Page Title: Flag Etiquette The US Capitol Flag Live Video Cam
6/4/13: Flags on The Capitol are at half staff to mark the passing of Senator Lautenberg of New Jersey. The Flag Code says flags go to half staff on the day of death and the following day for a member of congress. The Senator died 6/3/13.
I am happy to spend time on your flag etiquette
questions for free no matter where you bought your flags. Due to the high volume
of questions, I can take phone calls only from Flag Guys customers. Others
please send questions by email. Most questions are already answered in The Flag
Code linked below or on this page.
"The Code is designed "for the use of such civilian groups or organizations as may not be required to conform with regulations promulgated by one or more executive departments" of the federal government. Thus, the Flag Code does not prescribe any penalties for non-compliance nor does it include enforcement provisions; rather the Code functions simply as a guide to be voluntarily followed by civilians and civilian group. Quoted from CRS Report for Congress The United States Flag: Federal Law Relating to Display and Associated Questions published by Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress updated August 23, 2004
Questions and Answers I get tons of flag etiquette questions. Below is a sample of my e-mail and my responses. My readers come up with the greatest questions. Flag etiquette is often a matter of interpretation. As well, I do not claim to be the best authority on every question. I get generous contributions weekly from the readers of this page. I often add such contributions to this page as links to other resources or by posting the information. I am glad to offer my findings based on some 25+ years in this business and try to base my responses on identifiable and responsible sources and customs. I share my research and experience for free. However, I do not warrant it one iota. Disclaimer Al Cavalari. Prop. The Flag Guys®
Links Helpful To Flag Etiquette Questions
Central Intelligence Agency World Fact Book This is a wonderful collection of flag images, flag specifications and facts about each country. It is very comprehensive.
The Institute of Heraldry: "The purpose of this site is to provide information on United States Army Heraldic entitlements; how they are displayed, and how and why it is worn."
Military Funeral Honors Department of Defense web site, all the rules, details, procedures and information about government provided military funeral. Helpful links to related military and veterans issues web site. It is also a resource tool for funeral directors as they assist veterans families in arranging for military funeral honors.
NAVA: Click here for the North American Vexillogical Association. It is a wonderful flag scholarship organazation that will also entertain all kinds of questions regarding flag etiquette, symbolism, history and design. This is an amazing organization worth while for anyone interested in flags. They have a yearly convention, publish a wonderful newsletter and other periodicals. Membership is very worthwhile and cheap. Their web site is free.
National Holidays State Department list of national holidays around the world
United Kingdom Flag Rules Government of the UK: The union flag, the national anthem, currency, stamps and other national events.
Some general observations about Half Staffing
An interesting point about half staffing. The President's power to order flags be half staffed applies only to federal flags. He can only encourage that others follow suit. See the following question and answer found on The White House web site following the death of President Reagan.
Q:Beaver Creek, Colorado:With President Reagan's death, what is the rule for American flags? Does the President have to state all flags must be lowered? If so, how long must they be lowered for? In addition, if the President doesn't order all of the flags to be lowered, can individuals decide on whether or not they would like to lower their flag?
A:Tim Saunders, White House Executive Clerk: Upon the death of a former President, the "flag code" (4 United States Code, section 7) states that flags shall fly at half-staff for 30 days -- the flag code is designed to provide guidelines for the display of the flag.
Traditionally, the President then issues a proclamation "officially" informing the people of the United States, directs all Federal flags to be flown at half-staff over Federal facilities, and designates a "National Day of Mourning," as a mark of respect and remembrance for the former President. President Bush has designated this Friday, June 11, 2004, the day of President Reagan's funeral, as the National Day of Mourning for President Reagan. As far as flags generally, the President directs the manner of their display over Federal facilities only -- he does not direct their display over non-Federal facilities. Individuals, other levels of government, and private concerns are simply encouraged to follow these observances. (Emphasis added)
The point being made by The President's Executive Clerk is that in these United States of America, even our most powerful leader can not order our most humble citizen to participate in a display of mourning or respect. Half-staffing Old Glory is a matter left to the dictates of each individual's conscience. The President invites citizens to participate. Hey, it is one of the things that makes us different than many other countries.
Q: North Conway, NH: We need to know when to return the flags at our resort to full staff. I have read several news reports which state once President Reagan is interred (after 10:30 ET or so Friday night), I have also read that tradition states the flags should be lowered for 30 days for a President. Can you tell me what the government plans and what private citizens and businesses should do?
A:Tim Saunders, White House Executive Clerk: Thanks for your question. The flag code (title 4, United States Code, section 7) states that flags shall be flown at half-mast for 30 days from the day of death of a former President. Individuals and private concerns are certainly invited to join in this observance.
Q:San Jose, California: What is the definition of a state funeral, and how is it decided to bestow that honor?
A:Peter Sobich, Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Cabinet Secretary: By law, former presidents are afforded a state funeral upon their death. While tradition and protocol greatly influence the funeral planning, the exact sequence of events is largely determined by the family. However, most state funerals, including those for Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson have included the following events: repose in home state before traveling to Washington, D.C.; formal funeral procession in horse-drawn caisson along Constitution Avenue to U.S. Capitol; repose in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol; memorial service in Washington, D.C., and then travel to final resting place for internment. In the case of President Reagan, this will be at his Presidential Library located in Simi Valley, California.
Question: When flown at half staff on a single pole, should the state flag be removed, or remain below the US flag? Thank you in advance for any help I can get on this. D.R
Answer:Hi Mr R.
Question: Half staffing ONLY the state flag when the US flag is on the same pole
X wrote: I'm a security officer at X University in MD. Recently we had one of our State Police helicopter pilots die in a air crash when on duty. The governor ordered the state flag to be flown at half mast. My question is, since we only have one flagpole that we display the US and state flag together how do we properly do this. Do we just display the state flag alone?
Answer: Hi Mr X
Question: When is the flag half-staffed automatically? Are there certain days when the flag is always half staffed?
Answer: Yes, there are five
3) September 11- 911 Display your flag at half staff from sunrise to sunset. On December 18th, 2,001 President Bush signed public law No. 107-89 designating September 11th as Patriot Day. The people of the United States are asked to observe Patriot Day with appropriate programs and activities to honor the individuals who lost their lives. In observance, US flags should be displayed at half-staff from sunrise to sunset. Patriot Day should not be confused with Patriot’s Day, a regional holiday celebrated in New England on the third Monday in April which commemorates Paul Revere's "Midnight Ride" on April 19, 1775 and the battle of Lexington & Concord during the Revolutionary War. The Boston Marathon is run on Patriot’s Day every year.
4) Fire Prevention Week: Sunrise to sunset. It is a tad complex. For Memorial Day and September 11, the legislation includes specific instructions on when to half-staff the flag. With fire prevention week, Public Law 107-51 states: "Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That each year, the American flags on all Federal office buildings will be lowered to half-staff in honor of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service in Emmitsburg, Maryland."
Then, The President issues a proclamation saying which date the flag gets half staffed.
The 2008 proclamation
"NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 5 through October 11, 2008, as Fire Prevention Week. On Sunday, October 5, 2008, in accordance with Public Law 107-51, the flag of the United States will be flown at half staff on all Federal office buildings in honor of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service. I call on all Americans to participate in this observance through appropriate programs and activities and by renewing their efforts to prevent fires and their tragic consequences."
The 2002 proclamation - Notice once again the time honored tradition whereby The President may not order the flags of private citizens to half staff. He "invites" the people of the United States to participate in the observance by half staffing their flags.
"NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 6 through October 12, 2002, as Fire Prevention Week. On Sunday, October 6, 2002, pursuant to Public Law 107-51, flags will be flown at half-staff on all Federal office buildings in honor of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service. I invite the people of the United States to participate in this observance by flying our Nation's flag over their homes at half-staff on this day, to mark this week with appropriate programs and activities, and to renew efforts throughout the year to prevent fires and their tragic consequences."
5) Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day - Sunrise to sunset, Public Law 103-308. Here is The President's 2008 proclamation: "The Congress, by Public Law 103-308, as amended, has designated December 7 of each year as "National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim December 7, 2008, as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. I encourage all Americans to observe this solemn occasion with appropriate ceremonies and activities. I urge all Federal agencies and interested organizations, groups, and individuals to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff this December 7 in honor of those who died as a result of their service at Pearl Harbor.
An interesting observation on Pearl Harbor Day. It was signed into law in 1994 by President Bill Clinton. Here is a House resolution from 1999 that mentions "many Federal offices do not lower their flags to half-staff each December 7" Notice also that the law "requests" The President to issue a proclamation calling for flags to be half-staffed. The bold face emphasis below has been added by me.
Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding
National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. (Introduced in House)
Question: We are a private long-term care facility for senior adults. One of our ministers and head of the Veteran’s club just passed away in a car accident. One of the members of the Veteran’s club wants to fly our flags we have on our property at half-staff. All the regs we see say the lowest ranking official that can declare flying the US flag at half-staff is the governor of the State? What is the rule regarding a private business flying a flag at half-staff to honor someone?
Question: I saw the flag at half-mast today at a foreign legion post, and I asked them why. They said a member had died. Is this proper? I thought only the president can give an order for half-mast. Can anyone beside the president make that decision?
Answer: We are often asked if it is proper to half staff flags privately for family members, employees or members of an organization. This is among the toughest questions that arise. Regarding who can order a half-staffing and when, The Flag Code does spell out many specifics. But it does say The President is not the only one who can order a half staffing. It gives governors the right also. Many state laws provide for governors being able to order half staff also. However keep in mind, orders from The President or any other government official apply to government flags only. The President and the Federal Government can not order that citizens half staff a flag. Who says so? The White House
It would seem to follow that if The President or The Federal Government can not order private citizens to participate in a government half staffing then they can also not prohibit a private one. But is it proper to half staff flags absent a governmental decree? In indicating when a flag should be half staffed, The flag code spells out many specific instances. But then it gives us the the vague instance described as "in accordance with recognized customs or practices not inconsistent with law" to indicate when a flag may be half staffed. "Recognized customs" can mean a lot of things and indeed in practice it means different things to different people when it comes to local or personal half staffings. Some people object to them. Some would focus on The Code's mentioning only the "death of other officials or foreign dignitaries." The Code is silent altogether regarding the deaths of persons who are not an official or foreign dignitary.
But are private citizens allowed to take the matter of half staffing into their own hands? Yes. In a report titled The United States Flag: Federal Law Relating to Display and Associated Questions by the Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress there is this conclusion:
"Again, the provisions of the Flag Code on flying the flag at half-staff are, like all the Code's provisions, a guide only. They do not apply, as a matter of law, to the display of the flag at half-staff by private individuals and organizations. No federal restrictions or court decisions are known that limit such an individual’s lowering his own flag or that make such display alone a form of desecration." (Emphasis has been added by me.)
There are two schools of thought regarding private half staffing. I
can not tell you which is best. There is no right or wrong. I can teach you the
controversy. One school of thought maintains that localized and private half staffings deplete the meaning of half staffing as a national or statewide event.
I notice this situation around our town when sometimes the flags are up and down
every other week and no one knows the meaning. This school of thought maintains
that The Flag is a national symbol and its use as a symbol of mourning should be
reserved for widespread national or at least statewide events. Those who belong
to this school of thought say the best way to display local private mourning is
to affix a black mourning streamer to the flag, a technique also recognized in
For the record, here is verbatim what The Flag Code says about half staffing:
Title 4> Chapter 1> § 7
m) The 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. On Memorial Day the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon
only, then raised to the top of the staff. By order of the President, the flag
shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of principal figures of the United
States Government and the Governor of a State, territory, or possession, as a
mark of respect to their memory. In the event of the death
of other officials or foreign dignitaries, the flag is to be displayed at
half-staff according to Presidential instructions or orders,
or in accordance with recognized customs or practices not
inconsistent with law. In the event of the death of a present or former
official of the government of any State, territory, or possession of the United
States, the Governor of that State, territory, or possession may proclaim that
the National flag shall be flown at half-staff. The flag shall be flown at
half-staff 30 days from the death of the President or a former President; 10
days from the day of death of the Vice President, the Chief Justice or a retired
Chief Justice of the United States, or the Speaker of the House of
Representatives; from the day of death until interment of an Associate Justice
of the Supreme Court, a Secretary of an executive or military department, a
former Vice President, or the Governor of a State, territory, or possession; and
on the day of death and the following day for a Member of Congress. The flag
shall be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day, unless that day is
also Armed Forces Day. As used in this subsection—
Half Staffing: Can only The President, and governors order it?
Answer: NO! Department of Defense INSTRUCTION NUMBER 1005.06 dated March 27, 2008 gives that authority even to the "heads of DoD Components." Bold italics emphasis has been added by me
3.5. On buildings, grounds, or naval vessels under the jurisdiction of the Heads of DoD Components on occasions other than those specified in paragraphs 3.1. and 3.2. that the Component Heads consider proper and appropriate, in accordance with Presidential Proclamation 3044 (Reference (g)).
See also the section directly above that states "In the event of the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries, the flag is to be displayed at half-staff according to Presidential instructions or orders, or in accordance with recognized customs or practices not inconsistent with law."
I can tell you that in the Town of New Windsor and in towns all across the country it is a recognized custom that local town boards, mayors or supervisors also order half staffings for employees, former council men, fire fighters, and many other persons. I know of no law with which that practice is inconsistent. It is a recognized custom for Fire companies nation wide to half staff their flags when a member passes. What makes it a recognized custom? Again, The Flag Code is typically vague. We all get to answer that question. There is school of thought that too many localized half staffings dilute the solemn tribute and majesty of a truly rare national half staffing. Again, you need to decide. The Flag Code does not dictate. It suggests.
Question: My company has recently added international franchise locations in Canada, Ireland, and the UK. To celebrate this milestone, we installed three new flag poles and purchased corresponding flags for each country. We plan on doing this each time we add a franchise in a new country.
Here's the dilemma. Our corporate office is based
in Lansing, Michigan. Under Section 7 of Chapter 1 of Title 4 of the United
States Code, 4 USC 7, Governor Granholm, in December 2003, issued a proclamation
requiring United States flags to be lowered to half-staff throughout the state
of Michigan and on Michigan waters to honor Michigan servicemen and servicewomen
killed in the line of duty. We are wondering what the proper etiquette is for
lowing the flags of other nations. Is it okay to lower the other flags to
half-staff? Should we remove the international flags when the U.S. flag is
lowered? Help! We can't find the answer anywhere! Thank you!
Answer: That is a great question and one
for which I find no direct answer in The Flag Code. That code is simply silent
on that matter. US Army regulations do say that the US Flag is to be half
staffed even if other flags are not:
The Air Force does it the same way: According to
AIR FORCE INSTRUCTION 34-1201
The concept here seems to me that if we as a nation are mourning a specific
event, other nations are not necessarily also mourning it.
There is one further component at work here. Every state has its own flag laws and your state's attorney general's office has jurisdiction over them. It would be a fair question to ask your state government. Please let me know if it responds to you.
Question: I have a question on proper flag etiquette. When the flag is supposed to be flown at half-staff on a day such as Pearl Harbor Day that falls on a weekend, we do not have employees available to come to work to place the flag at half-staff. I have been asked to research if it is better/worse to leave the flag at full-staff or to have the flag taken down on Friday so it is not flown at all. I have been unable to find an answer to this question. Do you have any guidance on this issue? Any assistance or direction you can provide will be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for your time. P.H.
Answer: I can give you guidance but no one can give you an answer. It is a question that has no one answer. Half-Staff days often fall on a holiday or a weekend. There is no answer to be found in The Flag Code. First take a look at my general description of what The Flag Code is and what it is not. You will see that it does not attempt to anticipate every situation and that it is a collection of guidelines that are advisory in nature. As such, I do not see how anyone one can with authority say that either response is right or wrong. But you ask which is better or worse.
It would be nice if The Code contained that level of detail to where it would simply tell us if it is worse to let the flag fly full staff or to strike it for sometimes three full days at a time and thereby deprive your community and our society of the benefit it provides by being there. One might reformulate the question to ask if is better for a community or for our society to be without your flag for up to three days than to have it full staff. The Flag Code does not guide us in that manner.
We are left to our own on this matter and I think you have to go with your own comfort level. Is it worse to invite the criticism of someone who objects to seeing the flag fly at full staff until noon on Memorial Day or is it worse not to fly the flag at all? Surely, it would be safer not to fly it at all. Is that better?
Some might try to say that your agency or company should bear the expense, order an employee to come in on a Sunday or holiday, and pay whatever extra cost is needed. Nation wide there are 1,400 Social Security offices, 37,000 post offices, and 105,000 K-12 schools. Add to these numbers all the town halls, village halls, federal court houses, county court houses, state highway garages, federal departments of this that and the other thing, and hundreds of thousands of other types of government agencies. Surely thousands of them fly the flag 24 hours. Can it be that we send out an army of employees a half-million strong on the morning of a half-staffing day where they half staff the flag and then wait there until noon or until days end to put it back to full staff? I just don't think we do that. I also have a hunch that there is no standardization throughout all these levels of government as to how they handle their own flags in the instance you are researching. Take a look at my essay under the Pearl Harbor section above. You will see that federal agencies struggle with the same problem.
It is admirable that you seek to do the most respectful thing by your flag. Sometimes I find it helpful to ask "if the flag could speak, what would she say?" Remember, the spirit of The Flag Code is to encourage people to treat the flag with respect. Would she tell you "I know you appreciate me and take care of me. I think we all agree that I belong out in the breeze and not hiding in a box. So even if I can not participate in a particular display of homage, I would still rather be out there showing my colors and my support. I can still do a lot of good for all who see me." Or would she tell you "if I can not fully participate in that event on Sunday, I just don't even want to be there all weekend." Each of us must decide for ourselves what the flag would say.
Would it be better if nation wide, millions of flags were not to fly for two or three whole days if their owners could not be there to half staff them? For the record, I will tell you that I do not strike my flag when I can not be there to half staff it.
Remember, when The President issues a half-staff proclamation, he "urges" or "asks" private citizens to participate.
Remember, The Flag Code is advisory in nature and these questions sometimes require the wisdom of Solomon. Were you to encounter criticism, as I suspect you already have, you might be able to explain your decision and the intention behind it. Some people would listen and then understand that there is no one answer to this matter.
I know this information is not the clear cut regulation you may have hoped to be able to hang your hat on. But from everything I know about flags, it is as good as it gets. Please let me know if you find out anything better.
Question: I am a 65 year old Vietnam vet. I try to
respect and protect our US flag in a helpful and courteous way. I have often
mentioned your website as a place to learn and purchase flags. If I see a
tattered flag, I stop and offer to have her disposed of by my post.
On a recent occasion, my local Post Office in NJ half staffed
the US Flag and I called to see the reason. It seems it was in error in NJ as
the Postmaster General had ordered the US Flags lowered in Pennsylvania ONLY as
a member of the USPS Board of Governors had died in that state. I then asked the
question of whether the USPS followed the US Flag Code on such matters.
After four months of email's to the USPS customer service web
site, I rec'd an answer from my LOCAL Post Office. It quoted an USPS
Administrative manual that says: 472.233 part b. "the heads of governments
agencies may direct that the flag may be flown at half-staff on buildings,
grounds, etc. under their jurisdiction on occasions other than those specified
which they consider proper. The VP of Corporate Relations notifies area,
district and plant managers by either broadcast fax or electronic mail of such
an order. They, in turn, notify the heads of all postal facilities reporting to
In MY interpretation of the code, a federal agency (Is the USPS
a Federal agency?) should follow the code to the letter. Under the code the
person they honored would not be a "principal figure".
I guess the key question is, Is the USPS a Federal Agency? Do
they have to follow the US Flag Code? The USPS shows more US flags than any
place in our country. They are the signal to the average US citizen that our
nation is in mourning, as that signal, they should ALWAYS follow the US Flag
Answer: Thanks for your thoughtful letter. You have not
asked me a direct question. But my guess is that you want to know if I think the
USPS should be half staffing its flag upon occasions not otherwise mentioned in
The Flag Code. The answer is yes.
Question: For a vertically hung flag, is there any way to show the appropriate honor?
Answer: Good question. Not all flags are intended to be half staffed. When I was at The White House (as a tourist standing outside the fence) during President Ford's funeral, flags all over DC were half-staffed. However, none of the flags mounted on the light poles on The White House grounds were half staffed. The Flag Code is silent on what to do with flags that can not be half staffed. However by tradition, and indeed incorporated into US Army flag regulations, is the practice of attaching a black mourning streamer/ribbon to the top of the flag. You can make it yourself out of black ribbon, or we sell one at the top of this page. Mourning Streamers On a vertically wall mounted flag it seems logical to attach the streamer at the upper left corner of the flag. That position would be the same corner of the canton to which the streamer would attach if the flag were on a vertical pole.
It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.
When used on a speaker's platform, the flag, if displayed flat, should be displayed above and behind the speaker. 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 the right of the audience.
The 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. On Memorial Day, the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff. By order of the President, the flag shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of principal figures of the United States Government and the governor of a state, territory or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory. In the event of the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries, the flag is to be displayed at half-staff according to Presidential instructions or orders, or in accordance with recognized customs or practices not inconsistent with law.
Question: Is there ever a time when, on American soil/water, the American flag is not the flag of honor?
Answer: At the UN, technically not US soil, on Navy boats during religious services, and anywhere the Christian flag is being followed.
Flag Precedence Historic Flags:
Question: Greetings! My name is __ and I am a Senior cadet in the AFROTC program at ____. Our detachment is starting to put together a flag ceremony to both educate and inspire the community; we intend to perfect it to the point where our performances will be requested. The ceremony will include the current US flag as well as historical flags (to include the Gadsden Flag, Grand Union Flag, the Union Jack, The Star Spangled Banner, etc). Our question is- what is the protocol in displaying these flags together; we assume the current US flag will be front, center, and higher than the rest but do the other flags require a certain order? Any help in deciding this matter, along with any other advice you can offer, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again!
Answer: Wow. What a cool letter and what a cool goal. I wish I could see your ceremony when it is perfected. You are correct that the US flag takes the position of honor. That position differs depending on how all the flags are being displayed. Follow the links on our flag etiquette page to the Flag Code and you will see what I mean. The US flag is not necessarily always higher. But, with very rare exceptions, it is always in the position of honor.
The other part of your question deals with the concept of flag precedence. There is indeed a pecking order when it comes to which flag gets honored before the next one. It is kind of like the concept of seniority. The Flag Code is silent on how to honor historical flags over one another. However, base the precedence of the historical flags on their age. The Defense Dept does that with the armed forces. They are honored in order of their creation. The same is done with the 50 state flags. They can be displayed alphabetically OR in order of their admission into the union.
So research the historic flags you are using and give them precedence based on their age. In your example, here is the order: USA, Gadsden Flag, Grand Union Flag, The Star Spangled Banner. I have left out the Union Jack because in my experience, people mean different things when they use that term. Some mean the modern day flag of the UK. Some mean the colonial Kings Colors. But you get the idea. An interesting point: If you are using a foreign flag such as that of the UK, it takes precedence over all others except the USA. It would even come before a state or even the flag of the United States Air Force!
Flag Precedence: Historic Flags
Question: OK you guys should know this. A local Dallas school uses the Bennington ('76) historical US flag because it matches their Patriot mascot. They fly on one flagpole, the US Flag, the Bennington US FLag, and the Texas flag in this order. My question is can the antique Bennington flag be flown over the Texas flag (between the US & Texas flag). Given that its an antique flag I'm just curious if it takes precedence over a current State flag. Thanks so much!
Answer: The US Flag code is silent on this specific matter as it is on many permutations regarding flag usage. The code can not have anticipated every varied situation. In my view, cases like these come down to context, intent, logic, and in the end, respect. I would say, the school has it correct. The Code tells us how to properly respect and honor The American flag and the school is trying to do just this. One of the ways The Code provides to respect the flag is by laying out the notion of "position of honor." That is to say, there is a pecking order for types of flags. The US Flag Code does not specifically reference non current versions of the US flag. This point is where logic and intent come in. The intent of everyone involved there at the school is to respect and honor the US flag. Tradition and practice has established that an historic version of the US flag flag remains entitled to the same respect as is the current day US flag. And a US flag does take precedence over a state flag. It may interest you to know that a foreign flag also takes precedence over a state flag! So according to The Flag Code, if the president of Mexico visited the school, his flag comes after the American flag in flag precedence, but before the Texas flag! As a side point, a foreign flag is supposed to be on a separate pole at the same height of the US flag.
One could argue that the Bennington flag was never an official US flag. I would not accept that side argument. Back then, Congress had not yet defined exactly what a US flag was supposed to look like. Local flag makers and individual folks were free to use their own imagination as long as it had the right number of stars and stripes. So even if it were a local variant not widely used, The Bennington Flag was as much an American flag as any other. And in our hearts and minds, it is one of our most popular and beloved American flags.
It is an interesting question and one for which you can likely
never find one answer. No modern day code I know addresses that question.
Clearly the US flag should take the position of honor according to our modern
day US Flag Code. According to that code, a flag of one nation should not be
displayed higher than that of another nation. Flags of separate nations should
be displayed at the same height from separate staffs. IF you accept the notion
that the Southern states had formed their own nation AND you choose to apply our
modern code, they should be on separate staffs with the US flag on the left as
you view the display. Did those states form their own nation? It depends on who
you ask. Lincoln would say no, Jeff Davis would say yes. I suppose that is the
heart of the question as to why they fought a war.
Question: Sir, I need to know how to set
up 3 flag on a stage for a military ceremony. I will have the National Ensign,
the Navy Flag, and the POW/MIA flag. Thank you. Very respectfully, LTJG A. A.
Answer: Sorry for the delay. I was out of
town and behind on my e mail.
US Air Force AIR FORCE INSTRUCTION 34-1201, 4 OCTOBER 2006, 188.8.131.52. "There is no precedence for the POW/MIA flag. It shall always be displayed in a location subordinate to all other flags."
Question: I was wondering why it is that the service schools take precedence over the actual service flags? What is the history behind that?
WOW! That is a really great question. I was just pondering it myself just
yesterday day as I was studying the differences between those two lists. Also,
take note: In my comparison chart between only The Army and The Air Force, only
The Army does it that way. The Air Force does not. I do not know what the other
services do in that regard. My one thought, and this is only my own sentiment
not at all based on fact or history, is as follows. In life, don't all we
"seasoned veterans" let the younguns go ahead of us. I do not claim the honor of
ever having served, but I compare the concept to myself and my brood of nephews.
If I were with them all someplace where there was some honor or recognition to
be enjoyed, wouldn't I let them sit in the front row?
Ever wonder if there is an order of precedence among state flags?
DISPLAY OF STATE FLAGS
State flags are normally displayed in the order of admittance to the State of the Union. However, they may be displayed in alphabetical order. The following is the date each state was admitted to the Union:
The following territorial flags are normally displayed when all of the state flags are displayed:
District of Columbia, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands
Other areas such as Baker Islands, Howland Islands, Jarvis Island, Palmyra Atoll, Johnson Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Atoll, Navassa Island, and Wake Atoll are either uninhabited or use the United States Flag.
Flag Precedence: State Flags below the US flag
I live in Texas. Should not the Texas state flag be
flown on a separate pole from the
Those are good questions. Your
impression is incorrect. The flag code clearly states that state flags may be
flown under the US flag on the same pole. There is no exception for Texas:
Question: Dear sir, I have recently been made aware that it is legal for a pennant or flag to be flown higher than the u s flag. This is according to a local yacht club that claims it has been researched. This display is on the land and supposedly allowed under some obscure law. I sure would appreciate any info you could provide on this subject. It has a lot of us vets upset. Thank you M. L
Answer: You don't mention exactly how the pole is configured. In maritime practice, the configuration does makes a world of difference. If you read Navy regulation NTP 13 (B) even the time of day makes a world of difference if you are on a ship!
But even when not on a ship, the US Navy has detailed regulations that require the practice of flying the US flag lower than other flags. It sounds like the yacht club is following that practice. You provide no details so it is difficult to say. To us landlubbers it always seems incorrect at first glance when any flag is flown higher than the American flag. After all, we all "know" that no flag ever flies above the US flag. When it is done, the concept is not that another flag is being put in the position of honor above the US flag. On the contrary. The United States Navy regulation is that the American flag belongs in fact on the "gaff", not on the higher position way up on the main mast. That is, unless there is a "crosstree." involved. In that case, if displayed with a foreign flag, the US flag goes even lower! I am not privy to the history behind the regulation. The gaff seems to be the position of honor. But it is lower than the top of the main mast. Perhaps the concept is that, as a sailing ship of yore moved forward, the gaff leads the way. It is out in front. (WRONG) The gaff is the pole that is attached to a taller pole. It sticks out from the taller pole at a 45 degree angle below the top of the taller pole where another flag may be flying.
I do wonder why my country's navy places a foreign flag on the gaff and places Old Glory on the lower crosstree. Maybe the concept is chivalry? After all, if we were entertaining a foreign guest, wouldn't we extend him or her every courtesy? I don't know about you, but if I were representing my country and hosting a foreign guest, I'd give him the best seat in the house. Maybe that is how the world's sailors see it. Anyway, I am only guessing as to the reason. The fact is simply a matter of my country's navy's regulations.
But the yacht club should easily be
able to set any veteran's mind at ease by simply showing the appropriate naval
regulation. I do not know on what regulation the club bases its decision but it
may be this one:
So you see, depending on the pole configuration, the US flag might not even be on the gaff. Since we are on the subject of maritime exceptions to commonly held beliefs we all "know" about the US flag, here is another one: We all know that the US flag is never dipped to another flag, right? Wrong. The regulations of my country's navy do allow my flag to be dipped to a foreign flag if the other flag is dipped first!
Everything I have told you above is based on US Navy regulations. The US Flag code ,which is a guide, not a law, for civilians is by far not as detailed as naval regulations. It is in fact silent on the entire matter of pole configurations and maritime use with the exception of naval church pennants.
Question: Greetings! I am curious to know of the proper etiquette to
fly the POW/MIA flag along with a State Flag on the same pole as the US. I have
seen both the state flag above and below the POW/MIA flag, is there a standard
protocol? Thanks! Chad.<
Question: Our organization will now be flying the POW/MIA flag. Our understanding is that this flag should be flown on the same pole as the U.S. Flag. Someone on our staff thinks it has to be smaller in size than the U.S. Flag. Does the size of the POW/MIA flag matter?
Answer: No code I know references the size of the POW
flag. No code I know that governs civilian use says the POW flag must fly on the
same pole as the US Flag. The Flag Code is silent on this question as well as
the question of size.. Even Title 36 of the US code is silent on that question.
Question: Where does the Flag get put in front of a
building? We are having a discussion on where to put the flag. I was told it is
put to the right of the building as you look at the building. Also some one said
it has to be in the middle front of the building. So would you PLEASE help me on
Anyone who said it has to go in the middle or in any other specific position should be asked what code is the source of that information.
Question: I work at a limousine company and we supply hearses to the local funeral homes. We have a set of military flags and the American flag which are on the front of the hearse to honor the deceased. The deceased always enters the hearse feet first. So my question is which side of the hearse should the American flag be on and which side should the military flag be on? Thank you in advance for your help! DC
Answer: You don't spell it out specifically, but let's say you are mounting the flags on the front of the vehicle. Old Glory would go on the right fender, any other flag on the left. The US Flag Code is silent on this point. But West Point and The President do it like I say above. I figure, if it is good enough for those folks, it is good enough for me!
Here is what the US Army's regulations say:
(4) When the flag of the United States is displayed from a vehicle,the staff of the flag will be clamped firmly to the right frontfender.
If you go to our etiquette page, you can click on links to the US flag code and also the US Army's regulations courtesy of West Point's Protocol office. Thanks for caring enough to want to get it right.
Question: I manage a group of buildings that display several American flags. I was wondering what is the proper way to dispose of American flags when they need to be replaced. Thanks for your time. Fredericksburg VA
Answer: Dear Mr __Here is exactly what the US Flag Code says about retiring flags:
(k) The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.
Notice that the code does not say the flag must be burned. It says burning is preferred. It also does not say that only Boy Scout Troops or The American Legion may do the burning. This belief sometimes gets brought up, but, unless some state or municipality has some local law to this effect, it is an urban myth. According to the US Flag Code, private individuals are permitted to retire the flag in this manner. However, those fine organizations and others do it in an organized way, often with a ceremony that can be quite moving to attend. I have also seen where The Girl Scouts have a ceremony that includes first cutting the retired flags into strips before they are burned. But the US Flag Code does not require that step. The Flag Code is also silent on what method other than burning would be considered dignified. As with many things in our beloved country, that decision is left to the dictates of our own respective consciences. But I have always stuck with burning. We used to just do it ourselves at my shop or at my home. But then I came to find out that towns have laws against the opening burning of anything and had to stop. Therefore, I save up flags that people drop off at my shop. When I see that a veterans organization or scout troop is having a retirement ceremony, I bring them there. Sometimes quite some time goes by and I have boxes of them. But I always find an outlet. Some VFW posts in our area have a wonderful idea. They have taken old mailboxes and repainted them in a red/white/blue theme. These are the giant mailboxes found on city streets. They put a sign on them saying "old flag drop off" or words to that effect. This is a wonderful service.
After all the years in this business some things still move me a great deal. One of them is the care that many folks take when it comes time to say goodbye to a worn out flag. Here is my favorite story in that regard. I got a call from what was clearly the classic "little old lady". She wanted to know how to go about disposing of her worn out flag. I told her about burning it and told her if it is not possible for her to do so she could bring it to our shop. She asked me many questions about how we would handle the flag, how we would treat the flag, where we would bring it. Would it be done the right way? She was very concerned and very involved. She needed to satisfy herself that her Old Glory would be handled with the care it deserved for its final service. All her questions answered, she thanked me and we said good-bye.
You could appreciate the next part of the story better if you knew the layout of our shop. Our building was not built as a commercial building and the shop entrance is all the way around the back. I admit it is a long walk for some people and it can be quite an effort to get around there. In fact, anymore when I see a person making their way in who is challenged by the walk, I just head them off in the parking lot to save them the effort. Nowadays with cell phones, disabled people sometimes just call us from the parking lot or call ahead so we can watch for them. Anyway, later that day I was sitting at my desk in my office from where I can see our parking lot. A car pulls up and out gets a little old lady. I did not yet know it was the same lady who called. I watch her slowly begin the march around to the entrance and I proceeded into the shop area to meet her. After a moment she comes in and approaches the counter saying she had called about having a flag to retire. But I see no flag. Out of here purse comes the tiniest of 4x6" American flags on a little stick! That is smaller even than the typical flag you get at a parade. It is a desk size flag. She had made that call, asked all those questions, driven to my shop and made that march just to be sure that her tiny little flag would get the respectful retirement it deserved. When I see our American Flag neglected, worn and faded beyond recognition yet still being displayed, I just think of that little old lady, of her long march, and I just smile.
I also note with interest that you write from Fredericksburg in our great sister state of Virginia. There was a day not all that long ago where many thousands of guys also went to a great deal of effort on behalf of their flags. Thanks for wanting to do the right thing
Question: We were discussing proper flag disposal and
that brought up the question of what actually constitutes an American flag. Is a
flag decal considered an actual flag or just the representation of a flag?
Answer: The Flag Code is silent on these matters. Much of
what the code does is to leave many things up to our own discretion, common
sense and interpretation. We all get to decide for ourselves how long a list of
items constitutes a flag for purposes of retirement and disposal. I think a good
cut off is on the material.
Question: Hello. The college I work at is looking into buying some new top ornaments for the 2 flag poles (U.S. flag and MN state flag) displayed on our auditorium's stage. The question came up about having the eagle on top of both poles, or only have the eagle on the U.S. flag's pole and a star, ball or other ornament on top the state flag's pole. Is there any rule to follow regarding the use of a top ornament? Would the eagle be okay on top of each, or is the eagle only supposed to be used on the U.S. flag's pole?
Answer: Good question. The answer has several components. First, the US flag code is silent on this issue. It says nothing about only the US flag being able to take the eagle. So there is no help from that source. Second, in my experience, most civilian users do use eagles on both. Third, however, there is a tradition, which I personally adhere to, for using the eagle only on the US flag and some other ornament on the other flags. I just feel it reserves a special distinction for the US flag. Many people do follow this method. I suggest a round spear. Fourth, it is possible that your state has enacted some type of law in this regard. Individual states do have various rules about flag usage and I do not know yours. Maybe ask your Attorney General's office. Fifth, the military quite certainly has rules of flag protocol that apply to this and other issues. Click on the link above to West Point Protocol Office. I have seen this question addressed in those army regulations. Military regulations are not binding on civilian situations. As well, the various military branches can have rules that disagree with each other. To sum up, absent any local or state ordinance, in my opinion, it is proper for you as a civilian to use eagles on both flags OR to reserve the distinction of the eagle for the US flag. Either way is proper. I feel the eagle, our national bird, is best reserved for Old Glory. Does this help?
Question: My father passed away two weeks ago. My mother was presented the flag from the ceremony, the spent cartridges form the salute were passed to me. I thought that since the cartridges were also given to us, it would be fitting to display them in the case with the American flag. However, I have been searching websites for display boxes, and none of the flag display/shadow boxes are ever shown with the cartridges. Is it proper to display the brass with the flag?
Answer: I am sorry for your loss. Yes it is. People display patches, medals and all kinds of things with the flag. The Flag Code does not prohibit personal effects from being displayed with a flag. We have a display case in our shop that has extra compartments for mementos. If you are local to us come in and see it. Otherwise, give me a couple days and I will add it to the selection of cases on the web site so you can see it.
Question: The second questions concerns two memorial flags that my father had stored away. One was from his sister who never married, my father had been presented with her flag. The other was from an unmarried friend of the same aunt's. She had been presented that flag years ago. What is the proper disposition of these flags? They, of course, are beautiful and we would be proud to fly one of them, but I feel that may not be proper etiquette. Should they be retired?
Answer: It is quite proper to display these flags. In fact, it is a moving tribute. Such flags from funerals are usually 5 x 9.5' so they are too large to display from a pole in a bracket. They are by rights also too large for most home in-ground poles. Since they would be oversize for those types of poles, display them only on a calm day during good weather because they will stress the pole much more that a properly sized flag. Do it with care to protect your pole, and only during that time of calm weather. You could damage your pole with such an oversize flag. OR you could just display them vertically on an exterior wall or hanging down from a porch. Stars would to in the upper left corner as you view the flag. Flags from funerals are almost always cotton which is the least durable fabric for outdoor display. To extend their life some people display them just once in a while on selected holidays or special days. You might display them say on Memorial Day or on the person's birthday.
OR, you could put them folded in the flag display cases for display in a room.
OR, you could donate them to a fire company, school or house of worship that might have a pole big enough to actually handle them for normal continual use. Your departed loved ones might like the notion that their flags are serving in that manner. Look how this Boy Scout leader gives honorable new life to funeral flags that are languishing in closets:
<<As a retired
Funeral Director & current Scoutmaster, I also thought you could include a great
tip for those flags. I have 12 of them in our troop. People have given them to
us following funerals (usually of aunts, uncles, etc) when they really had no
use or desire to keep them. We honor those flags by caring for them and using
them to teach our new scouts about flag folding, presenting, caring, etc. We
also publicly collect flags to retire at each of our monthly campouts AND
publicly on Memorial Day.
The flags will of course then eventually wear out just like you and I will. At that time they would then be properly retired, preferably by being burned up in a respectful manner as suggested by The US Flag Code.
Also don't be concerned if the flags happen to have 48 stars. Historic versions of Old Glory are proper to display and retain all the honor and respect due to our current day flag.
In short, special memorial flags need not be hidden away. During aftermath of the 911 crisis, when there was a nation wide flag shortage every flag seller had lines more than an hour long. In one of the most moving things I have experienced in my decades as a flag dealer, a lady showed up at our shop and gave away to strangers the funeral flags from her WWII Veteran husband and her Vietnam Veteran son. Those flags were able to stand watch when here loved ones no longer could. I hope this helps Thank you for being concerned about how your flags are used.
Question: Hey Guys, My Dad passed away Aug. 20 this year (83 year old WWII Vet) and we
had the flag presented to his oldest living brother who in turn passed away in
October. My Aunt called and asked me to pick the flag up and give it to one of
the grandchildren (my two sons). My brother has stated that he wants it. He
served about 2 years in the army and was given a general discharge. My personal
belief is that he doesn't deserve it as it would be an injustice to my Dad's
record but I don't want to cause any hard feelings. Is there a protocol in this
matter as to who should receive the flag? Thanks
>>(c) CEREMONY. A funeral honors detail shall, at a minimum, perform at the funeral a ceremony that includes the folding of a United States flag and presentation of the flag to the veteran’s family and the playing of Taps. Unless a bugler is a member of the detail, the funeral honors detail shall play a recorded version of Taps using audio equipment which the detail shall provide if adequate audio equipment is not otherwise available for use at the funeral.<<
Question: Is it appropriate to have more than one internment flag for presentation at the grave?
Answer: Yes. From these pictures of Richard Nixon's funeral you can see that both of his daughters were presented a flag: CLICK TO ENLARGE
Question: I sit on an elected board for my community. One of our board members re-enlisted in the Marines. At his last meeting before going away a group of his political supporters had an American Legion Post present to him a folded flag in a wood box. After the Legion members left the room one of his supporters requested (demanded) that the flag in its box should be placed in front of his seat at board meetings until his return.
Privately the board members agreed that we would not consent to the request. One of the members is a former member of the armed forces and said the presentation was inappropriate. Such a flag is presented only to the family of a fallen hero or upon death of a former member of the service or it is presented to a member of the military after long service. What say ye?
Answer: A flag may be presented to anyone.
There are many things going on here and an unfortunate misconception is involved that I have begun to see recently. It is incorrect that a flag may only be presented to military people or their families. There is not one thing in The Flag Code that even hints at that concept. I know of no published protocol that says a commemorative flag folded into a triangle and presented in a case is inappropriate for those who have not died or who are civilians. In fact, we are near West Point, and they do it all the time for civilian workers who are retiring or being transferred.
I would like to see a reference found in the several flag codes of each of the armed forces that deems such a presentation inappropriate. There is a link to the Army regulation 840 on our etiquette page. Each armed force has its own such document. I would ask the former armed forces member what his source is that deems it inappropriate. I was recently sent such a flag in a case with a certificate by some guys serving in Afghanistan right now who appreciated some things I did for them. The certificate was signed by their three star general. I am a civilian and they know it. They still presented me with a flag.
The flag is for all who love it.
Accompanying this misbelief that a flag can only be presented to a veteran is the related misbelief that a flag may only be used to drape the coffin of a veteran.
I recently heard from a fireman who said his department would not allow a flag to be used at a departmental funeral because the deceased fireman had not been a veteran. There is nothing in The Flag Code to support that restrictive decision. The letter writer was working on behalf of the poor widow who wanted the flag to drape the coffin. The bosses were telling them "you show me where it says a civilian can have a flag on his coffin. If you can not do so, then he can not have a flag." That was wrong.
In fact, the flag code specifically instructs us how to do so:
TITLE 4 > CHAPTER 1 > § 7
BUT HEY AL, THERE IS NOTHING THERE THAT SAYS CIVILIANS MAY BE GIVEN THAT HONOR!!!
Oh yes there is. the very presence of the practice showing us how to do it is proof that the practice is proper for civilians because The Flag Code IS, for civilians. REPEAT: Everything in the Flag Code is to guide civilians on proper flag display and protocol. Don't believe me? Well then, believe The Flag Code. It tells you so at the very beginning. Just read it.
>>TITLE 4 > CHAPTER 1 > § 5
The armed forces each has their own flag regulations. These incorporate The Flag Code and then go into way more detail. If you are in the Army, you do it Army way. If you work for the Department of Defense or The State Department, your department surely has lots of its own flag regulations.
If you are a civilian, then the flag code was written with you in mind because you have no "regulations promulgated by one or more executive departments of the Government of the United States" with which to comply!
However, I can not speak to the other component of your situation regarding the flag being presented during a town meeting or being placed at the absent board member's seat until he returns. Those matters become more of a discussion of politics, personalities, decorum and even parliamentary procedure. Those issues are for wiser minds than mine and are, as they say, "above my pay grade." The Flag Code is silent on these two situations.
Question: Is someone who is NOT a veteran but IS a police officer or fireman entitled to receive an American Flag at his funeral? I don't have any idea where to find it in the flag code –have researched it but could not find any ruling. H.H.
Answer: This is a common misbelief.
Here is a shorter answer: Funeral Flags For Civilians: Flags on caskets are NOT for military personnel or veterans only. The Flag Code specifically states that its very purpose is to guide civilians on proper flag usage. It then explains how to use a flag on a casket. "When the 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." It is simply not true that The Flag Code prohibits civilians from being honored with a flag on their casket. See the flag etiquette page on our web site for extensive flag protocol info. Anyone who tries to tell you that a civilian may not have a flag on his casket should be asked to tell you the source for this prohibition. Then, when he can not show you the source, show him The Flag Code which was created to tell civilians how to display flags. Military funerals are an entirely different matter. They are clearly only available for armed forces members and veterans. Military funerals include traditions and honors to which civilians are not entitled. A flag on the coffin is not one of those honors. Both military funerals and civilian funerals may use flags on coffins. Just look in The Flag Code. I am not making it up. The Flag Code simply says so.
My father’s funeral included an Air Force Honor Guard in which the flag from the
coffin was presented to my mother. The words spoken to her by the soldier were
very touching and special. They included, “… on behalf of the President of the
Answer: Air Force Honor Guard Basic Protocol, Honors and Ceremonies Gives the answer:
184.108.40.206. NCOIC/OIC hands off
flag to next of kin, says the message of condolence, and renders
Fringe: On The American Flag. No, it does NOT mean we live under martial law The following is quoted verbatim from the Institute of Heraldry web site The Institute Of Heraldry
Gold fringe is used on the National flag as an honorable enrichment only. It is not regarded as an integral part of the flag and its use does not constitute an unauthorized addition to the design prescribed by statutes.
Records of the Department of the Army indicate that fringe was used on the National flag as early as 1835 and its official use by the Army dates from 1895. There is no record of an Act of Congress or Executive Order which either prescribes or prohibits the addition of fringe, nor is there any indication that any symbolism was ever associated with it. The use of fringe is optional with the person or organization displaying the flag.
A 1925 Attorney General’s Opinion (34 Op. Atty. Gen 483) states:
It is customary to place gold fringe on silken (rayon-silk-nylon) National flags that are carried in parades, used in official ceremonies, and displayed in offices, merely to enhance the beauty of the flag. The use of fringe is not restricted to the Federal Government. Such flags are used and displayed by our Armed Forces, veterans, civic and civilian organizations, and private individuals. However, it is the custom not to use fringe on flags displayed from stationary flagpoles and, traditionally, fringe has not been used on internment flags.
Then there is this from THE TAX PROTESTER FAQ Created by Daniel B. Evans Copyright © 2002-2007. All rights reserved. Not legal advice. http://evans-legal.com/dan/tpfaq.html#flagfringes
>>>If the flag of the United States that is in the courtroom has a gold fringe, then the court is operating under martial law.
There is actually some interesting history behind this nonsense.
There is a federal statute that defines the American flag as thirteen horizontal stripes, alternate red and white, with a “union” of a blue field with one white star for each state. 4 U.S.C. §§ 1 and 2. The statutory definition says nothing about any kind of fringe of the kind often used on ceremonial flags displayed indoors, and at some point someone in the military wondered whether a flag with a fringe was “legal.” In 1925, the Attorney General issued an opinion that a fringe “does not appear to be regarded as an integral part of the Flag, and its presence cannot be said to constitute an unauthorized addition to the design prescribed by statute,” concluding that “The presence, therefore, of a fringe on military colors and standards does not violate any existing Act of Congress. Its use or disuse is a matter of practical policy, to be determined, in the absence of statute, by the Commander in Chief....” 34 Op. Atty. Gen. 483 (May 15, 1925).
Perhaps you can see where this is going? Because the Attorney General expressed the opinion that the President as Commander-in-Chief can put a fringe on military flags, tax protesters have leapt to the conclusion that all flags with fringes are military flags. This idea has been flatly rejected in numerous court decisions. See, e.g., McCann v. Greenway, 952 F. Supp. 647 (W.D. Mo. 1997); United States v. Greenstreet, 912 F.Supp. 224, 229 (N.D.Tex.1996) (“To think that a fringed flag adorning the courtroom somehow limits this Court’s jurisdiction is frivolous.”); Vella v. McCammon, 671 F.Supp. 1128, 1129 (S.D.Tex.1987) (rejecting argument that a federal court lacks jurisdiction to impose penalties for civil and criminal contempt because its flag is fringed); Commonwealth v. Appel, 438 Pa.Super. 214, 652 A.2d 341, 343 (1994) (rejecting argument that a fringed flag in a state courtroom conferred on the court admiralty or maritime jurisdiction).
In Leverenz v. Torluemlu, 1996 WL 272538, at *1 & n. 3 (N.D.Ill. May 20, 1996), the court noted that the complaint named as defendants a judge, a state attorney general, a doctor, several police officers from different communities, and 600 unnamed John and Jane Does and that “[s]ome idea of what is to come is provided by this legend that Leverenz attaches to his ‘Complaint’ heading: “This case is under the jurisdiction of the American flag of peace of the United States of America. No flags of war will serve this case jurisdiction.” (In National Auto. Dealers & Assocs. Retirement Trust v. Arbeitman, 89 F.3d 496, 502 (8th Cir.1996), a later motion in the Leverenz case was described as “bizarre.”)<<<
If the flag touches the ground it must be burned: False. Click here to see a good write up on this old myth
Only The American Legion or The Boy Scouts are allowed to retire US flags by burning them: False. Those fine organizations are not the only ones allowed to do so and do not claim to be. They both have fine ceremonies to retire worn flags. Other groups such as The Girl Scouts do too. As well, any private person may do so on his own. The Flag Code only calls for a worn out flag to be "destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning." It does not restrict flag retirement by burning to any one group. In fact, it does not restrict the destruction to burning.
The gold ball on top of a flagpole contains a razor blade, a match and a bullet: False. I've seen inside lots of gold balls and have never seen anything in there other than New York air. This myth gets told in different variations and is invariably accompanied by an explanation something like this: As the invading hoards are bearing down on his hopeless position, the last man standing can at least have time to get the razor blade, shred the flag, burn the pieces and then do himself in with the bullet. The story never includes the explanation as how he is supposed to get up to the top of the flagpole. Click here for a more detailed essay on this myth. One advisory. The author of that essay does mix up the terms "ball", "truck" and "pulley." The truck is the housing at the flagpole top into which the ball screws. The truck also houses the pulley wheel.
The gold fringe on a flag is proof that we are living under martial law: False. Fringe On Flags
It is improper to fly the American flag in the rain: False. The Flag Code Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 6 specifically allows this practice if "an all weather flag is displayed." The code is silent on what an all weather flag is, but the intent sure sounds like it means a flag that is able to stand up to the conditions. Even very light weight flags can do so. They just will not do so as long as the better models.
The Texas state flag may be placed in a position of superiority to The US flag because a) This flag protocol was a condition for Texas coming into the union or b) Texas was once a sovereign nation: False. The next time someone tells you this information show him the Texas flag code Texas Flag Code . Of course it is true that Texas was indeed an independent republic having won its independence from Mexico. Before gaining her independence, our Great Lone Star State was a state of Mexico in the way that it is now a state of The United States of America.
The flag should be
half staffed because we are at war: False.
received this inquiry via email: >>I
have a quick question I hope you may be able to help with. I have a friend
whose wife works at the local community college. She was approached by a
supposed veteran and read the riot act because the flag in front of her building
was not at half staff. His reasoning for it needing to be at half staff is
because our nation is at war. I searched your site as well as the VFW site and
could find no such ‘rule’. This guy had pushed his complaint all the way up the
chain until the flag out front of the college was lowered.
If I have missed something within the code I would sure like to know. Any
insight would be greatly appreciated.
MY RESPONSE: "The flag does not get half staffed because we are at war. The guy reading the riot act should be asked for the source of his information. There is none. I know of no code or regulation that says any such thing. The entire Flag Code in every word of its legalese is linked at the top of this page. Show me where is says any such thing. The college should be asked what on earth it is doing. Incorrectly altering their flag display because they have been yelled at? Just look at the flag on The White House and on The Capitol building. They are at full staff too. Flags are at full staff at every school, town hall, post office and government building nation wide. I find that when guys come in off the street and yell at a business or an institution over some supposed flag infraction, they are often wrong and way off base. Often the perceived infraction is based on some fantastic flag myth. I had another inquiry from a large corporation that had been dressed down because they had a bench within 50 inches of their flagpole. The guy doing the yelling claimed it was disrespectful and a breach of some law about the flag. He declined to provide the source of his "information." These kind of things happen all the time. Guys off the street doing that kind of yelling can easily get nice folks feeling like they are doing something wrong. Guys off the street should be thanked for their concern and then asked for the source of their information. If they actually have one or actually have a valid concern, they should be happy to share it. Thanks for visiting my web site. There is loads of info there about flag half-staffing."
Nothing is allowed to be within (fill in the blank) inches of a flagpole: False. Read the response directly above.
Pledge of Alegiance:
Question: I'm hoping you can help clarify an issue regarding etiquette while saluting the flag. I was recently told that one should not hold anything in his hands while saluting the flag (purse, papers, etc.). I am part of an organization where young children routinely pledge allegiance to the flag. I would like to pass this etiquette on to them, but would prefer to find it in writing. So far I have been unsuccessful in my search. Do you know if that is proper etiquette, and if it is, where I might find it officially stated? Thank you
Answer: I apologize for the slight delay in responding to your e mail. I was out of
town. Thanks for being so interested in getting it right.
United States Code, Title 4, Chapter 1- The Flag (commonly referred to as the US
Flag Code) does indeed have a subsection titled "§ 4. Pledge of allegiance to
the flag; manner of delivery". For your convenience I quote it to you here in its
very simple entirety:
Question: Hi, I work at an elementary school in a suburb of
Minneapolis, MN. We fly a State flag along with the American flag. One corner of
our state flag has frayed (about 3"x3"). The flag is approximately 5 fett by 8
feet in size. Would it be proper etiquette to cut out the frayed area and rehem
the flag and then continue to use it? The rest of the flag is in very good
The same concept applies to cleaning a flag. If your flag can take it (not every flag can!!!) it is proper flag etiquette to put it in the washing machine. Ask the store where you bought it. Only outdoor flags of modern outdoor fabric (our Eagle sm nylon or Iron Man sm Polyester) and manufacture should go in the washing machine. CAUTION: Never put an old flag or a worn flag in the washing machine. Fringed flags should also not be put in the washing machine. It is also proper flag etiquette to have flags dry cleaned. Ask your dry cleaner if his process will damage your flag. Or if your outdoor flag is of modern outdoor fabric and manufacture, you can hand wash it in mild soap and cold water. Don't put flags in a dryer. Don't leave them piled up wet or leave them wet in the washing machine. Don't try to clean flags of a delicate fabric yourself.
Question: I'm a retired active duty
Soldier work as a Career Counselor for the Wyoming Army National Guard working
in a local Armory and serve as a Honor Guard member honoring veterans who have
passed away so everyone looks to me for answers for these kind of questions. I
had a local veteran ask me about wearing a Flag replica patch on the front of an
Answer: Sir. Thank you for your inquiry. I appreciate your recognition of
my effort to share info that serves those who want to "get it right". I
appreciate the thought you have put into the inquiry you've received. I see you
must get a regular stream of these kinds of questions so I bet you have noticed
as you research them that most of the time there is no one answer. The Flag Code
leaves more things unanswered than it answers.
The following text is quoted verbatim from the FAQ section on The Institute of Heraldry web site.
On non uniform garments
Answer: Thank you for your question. I think I contacted
you but I have been behind on my e mail. Here is my take on your question.
First, The Flag Code is silent on this specific matter of where to place a patch.
There is no one answer. Therefore a judgment call is required. Here is what the
Question: L.S. wrote:
Answer: Sir: Sorry for the bad delay. I
was away. You raise a good point. Here is what the code says:
Flags On Motorcycles : Which Side?
Question: I'm the V.P. of a P.O.W.-M.I.A. motorcycle club in __. During parades we all
display both the U.S flag and the P.O.W. flag on the back of our bikes. Here's
the problem......I say that since these flags are viewed from the rear (after
the bike passes) and not the front (as the bike would be coming toward you) the
U.S. flag has to be on your left and the P.O.W. flag on the right. Since you
can't see the flags from the front while the rider is on the bike, they must be
displayed this way. If they are displayed in reverse, then you've put a flag to
the U.S. flags' own right. The only time I can agree that the flags can be
reversed is if they are on poles and are above the rider or out to the side of
the rider where they can be seen from the front, then the U.S. flag would be to
the viewers left as the bike approached them in parade form. Now, all that said,
I'm the only one that sees it this way. Everyone else says my bike is backwards
but I refuse to change. The flags are viewed from the rear, my way has to be
correct. Can you lend any help on this matter? Thanks in advance.
Answer: Sorry for the delay in responding. I was out of town. Here is what the US Flag
Code says about displaying the US Flag on vehicles.
MOUNTING A FLAG CASE ON A MOTORCYCLE
>1. Is the overall idea disrespectful?
> 2. Is it disrespectful to display the funeral flag in the case
with the point facing downward since only part of the union is visible? (This is
my best mounting option)
My Answer: None known to me.
Question: I enjoyed your site and will try and use you for any flag related purchases in the future. I am wondering though if I am doing the wrong thing. I leave my flag up at my house all the time and I don't have a light shining on it after dark. In a residential setting do I need to either take it down at dusk, or keep a light shining on it?
Answer: The Flag Code says
Question: Thank you for your great informational website! > I have a question about taking down the flag at sunset: I have an American flags (about 3' x 5') flying from a pole near our front door. On Memorial day I placed small flags (12" x 18") on each of my cul-de-sac neighbors laws. I made a great neighborhood patriotic display which they seemed to appreciate. One neighbor brings her lawn flag inside everyday before sunset. Is it disrespectful to our flags to leave them out at night? Thank you very much for your service! CW Cmdr, U.S. Navy, Retired
Answer: Sir. Thank you for your great
question. Here is what "The Flag Code" says:
wrote:>Hi, do we have to keep the American flag in our church (on the platform)
lit overnight? We have some in the church who insist that the platform lights
stay on 24 hours a day because we have a flag there. It is my understanding that
a flag is to be lit overnight if it is displayed outside. I have researched this
in the internet and do not find anywhere that it has to be lit indoors. Can you
please clear this up for us? Thanks
Answer: You do not have to light a flag indoors. The intention of The Flag Code is not to have flags in dark rooms be lit
Question: this past weekend I was in a
parade where i have marched previously and they had people in front of us
carrying a banner for advertising the parade. What is the protocol for such an
occasion do the colors go first?
Answer: Thank you for writing. I apologize for the delay. I was on vacation for a week and since back have been behind on e mail.
I went to The Flag Code and did a search using the term "parade". I find no reference in the code describing the situation you describe. What you've been told does sound logical. However, the code is simply silent on this matter as it is on many matters. The Flag Code is the one meant to apply to civilian use. In short, I see no protocol spelling out this situation. The several branches of the armed forces each have their own flag regulations that apply to their own military settings but these can differ with each other and do not apply to civilians.
Question: My mother sent this to me and I
was wondering if it is fact or fiction?
Answer: There are various meanings
attributed to the folds and I have seen various versions of these kinds of
The Flag Code gives no information on flag folding whatsoever. I know of no
official designation given to any meanings of the folds. However that is not to
say that the meanings are fictional. It only means they are not official.
Military Funeral Honors Law: Military Funeral Honors The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000 (NDAA for FY 2000) - Section 578 of the NDAA for FY 2000 and as amended by Sections 561 and 564 of the NDAA for FY 2002 and Section 571 of the NDAA for FY 2003 reflects the extensive deliberations conducted on military funeral honors. The following describes what is now required of the Department of Defense in the rendering of military funeral honors for veterans and is codified in Title 10, Chapter 75, Section 1491, U.S.C.:
(a) AVAILABILILTY OF FUNERAL HONORS DETAIL
ENSURED. The Secretary of Defense shall ensure that, upon request, a funeral
honors detail is provided for the funeral of any veteran.
(b) COMPOSITION OF FUNERAL HONORS DETAILS.
(1) The Secretary of each military department shall ensure that a funeral honors detail for the funeral of a veteran consists of two or more persons.
(2) At least two members
of the funeral honors detail for a veteran’s funeral shall be members of the
armed forces (other than members in a retired status), at least one of whom
shall be a member of the armed force of which the veteran was a member. The
remainder of the detail may consist of members of the armed forces (including
members in a retired status) or members of veterans organizations or other
organizations approved for purposes of this section under regulations prescribed
by the Secretary of Defense. Each member of the armed forces in the detail shall
wear the uniform of the member’s armed force while serving in the detail
(c) CEREMONY. A funeral honors detail
shall, at a minimum, perform at the funeral a ceremony that includes the folding
of a United States flag and presentation of the flag to the veteran’s family and
the playing of Taps. Unless a bugler is a member of the detail, the funeral
honors detail shall play a recorded version of Taps using audio equipment which
the detail shall provide if adequate audio equipment is not otherwise available
for use at the funeral.
(1) To support a funeral honors detail under this
section, the Secretary of a military department may provide the following:
(C) For members of a
veterans organization or other organization referred to in subsection (b)(2)
articles of clothing that, as determined by the Secretary concerned, are
appropriate as a civilian uniform for persons participating in a funeral honors
(3) Procedures for establishing standards and protocol.
(4) Procedures for providing training and
ensuring quality of performance.
Follow my observations and opinions at your own risk. I accept no responsibility for any losses, damages or problems you may incur from my opinions. They are offered free of charge in the spirit that I hope the information will help those wishing to honor our flag to do it properly. You are encouraged to check with higher authorities than me if your situation is more than casual. There do exist professionals in the field of protocol. I am not one. This page offers links where you can research questions on your own. My research is informed, but may be subject to correction.
I welcome corrections and or differing views on the fascinating situations that come up with flag etiquette. Decisions about flag etiquette may differ among thoughtful persons of good will looking at the same information. Keep in mind, that The US Flag Code guides civilian use. The branches of the armed forces have their own far more detailed rules of flag usage that may sometimes differ with The US Flag Code and with those of their sister services. Government agencies sometimes have yet their own rules. In addition, many states have their own flag codes. Check with your state's Attorney General. Certainly, even localities have laws pertaining to flags.
President Ford's Half Staffing: half staff the flag,
This from The White House
web site: NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of
America, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the
United States, in honor and tribute to the memory of Gerald R. Ford, and as an
expression of public sorrow, do hereby direct that the flag of the United States
be displayed at half-staff at the White House and on all buildings, grounds, and
Naval vessels of the United States for a period of 30 days from the day of his
death. I also direct that for the same length of time, the representatives of
the United States in foreign countries shall make similar arrangements for the
display of the flag at half-staff over their Embassies, Legations, and other
facilities abroad, including all military facilities and stations.
What date do the flags go to full staff?
There was considerable confusion. These proclamations never give the date to put the flag back up. The proclamation for President Ford said to half staff the flag "30 days from the day of his death." President Ford died on 12/26/06. I count 12/27/06 as day #1 in the counting which puts the 30th day on 1/25/07. So I called The White House.
The White House Executive Clerk's office told me they would be putting the flag to full staff at sunset on 1/25/07. But The White House web site mentioned no date. But this morning, 1/25/07, an interested person from Washington State said he was looking at live web cams showing the flags at full staff at The Capitol, The Washington Monument, Union Station and The Smithsonian Institution. So I called The Executive Clerk's Office again. This time a different guy said they had also raised The White House flag to full staff this morning. He said that at a tick past midnight this morning, the 30 day period ended. It is unclear to me why then they went up this morning and not this evening at sunset as I had originally been told. Perhaps I can write a letter and get it explained.
But some people counted 12/27/06 as day #2 in the counting:
The State of Maryland said put the flags to full staff on 1/24/07:
this is what it said at the time:
The State of Virginia web site disagreed saying to full staff the flags at sunset on the 25th.
I called a well known institution, which I will not name, that does occupy itself with flag etiquette and patriotism. They said the flags go to full staff on 1/27/06!! When I told them what the other sources said and asked them how they were counting, the person said someone would call me back. No one called.
The full text of President Bush's proclamation upon the passing of President Ford:
Announcing the Death of Gerald R. Ford
Virginia Tech Half Staffing
The State of Virginia is half staffing its state flag until sunset May 17,2007 for a total of 32 days in honor of each of the victims of the Virginia Tech tragedy. US Flags went to full staff at sunset on Sunday April 22 Half Staff
White House News For Immediate Release Office of the Press Secretary April 17, 2007
Honoring the Victims of the Tragedy at Virginia Tech
Flag Half Staff
Lady Bird Johnson Half Staffing
Flags Half Staffed on the day of Lady Bird Johnson's Interment: Her Interment is Sunday 7/15/07
Death of Lady Bird Johnson
DEATH OF SENATOR EDWARD M. KENNEDY
Editorial Note: This Presidential half staff proclamation is interesting in that there is a unique difference between it and the others I have observed. Notice that The President calls for two specific time periods. There is the "until August 30" time period. Then there is specifically singled out the "day of interment". At first glance it would seem a duplication. If the day of interment were to take place before August 30th, why single it out? That day is already covered in the "until August 30" time frame? My guess is that perhaps at the time of The President's proclamation, the funeral arrangements were not yet finalized. Under the proclamation as worded, if the interment were to happen after the four day mourning period, there would be an additional day of half staffing on the day of interment, whenever that would happen. The President's proclamation was made on Wed. August 26th. We now know that Senator Kennedy's interment at Arlington National Cemetery will take place on Saturday August 29th. 2009.
The Flag Code calls for a half staffing "on the day of death and the following day for a Member of Congress." By code, a senator would get two days. The Flag Code also gives The President wide latitude to alter half staffing time frames at his discretion:
Title 4, Chapter 1 § 10. Modification of rules and customs by
The White House
EDITORIAL NOTE: In all of the Federal half staff proclamations I have observed, this one is interesting in that it is limited to one state and not all Federal flags world wide.
Half Staff for Senator Byrd: 6/30 Finally a proclamation. Half staff until sunset on day of interment, EXCEPT for 4th of July. His funeral is July 6th at Arlington.
The White House
As a mark of respect for the memory and longstanding service of Senator Robert C. Byrd, President pro tempore of the Senate, I hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset on the day of his interment. I further direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same period at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.
I also direct, that in honor and tribute to this great patriot, that the flag of the United States shall be displayed at full-staff at the White House and on all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and Naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions on Independence Day, July 4, 2010. I further direct that on that same date, that the flag of the United States shall be flown at full-staff at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.
6/30/10 8:02AM Flag Still at half staff! US Capitol Live Video Cam I thought the half staffing would last through 6/29/10 based on the information below. I guess not. This has been a very tough half-staffing to pin down. The White House posted no proclamation as it usually does. The state of WV posted an order to half staff but did not say when to end it. The states of VA and UT posted orders that are consistent with The Flag Code which was for two days. And The Capitol building still has them half staffed on the morning of the third day. Sorry, I am at a loss this time around.
The Flag Code § 7. Position and manner of display (m) says to half staff the flag "on the day of death and the following day for a Member of Congress." Senator Byrd died June 28, 2010. I called The White House and asked if there has been a proclamation as is often the case. I was told there was none because The Flag Code makes a half staffing "until the day of interment" automatic. That information was incorrect as you can see from the above quoted text of the code. Indeed, there is no proclamation posted on The White House web site.
The Governor of Virginia has a flag order that agrees with the code.
Governor’s flag order for the Commonwealth of Virginia
This is to order that the flags of the United States of America and the Commonwealth of Virginia shall be flown at half-staff on all local, state, and federal buildings and grounds in the Commonwealth of Virginia in respect and memory of United States Senator Robert Byrd. I hereby order that the flags shall be lowered immediately today, Monday, June 28, 2010, and remain at half-staff until sunset. I further order that the flags shall be lowered at sunrise on Tuesday, June 29, 2010, and remain at half-staff until sunset.
This flag order is in compliance with federal Proclamation 3044 of March 1, 1954. Ordered this the 28th day of June, 2010.
As a matter of interest, The Governor of West
Virginia has an order to lower the flags but does not say when to put them back
Half Staff flags until sunset January 14 in honor of the Arizona shooting victims
The White House
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary For Immediate Release July 20,2012
HONORING THE VICTIMS OF THE TRAGEDY IN AURORA,
The White House
For Immediate Release September 12, 2012
For Immediate Release
The White House
On December 18th, 2,001 President Bush signed public law No. 107-89 designating September 11th as Patriot Day. The people of the United States are asked to observe Patriot Day with appropriate programs and activities to honor the individuals who lost their lives. In observance, US flags should be displayed at half-staff from sunrise to sunset. Patriot Day should not be confused with Patriot’s Day, a regional holiday celebrated in New England on the third Monday in April which commemorates Paul Revere's "Midnight Ride" on April 19, 1775 and the battle of Lexington & Concord during the Revolutionary War. The Boston Marathon is run on Patriot’s Day every year.
However, just to show you that half-staffings are not carried out uniformly, using the archive feature of this web cam, you can see that flags on The Capitol were already at half-staff Sunday 9/9/07. Live web cam of flag status at capitol in Washington DC. The archive feature shows the entire previous 24 hours
THE WHITE HOUSE
Through the twisted steel of the twin towers of the World Trade Center, the scarred walls of the Pentagon, and the smoky wreckage in a field in southwest Pennsylvania, the patriotism and resiliency of the American people shone brightly on September 11, 2001. We stood as one people, united in our common humanity and shared sorrow. We grieved for those who perished and remembered what brought us together as Americans.
Today, we honor the lives we lost 8 years ago. On a bright September day, innocent men, women, and children boarded planes and set off for work as they had so many times before. Unthinkable acts of terrorism brought tragedy, destruction, pain, and loss for people across our Nation and the world.
As we pay tribute to loved ones, friends, fellow citizens, and all who died, we reaffirm our commitment to the ideas and ideals that united Americans in the aftermath of the attacks. We must apprehend all those who perpetrated these heinous crimes, seek justice for those who were killed, and defend against all threats to our national security. We must also recommit ourselves to our founding principles. September 11 reminds us that our fate as individuals is tied to that of our Nation. Our democracy is strengthened when we uphold the freedoms upon which our Nation was built: equality, justice, liberty, and democracy. These values exemplify the patriotism and sacrifice we commemorate today.
In that same spirit of patriotism, I call upon all Americans to join in service and honor the lives we lost, the heroes who responded in our hour of need, and the brave men and women in uniform who continue to protect our country at home and abroad. In April, I was proud to sign the bipartisan Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which recognizes September 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. Originated by the family members of those who lost loved ones on 9/11, the National Day of Service and Remembrance is an opportunity to salute the heroes of 9/11, recapture the spirit of unity and compassion that inspired our Nation following the attacks, and rededicate ourselves to sustained service to our communities.
Throughout the summer, people of all ages and backgrounds came together to lend a helping hand in their communities through United We Serve. As this summer of service draws to an end, we renew the call to engage in meaningful service activities and stay engaged with those projects throughout the year. Working together, we can usher in a new era in which volunteering and service is a way of life for all Americans. Deriving strength from tragedy, we can write the next great chapter in our Nation's history and ensure that future generations continue to enjoy the promise of America.
By a joint resolution approved December 18, 2001 (Public Law 107-89), the Congress has designated September 11 of each year as Patriot Day, and by Public Law 111-13, approved April 21, 2009, has requested the observance of September 11 as an annually recognized National Day of Service and Remembrance.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim September 11, 2009, as Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance. I call upon all departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the United States to display the flag of the United States at half-staff on Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance in honor of the individuals who lost their lives as a result of the terrorist attacks against the United States that occurred on September 11, 2001. I invite the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and interested organizations and individuals to join in this observance. I call upon the people of the United States to participate in community service in honor of those our Nation lost, to observe this day with other ceremonies and activities, including remembrance services, and to observe a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m. eastern daylight time to honor the innocent victims who perished as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this tenth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.
Editorial Comment: Notice that in this proclamation, The President calls for a half-staffing "On Patriot Day", which is September 11th. The law to which he refers, Public Law 107-89, is even more specific. It calls for the flag to be half-staffed from sunrise to sunset.
The President Has Ordered All Federal Flags To Half-Staff until sunset Tuesday Nov. 10th
THE WHITE HOUSE
Half Staff Pearl Harbor Day 2007
From The President's Proclamation Dec 4 2007
A Proclamation by the President of the United
States of America
National Pearl Harbor
Remembrance Day, 2008
36 -- Parks, Forests, and Public Property
Display of the flag of the United States of America at half-staff upon
the death of certain officials and former officials
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