hopkinson?
The traditional story that Betsy Ross designed the original flag in 1776 has caught the popular fancy but no official record substantiates the story. Some historians claim that in June 1776, Gen. George Washington, Robert Morris and Betsy's uncle, George Ross, went to her Philadelphia upholstery shop. The men told her they were members of a congressional committee. They showed her a rough design of a stars and stripes flag and asked her if she would make the emblem. She said yes and recommended making the stars five-pointed instead of six. The change was approved.
George Washington drew another design, and Betsy Ross sewed the emblem. On June 14, 1777, Congress adopted it as the official U.S. flag. That is the Betsy Ross story as it is related. However, some sources claim there is no official record of a congressional flag committee. The only documented evidence naming Mrs. Ross is said to be a voucher dated May 29, 1777, showing that she was paid 14 pounds and some shillings for flags she made for the Pennsylvania Navy.
Note: Recent historic research indicates Francis Hopkinson, a consultant to the Second Continental Congress is responsible for designing the original Stars and Stripes.
OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM:For more than a century the "Star Spangled Banner," written by Francis Scott Key in 1814, was sung as a popular patriotic air. From time to time Army and Navy leaders designated it as the national anthem for official occasions. In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed it the national anthem. Continuous lobbying by the Veterans of Foreign Wars led to Congress designating the song as the official national anthem of the United States on March 3, 1931.
Francis Scott Key practiced law in Baltimore during the War of 1812. In 1814 one of Key's friends, Dr. Beanes, was held prisoner by the British aboard the ship Minden in Baltimore harbor. Key decided he would try to obtain his friend's release. Carrying a flag of truce and a letter from President James Madison, Key rowed out to the ship. His request for the friend's freedom was granted, but both men were detained onboard because the British were about to bombard Fort McHenry.
During the bombardment, Key watched the Stars and Stripes flying over the fort. Darkness fell, and he no longer could see the flag. But the fort kept on firing back at the British, so Key knew the American stronghold had not surrendered.
When daylight returned Key was overjoyed to see that "the flag was still there." Taking an old envelope from his pocket he wrote the stirring opening words," O say, can you see by the dawn's early light, what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming, whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight, o'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?"
After he returned ashore, Key completed the verse, which was later published in the Baltimore American, September 21, 1814. It became popular immediately. Later the words were set to the English "Anacreon in Heaven," which is the tune we sing today.
ALERT – CUTTING UP THE U.S. FLAG.
It has recently come to our attention that some erroneous traditions are becoming more commonplace regarding U.S. Flags that are no longer usable. Many well-meaning individuals have cut up soiled or worn Flags, sometimes cutting out stars and mailing them to our troops. Although this is a thoughtful gesture and appears on the Internet in several places, it is in fact, an inappropriate act and should not be conducted by any VFW Post or Auxiliary.
In August, 2000, at the VFW 101st National Convention, delegates passed a resolution establishing a U.S. Flag disposal program by fire for Posts to conduct, privately or publicly as follows: 10
1) The Flag should be folded in its customary manner. (See VFW Ritual Book)
2) It is important that the fire be sizeable and of sufficient intensity to ensure complete burning of the Flag.
3) Place the Flag on the fire.
4) The individual(s) can come to attention, salute the Flag, recite the Pledge of Allegiance and have a brief period of silent reflection.
5) After the Flag is completely consumed, the fire should be safely extinguished and the ashes buried.
6) Please make sure you are conforming to local/state fire codes or ordinances.
The resolution conforms to the intent and letter of the U.S. Code and the Federal Flag Code.
This is the only acceptable way of handling U.S. Flags that are no longer fit to be flown. No other handling of a retired Flag is considered acceptable.