The U.S. Flag

The U.S. flag is a great way to enhance your home's curb appeal as long as you know the correct United States flag etiquette.  A properly flown and cared for flag is a symbol of love of country and patriotism that can strike memories of great presidents, veterans of war, or just the American way of life.

So, if you have installed a flagpole, purchased a U.S. flag, and are ready to go, how do you take care of the U.S. flag?  What is the proper etiquette?

There are several guidelines with regards to the etiquette, but we'll focus on the ones that will apply to you and your new outdoor flag.

Flying the Flag

When you are flying the flag there are some very simple rules of etiquette that you should know:

The Stars Go Up - Simple enough.  Flying the flag upside down is only used as a distress signal, an unlikely requirement at your home.

Let It Fly - Allow the flag to fly freely on your flagpole.  Don't tie the end down to restrict its natural flight.  If your big maple tree has grown into you flagpole, it's time to move one of them so your flag can fly free.

Fly It High - The flag should not touch the ground where it can easily get dirty or be stepped on.  It should also not be mounted on your home so that it constantly flaps against the house and gets torn easily.

Let There Be Light - The flag should be seen and is preferably flown only between sunrise and sunset.  An exception is when "a patriotic effect is desired" at which point it may be flown at night, but only if you light it up.  The "patriotic effect" is not explained further.U.S. Flag(49712)

Protect From Weather - The flag should not be flown in inclimate weather, however, an all-weather flag can remain out during these times.  Because of this, choose your fabric carefully depending on how often you want to bring it inside.

Keep It On Top - If you are flying another flag on the same flagpole, the U.S. flag goes on top, so that it goes up first and comes down last.

Nothing Else Bigger - If you are flying another flag on the same or an adjacent flagpole  such as your state flag or one for you favorite sports team, make sure none are bigger than the U.S. flag.  Other flags of the same size are acceptable, but it looks best when the U.S. flag is the largest.

Raise Fast, Lower Slow - When you raise the flag, raise it up quickly.  When you lower it, do it slowly.

Care For The Flag When Not In Flight

When it's time to take your flag down and store it here are the rules of etiquette to follow:

Lower It To A Person - Don't lower the flag to the point that it touches the ground.  Be ready to grab it before it touches the ground, remove it, and fold it promptly.

Keep It In Shape - When your flag gets dirty, clean it.  If it rips, fix it.  When it gets tattered, replace it, but see the etiquette for disposal.

Dispose Of The Flag Properly - When your flag is in need of replacement, contact your local American Legion or the Boy or Girl Scout troop to see if they will dispose of it for you.  They will often offer this service.  Believe it or not, the preferred method of disposing of the flag is by burning it respectfully.

Now You Know

Now you know the etiquette to follow to keep your outdoor U.S. flag flying and cared for properly, so let your stars and stripes fly.