Page Title: Flag Etiquette    The US Capitol Flag Live Video Cam
 

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 Flag Code: United States Code Title 4- Chapter 1-The Flag :The complete flag code text with a search function

"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®

911 Flag Precedence, historic flags

Half Staff

  Pledge Of Allegiance, Behavior
Army Regulations

FlagPrecedence,POW Flag With Navy Flag

Half Staff Proclamation Archives Marine Corps Flag Manual Position: Building exterior
Athletic Uniforms Flag Precedence, service academy flags Half Staff Foreign Flags Military Funeral Honors POW/MIA Flag Size and Pole
Cars Flag Precedence state flags Half Staff Memorial Day

Memorial Day

POW Flag With Air Force Flag
Christian Flag Code Flag Precedence,Yacht Clubs Half Staff Myth Military Funerals Honors Law POW Flag With Navy Flag
Christian Flag Code II Flag Presentation: Military Only? Half Staff Post Office Motorcycles POW/MIA Flag With State Flag
Cleaning Flags Folding A Flag Half Staff Privately and Locally Mourning Streamers  
Fire Prevention Week Folds, meaning of

Half Staff September 11

Myths Presenting Flags: Military Only?
Flag Burning Fringe On Flags Half Staff State Flags

NAVA North American Vexillogical Association

Repairing Flags

Flag Code

Funeral Flag Half Staff Vertical Flags Night Retirement of old flags
Flag Order Funeral Flag Air Force Condolence Message Half Staff- When? Order of Flags, Flag Precedence September 11
Flag myths

Funeral Flag: Veterans Only?

Half-Staff-When no one is available Ornaments  
Flag Patch Funeral Flag, Who Gets It Half Staff- Who Can Order It? Parades Texas Flag Code
Flag Patch, Athletic Uniforms

Funeral Flag, More Than One?

Lighting Flags At Night

Patch

Texas Flag Superiority
Flag Precedence Air Force and Army Regulations   Lighting Flags At Night  INDOORS in a dark room! Peace Officers' Memorial Day Worn Out Flags
Flag Precedence. Confederate Flags   Lighting Stick Flags At Night

Pearl Harbor Rememberance Day

Yacht Clubs

Links Helpful To Flag Etiquette Questions

Air Force Flag Regulations

Air Force Honor Guard Basic Protocol, Honors and Ceremonies

Army Flag Regulaton 840-10

Canadian Flag Etiquette And Heritage

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.

Flag Glossary

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."

Marine Corps Flag Manual

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.

Navy Flag Regulations

National Holidays State Department list of national holidays around the world

Office of the Law Revision Counsel

Sea Flags, Flags, Pennants, Ceremonies and Customs of The American Sea Services

Texas Flag Code

United Kingdom Flag Rules Government of the UK: The union flag, the national anthem, currency, stamps and other national events.

United States Code Title 4- Chapter 1-The Flag

Half Staff Flags that are affixed to staffs such as most front porch type flag kits or indoor floor mounted sets are not expected to be half staffed.

It is appropriate to show mourning by attaching a length of black streamer made of ribbon or material at the base of a pole's finial.

Our streamers can be easily attached to a pole in all kinds of ways using the grommet. Here it is simply attached to a pole's Neverfurl collar using a nylon cable tie which we supply with the streamer. Neverfurl collars are sold separately on our flag kits page:

American Flag Kits

Our nylon streamers are about 10' long by 4" wide. They have two brass grommets attached mid way down the streamer's length parting it in the middle. When attached to a pole, it drapes to form a double streamer.

Here it has an EZ mount ring inserted through it. The rings are sold separately for two different pole sizes. Specify 1" #EZ1 or 3/4" #EZ3. The rings are $1.50 each.

Our black nylon streamer is about 10' long by 4" wide. It hangs down in two 5' lengths when you attach it. #STR $14.95 each, includes two cable ties

Order Form

 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.

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Half Staffing: State Flags

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.
I apologize if you did not get a response. I can't remember if I answered you or not. The Flag Code is silent on this fascinating question and I know of no other source that deals with this question. Army regulations for example do not mention it. And even if they did, those regs or any other military regulations apply to the military only. For private citizens, The Flag Code applies. You might try  NAVA North American Vexillogical Association and see if one of the flag scholars on that site will get back to you. If they do, please share the response with me.

My sense is this: Many flag usage questions are left up to the discretion of the individual. I believe that this is one of them. The Flag Code for example gives us all the option on how to retire, that is to say, dispose of a worn out flag. It need not be burned as most people think. The operative concept that guides is "in a respectful manner." In handling the myriad of real world situations that The Flag Code does not and can not address, I think if "in a respectful manner" is always the guide, then one can not go wrong. Absent any local or state law dealing with it, I would say it is not improper to leave the state flag on the pole and half staff it along with the US flag.

That having been said, well meaning individuals can disagree as to the state flag being left there or not. Some might say it is a more effective statement for our weeping Old Glory to stand alone in solitude. She mourns a national event, after all. On the other hand, one might say that your great state mourns along with the nation. The state flag from that perspective represents the people of your state as they mourn in concert with the American nation. I always try to ask myself, "If The Flag could speak, what would she say."

I think both are proper and The Flag Code leaves it up to the individual user and beholder. If you find it codified somewhere, please let me know. Absent any authoritative code or law, I don't think it can be maintained that either usage is correct or incorrect. Thank you for wanting to get it right.
 

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
Sorry for the delayed response. I sympathize with your predicament.

The Flag Code is simply silent on this question. Like many questions it is therefore left up to your discretion, logic and common sense. There is no one answer. As with many flag usage questions, different people looking at the same facts will likely come to different conclusions. It is likely that there is no truly satisfying solution.

You have only one pole with the US flag flying on top and your state flag flying below it. If you half staff both flags some people will say that The President and your Governor had not ordered the US flag to be half staffed. Fair enough. If you leave the US flag on top at full staff and simply lower your state flag even further down the pole, will it even appear to be half staffed? Will it even be effective at creating the tribute? Maybe so. However, depending on the height of your pole, it may just appear to be a secondary flag at a normal lower position on the pole. It may not even appear to be half staffed in honor of the fallen officer. The only other option would be to remove the US flag for the period of the state flag half staffing. This option would at least allow you to clearly display the state flag in an effective half staff flag manner to honor the officer. But some people might be critical of you removing the US flag from display.

I know of nothing written in The Flag Code to which you can point to back up anything you do. The Flag Code could not possibly anticipate every single one of life's events and permutations. Absent any specific regulation in your own state laws, there is no guidance. Either option you pick may have its supporters and detractors and you may well take some criticism for which ever option you take.

The entire point is to honor the officer. Having the US flag at full staff and the state flag at half staff on the same pole does not appear to be an effective, noticeable tribute. I would either half staff them both, or remove the US flag. When flag etiquette questions arise for which there is no answer written in any code I always ask myself "if Old Glory could speak, what would she say?" In this case I hear her saying "One of our state's finest has fallen. We have only one flagpole. Either I or the state flag which will be honoring our citizen must step aside for a moment. Let me step aside so that the flag of our state may participate in this tribute."

There is a middle ground also. You will notice on our flag etiquette page there is a black mourning streamer. That or any black ribbon can be used to adorn a flag as a sign of mourning.

Good luck with it. You asked a great question. Let me know what you did and if you got any reaction.

 

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Half Staffing: When?

Question: When is the flag half-staffed automatically? Are there certain days when the flag is always half staffed?

Answer: Yes, there are five

1) May 15- Peace Officers Memorial Day: from sunrise to sunset (section 136 of title 36, U.S.C. (Reference (e))

2) Memorial Day- According to the US Flag Code, flags are half staffed until noon only, at which point they are raised to full staff

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)
HRES 392 IH 106th CONGRESS 1st Session
H. RES. 392
Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

November 18, 1999

Mr. WELLER submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Government Reform

RESOLUTION
Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
Whereas on December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy and Air Force attacked units of the Armed Forces of the United States stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii;
Whereas 2,403 members of the Armed Forces of the United States were killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor;
Whereas there are currently more than 12,000 members of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association;
Whereas the 60th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor will be December 7, 2001;
Whereas on August 23, 1994, Public Law 103-308 was enacted, designating December 7 of each year as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day;
Whereas Public Law 103-308, reenacted as section 129 of title 36, United States Code, requests the President to issue each year a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day with appropriate ceremonies and activities, and all departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the Federal Government, and interested organizations, groups, and individuals, to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff each December 7 in honor of the individuals who died as a result of their service at Pearl Harbor;
Whereas many citizens remain unaware of National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day; and
Whereas many Federal offices do not lower their flags to half-staff each December 7: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

(1) pays tribute to the citizens of the United States who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, and the members of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association; and

(2) urges the President to take more active steps--

(A) to inform the American public of the existence of National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day; and

(B) to ensure that the flag of the United States is flown at half-staff in accordance with section 129 of title 36, United States Code.

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Half Staffing: Private and Local, who can authorize it?
 

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 army regulations.

The other school does not hold to the notion of reserving half staffing for events as announced by government authority such as The President or a governor. In practice, personal half staffings are done every day.

As far as how long a period of time is appropriate for a personal half staffing, there is no answer to be found in published protocol because the very practice itself is not specifically spelled out. As a guideline, The Flag Code creates a pecking order in the event of government half staffings. It calls for a 30 day half staffing for a president or former president, 10 days for the speaker of the house, down to one day for a member of congress. Where a private individual would fit in this protocol is anyone's opinion.

As free people, the entire matter is left up to our own discretion and the dictates of our own consciousness. It is not against any law or code I know for private flags to be half staffed for private events. Nor does any code of which I am aware spell out how to properly do it.

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—
(1) the term “half-staff” means the position of the flag when it is one-half the distance between the top and bottom of the staff;
(2) the term “executive or military department” means any agency listed under sections 101 and 102 of title 5, United States Code; and
(3) the term “Member of Congress” means a Senator, a Representative, a Delegate, or the Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico.

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. POLICY
It is DoD policy that the national flag shall be flown at half-staff:

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.

Half Staffing: Foreign Flags

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:

This from army regulation 840. The full regulation is linked from our etiquette page.

"2–4. Position and manner of display
a. Ceremonies and parades.
(4) In accordance with the provisions of section 178, title 36, United States Code (36 USC 178), when the President directs that the flag be flown at half-staff at military facilities, naval vessels, and stations abroad, it will be so flown whether or not the flag of another nation is full staff alongside the U.S. flag."

The Air Force does it the same way: According to AIR FORCE INSTRUCTION 34-1201 

2.13.4. All flags displayed with the flag of the United States should be flown at half-staff when the
flag of the United States is flown at half-staff with the exception of foreign national flags

2.10.4. When flags of states, cities, or localities, or pennants of societies are flown on the same halyard
with the flag of the United States, the flag of the United States should always be at the peak.
When the flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the flag of the United States should be hoisted first and
lowered last. No flag or pennant may be placed above the flag of the United States. /The only exception
is when the flag of the United States is flown at half-staff for an official observance, foreign national
flags may be above the flag of the United States./


AFI34-1201 4 OCTOBER 2006 19
2.13.3. The flag shall be flown at half-staff outside the United States on DoD buildings, grounds, and
naval vessels even if another nation’s flag is flown full-staff next to the flag of the United States.

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.

This information indicates that there is some precedence for displaying the US flag at half staff when other flags are at full staff. Military regulations do not apply to civilian use but they provide a logical guide. In practice, I half staff all other flags at my business or I remove them. Anymore, I have taken to simply removing them because I feel it makes for a more poignant statement. At any rate, the public would never never understand seeing other flags at full staff. Everyone would key in on the well known provision of The Flag Code that says no flag should be flown higher than the US flag. Even if you could hang your hat on an identifiable rule of State Department or Army protocol, you would likely spend your day taking irate phone calls from people who would not believe you anyway.

The Flag Code, the only code meant to guide civilian use, does say no flag is to be flown higher that the US flag. It does not offer an exception for this instance. As a civilian installation, you are not bound by the protocol that would guide military or diplomatic use. According to the army regulation above, the US flag on an army base would be half staffed even if the flag of a foreign country along side of it were not.

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.

Half Staffing: To do it or not when no one is available.

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.

 

Half Staffing: Post Office

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.
 
I see the herky jerky up and down half staffing done to our flags by the well meaning public and it saddens me.
 

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 them".
 

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 Code. Thanks
 

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.

Keep in mind that PUBLIC LAW 94 - 344 states The Flag Code

" is hereby, established for the use of such civilians or civilian groups or organizations as may not be required to conform with regulations promulgated by one or more executive departments of the Government of the United States."

A governmental agency may indeed have its own regulations pertaining to flag display that may differ from The Flag Code. If the USPS is half staffing the flag in situations that follow its own regulations it is not violating The Flag Code. If your post office is following USPS regulations which, for it, take precedence over The Flag Code, then it is correct. I am no judge on whether your post office was correctly following its own regulations. However, The Flag Code is a guide for civilians. It is not always a guide for governmental agencies which may have more specific regulations. Does this information help?
 

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Half Staffing: Vertically Mounted Flags

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.

 

 

A short summary of the US flag code follows below.

For the full version in legalese click here for the United States Code Title 4- Chapter 1-The Flag

The Flag Code is voluntary, it includes no penalties or enforcement provisions

Keep in mind that "The Flag Code" so often cited is a series of recommendations designed for the use of individuals or organizations that may not be required to conform with regulations from departments of the US Government. For example, each military branch has its own code of flag etiquette that may have additional requirements or cover aspects not anticipated the The US Flag Code. The latter code is a guide for civilians who wish to properly honor our beloved flag. It carries no penalties or enforcement procedures.  As such, I have always seen it described not as a law, but as a guide for behavior. It does not attempt to anticipate every possible flag display situation. Rather, it provides a guide against which situations not contained within it may be measured.

Keep in mind that PUBLIC LAW 94 - 344 states The Flag Code

" is hereby, established for the use of such civilians or civilian groups or organizations as may not be required to conform with regulations promulgated by one or more executive departments of the Government of the United States."

In a report titled "The United States Flag:Federal Law Relating to Display and Associated Questions" published by the Library of Congress Congressional Research Service, John R. Luckey, Legislative Attorney, American Law Division, writes:

"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 groups.'

Later in the same report, the writer states:

"The Flag Code is a codification of customs and rules established for the use of certain civilians and civilian groups. No penalty or punishment is specified in the Flag Code for display of the flag of the United States in a manner other than as suggested. Cases which have construed the former 36 U.S.C. § 17521 have concluded that the Flag Code does not proscribe conduct, but is merely declaratory and advisory."

 

 

Short summary of the US Flag Code:

For the full version in legalese click here for the United States Code Title 4- Chapter 1-The Flag

General Display
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 displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.

No other flag or pennant should be placed above or, if on the same level, to the right of the flag of the United States of America, except during church services conducted by naval chaplains at sea . . . for personnel of the Navy . . . when the church pennant may be flown above the flag.

No person shall display the flag of the United Nations or any other national or international flag equal, above, or in a position of superior prominence or honor to, or in place of, the flag of the United States at any place within the United States or any Territory or possession thereof; Provided, that nothing in this section shall make unlawful the continuance of the practice herefore followed of displaying the flag of the United Nations in a position of superior prominence or honor, and other national flags in positions of equal prominence or honor, with that of the flag of the United States at the headquarters of the United Nations.

When flags of states, cities, or localities, or pennants of societies are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the United States, the latter should always be at the peak.

When the flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the flag of the United States should be hoisted first and lowered last. No such flag or pennant may be placed above the flag of the United States or to the United States flag's right.

The flag of the United States of America, when it is displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, should be on the right, the flag's own right, and its staff should be in front of the staff of the other flag.

The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of states or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs.

When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace.

Churches, Auditoriums
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.

Half-Staff
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 of the United States, the governor of that state, territory or possession may proclaim that the National flag may be flown at half-staff.

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Flag Precedence: Deals with the fascinating question about which flag comes next in the position of honor when there is more than one flag.

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.

Flag Precedence: Confederate Flags

On the topic of flag precedence/positioning:  I'm a Civil War buff and I enjoy displaying the 34-star Union flag together with the 3rd National Confederate flag on the anniversaries of the major Civil War battles.  I display the flags on a common staff in front of my house, with the Union flag at the peak and the Confederate flag just below it.  My theory is that the Union flag, which was once the official national banner of the United States, should always take precedence over the Confederate flag.  Is my theory correct, or should I be displaying the flags differently?  Since I display these flags to honor all the soldiers who served in the war, I don't want to do anything that would disrespect either side.  I've never seen this issue addressed anywhere, so I'd be interested in your opinion.  Thanks!

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.
 

There is this from Air Force Personnel Center

Here is the accepted order of precedence for displaying flags during both official and unofficial military and civilian ceremonies. AFR 900-3 standardizes their display.

Here is the same question dealt with in the Army Regulation 840-10 which you will find on the West Point link shown above and repeated here:

Click Here to see a pdf file of Army Regulation 840-10 regarding heraldic activities, flags

THE UNITED STATES FLAG

a.The flag of the United States.

FOREIGN COUNTRY FLAGS

(IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER)

b. Foreign national flags. (Normally, these are displayed in alphabetical order using the English alphabet.)

 

c. Flag of the President of the United States of America.

STATE FLAGS (By admission to the union)

d. State and territorial flags. Normally, state flags are displayed in order of admittance of the State to the Union. However, they may also be displayed in alphabetical order using the English alphabet.

Territorial flags are displayed after the State flags either in the order they were recognized by the united States or alphabetically.

SERVICE FLAGS

(By order of Service (DOD Dir 1005.8)

ARMY FLAG

MARINE FLAG

NAVY FLAG

AIR FORCE FLAG

COAST GUARD FLAG

 

(Note this information contained in AIR FORCE INSTRUCTION 34-1201
4 OCTOBER 2006
2.34.6.8. There is no precedence for the POW/MIA flag. It shall always be displayed in a location subordinate to all other flags.)

e . Militaryorganizational flags of th e Services in order of

precedence

(1) Cadets, United States Military Academy 9; 9; 9; 9;

(2) Midshipmen, United States Naval Academy

(3) Cadets, United States Air Force Academy

(4) Cadets, United States Coast Guard Academy

(5) Midshipmen, United States Merchant Marine Academy

(6) United States Army

(7) United States Marine Corps

(8) United States Navy

(9) United States Air Force

(10) United States Coast Guard

(11) Army National Guard of the United States

(12) Army Reserve

(13) Marine Corps Reserve

(14) Naval Reserve

(15) Air National Guard of the United States

(16) Air Force Reserve

(17) Coast Guard Reserve

(18) Other training organizations of the Army, Marine Corps,

Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard, in that order, respectively.

NORTH AMERICAN AEROSPACE DEFENSE FLAG

f. Military organizational flags within a Service by echelon. The flag for the regimental corps will have precedence immediately before the regimental proponent's command flag. The regimental corps flag will never have precedence above a MACOM flag.

UNITED STATES SPACE COMMAND FLAG

g. Individual flags in order of rank. For the purpose of order of

precedence, the term "individual flags" includes the Department of

the Army Senior Executive Service flag.

 MAJCOM COMMAND FLAGS

(in alphabetical order-all on the same level)

 

Air Combat Command

 

Air Education and Training Command

 

Air Force Materiel Command

 

Air Force Space Command

 

Air Force Special Operations Command

 

Air Mobility Command

 

Pacific Air Forces

 

United States Air Forces in Europe

 

 FIELD OPERATING AGENCIES

AIR NATIONAL GUARD

 

AIR FORCE RESERVE

 

DIRECT REPORTING UNITS

 

PERSONAL OR GENERAL OFFICER FLAGS (4-, 3-, 2-, and 1 -star; one flag per service regardless of how many general officers of that grade are in attendance. If two Air Force brigadier generals are present, display only one 1-star flag. If an Army and an Air Force brigadier general are present, display both an Army and Air Force 1-star flag with date of rank of the generals determining whose flag takes precedence.

 

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Flag Precedence POW Flag with Navy Flag
 

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. Operations Officer
 

Answer: Sorry for the delay. I was out of town and behind on my e mail.
The flag code for civilian use is silent on your question. I do not know what the US Navy says about the matter. I see no reference to it in your Navy regulation NTP13 (B). The Army says it is a discretionary matter. The Air Force places the POW flag after all other flags. See my reference below.

As the flags are viewed from the audience, I would put

USA, US Navy, then POW

        
US Army Here is what The Institute of Heraldry says about it.. The Institute answers questions regarding flag usage in The US Army: "DISPLAY OF THE POW/MIA FLAG. Display of this flag is covered by Section 902, Title 36 of the United States Code. The POW/MIA flag should be flown beneath the flag of the United States, if displayed on the same pole. The US Code does not address display of the POW/MIA flag with organizational flags. The order of display would therefore be at the discretion of the organization."

               US Air Force AIR FORCE INSTRUCTION 34-1201, 4 OCTOBER 2006, 2.34.6.8. "There is no precedence for the POW/MIA flag. It shall always be displayed in a location subordinate to all other flags."

Flag Precedence Service Academy 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?

Answer: 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?

Somehow it seems very cool, very gallant and very self sacrificing to me that currently serving troops give up the position of honor to the cadets. Maybe it is somehow tied to the idea that the troops currently serving don't have anything to prove and will therefore let those coming up behind them have the spotlight. Imagine the symbolism represented by this order of march: First come the cadets who are ,after all, mostly college kids yet to fire a shot in anger. After them come active duty combat troops whose ranks may no longer even be complete. Gosh, think of this protocol. Imagine a ceremony at West Point in 1946. First come the cadets just out of high school , next come the D-Day Normandy veterans. I wonder if the words bravery, courtesy, honor, and gallantry apply to this protocol. After all, I suppose every society and every organization understands that its youth represents the entire hope for the future. As well, I wonder if this amazing US Army protocol is a display of the behavior we see throughout mankind wherein the strong will protect its young who in their own turn will soon assume the torch.

The sort answer to your question is that I do not know. My personal observation is that I find it very endearing that the Army protocol calls for a very mighty group, active duty troops, to give up the position of honor to cadets. Keep in mind that some of those cadets will never even finish their term to become active duty. I will keep my eye out for a better explanation and let you know. I will see if West Point's head of protocol will respond to this question. Let me know if you find out anything

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Flag Precedence: State Flags

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:

Delaware, The First State!!

7 Dec 1787

Michigan

26 Jan 1837

Pennsylvania

12 Dec 1787

Florida

3 Mar 1845

New Jersey

18 Dec 1787

Texas

29 Dec 1845

Georgia

2 Jan 1788

Iowa

28 Dec 1846

Connecticut

9 Jan 1788

Wisconsin

29 May 1848

Massachusetts

6 Feb 1788

California

9 Sep 1850

Maryland

28 Apr 1788

Minnesota

11 May 1858

South Carolina

23 May 1788

Oregon

14 Feb 1859

New Hampshire

21 Jun 1788

Kansas

29 Jan 1861

Virginia

25 Jun 1788

West Virginia

20 Jun 1863

New York

26 Jul 1788

Nevada

31 Oct 1864

North Carolina

21 Nov 1789

Nebraska

1 Mar 1867

Rhode Island

29 May 1790

Colorado

1 Aug 1876

Vermont

4 Mar 1791

North Dakota

2 Nov 1889

Kentucky

1 Jun 1792

South Dakota

2 Nov 1889

Tennessee

1 Jun 1796

Montana

8 Nov 1889

Ohio

1 Mar 1803

Washington

11 Nov 1889

Louisiana

30 Apr 1812

Idaho

3 Jul 1890

Indiana

11 Dec 1816

Wyoming

10 Jul 1890

Mississippi

10 Dec 1817

Utah

4 Jul 1896

Illinois

3 Dec 1818

Oklahoma

16 Nov 1907

Alabama

14 Dec 1819

New Mexico

6 Jan 1912

Maine

15 Mar 1820

Arizona

14 Feb 1912

Missouri

10 Aug 1821

Alaska

3 Jan 1959

Arkansas

15 Jun 1836

Hawaii

21 Aug 1959

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

Question: I live in Texas. Should not the Texas state flag be flown on a separate pole from the
US flag, and at the same height, versus on one pole beneath the Us flag as though it were subservient. I was under the impression that the "only" flag approved to be flown on the same staff / pole with the US flag was the POW/MIA. Please advise. N.S. Vietnam Vet

Answer: 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:

(f) When flags of States, cities, or localities, or pennants of societies are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the United States, the latter should always be at the peak. When the flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the flag of the United States should be hoisted first and lowered last. No such flag or pennant may be placed above the flag of the United States or to the United States flag’s right.

Also, your state has a
Texas Flag Code, linked from my etiquette page, which says the same thing:
Sec. 3100.055.  DISPLAY ON FLAGPOLE OR FLAGSTAFF WITH FLAG OF UNITED STATES.  (a)  If it is necessary for the state flag (Texas flag) and the flag of the United States to be displayed on the same flagpole or flagstaff, the United States flag should be above the state flag.

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Flag Precedence: US Flag below yacht club flag?

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:

Navy regulation NTP 13 (B) is the Navy's flag code. It tells everyone in The Navy all the rules and regulations regarding flying flags. Here is what it says in part. Bold type emphasis has been added by me.

NTP 13(B)
CHAPTER 8
DISPLAY OF THE NATIONAL ENSIGN AT
U.S. NAVAL SHORE ACTIVITIES
801. GENERAL

"(4) Polemast with Crosstree and Gaff - This is commonly called a "yacht club mast". Displayed from the gaff. When displayed with foreign national ensign(s), display U.S. national ensign from outermost halyard on right hand crosstree."

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.

To the theme of flags on nautical masts, look at the great question I received from Arizona:

"Please notice in the attached pix of US Coast Guard vessels that, the one that is on display in the National Maritime Museum in Oregon has the USCG flag flying above the United States Flag. And in the picture of the US Coast Guard vessel that is underway, the United States Flag is flying above the USCG flag. Can you please explain this to me. I am building a model of this particular type of Coast Guard vessel and I want to get it right."  B.G. Golden Valley, Arizona

US Coast Guard cutter with flags on the mast  

This is a very cool example. Also, notice they are the same boat

Here is my answer:

I believe that the boat in the museum is correct because of the reasons stated above.

The Gaff is the position of honor and that is where the US flag is displayed in this exhibit.
 

US Coast Guard Cutter with flags on the mast

Anyone with further documentation on the answer to this interesting question is invited to send in a response for posting.

But I bet you that the guys underway had no choice. Notice there is some equipment mounted on the mast where in the museum the Coast Guard Ensign is mounted. Why take a chance of the ensign fouling up in the equipment and causing a malfunction? I think they did what effective military guys do: they adapted and moved on.

Also, I read some very valuable advice on the Canadian government protocol page. It said that as regards protocol, the most valuable concept is adaptation. Better to change the flag protocol than interrupt whatever that equipment is doing.

Rules of etiquette and protocol are guidelines. They do not spell out every last situation that can come up in life.

 


 Correction: In an ongoing process of delivering to you further information as I learn it, take a look at this email I received from a visitor to this site. Thanks a million sir for sharing this valuable information:
>>In one of your answers regarding the flying of the American flag on a gaff at a yacht club, you stated you were not aware why the gaff is the position of honor. You surmised it might be because the gaff was in the lead when the boat moved forward. That is really not quite correct.

As a sailor, past commodore of a sailing club ,and a stickler for correct flag display, may I suggest that the "gaff" is on the rear (or aft) end of the ship. It was the naval custom from ancient times that a very large flag would be carried there and many pictorial renditions of fighting sailing ships show the flag. The position of honor therefore is from a staff at the stern of a ship.

When yacht clubs put up a mast with a gaff on it, the gaff is always on the side opposite the water and represents the staff at the stern of a ship. The mast will extend higher, but is NOT the place of honor, the gaff is. So the flag is flown from the gaff.

There is a very good explanation in a book well know to sailors, "Chapman Piloting & Seamanship"
Thank you for your questions and answers section that spreads so much information to us.
J. O. H., M. D.<<

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Flag Precedence: POW/MIA Flag With State Flags

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.<


Answer: The US Flag Code is silent on the POW flag specifically or on the matter of state flags taking precedence over non US flags. So I find no help there. It only establishes that the US flag takes first position. Both the US Army and US Air Force regulations put state flags ahead of all armed forces flags. Both those regulations, found on our flag etiquette page, place only the US flag, foreign flags, and, in the case of the Army, The US President's flag ahead of state flags. Those armed forces place all other flags after state flags. Yes, according to those regulations, the flag of North Korea takes precedence ahead of New York or The United States Marine Corps.

Keep in mind that military rules of flag usage are not binding on civilians. But I find them a logical guide. Ultimately the matter is left up to the conscience of the individual. One last variable: some states may have their own rules or even laws concerning flag display. Your state Attorney General might respond to such an inquiry.

It seems to me, that in the eyes of the US Air Force and the US Army, a state flag takes precedence ahead of the POW flag.
Other info about POW flag precedence
Does this help?

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POW Flag: Size and pole

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.

National League of Families POW/MIA flag US Code title 36

That code does say "(f) Display To Be in a Manner Visible to the Public.— Display of the POW/MIA flag pursuant to this section shall be in a manner designed to ensure visibility to the public. "

Many questions of flag etiquette are simply not dealt with in the codes. Ask the person on your staff what his source is. He likely does not have a source. That having been said, perception is reality. Many people think a second flag must be smaller than the US flag. Those people may think you are doing it wrong unless you make the POW flag smaller. At my business, the POW flag is below the US flag on the same pole, and it is smaller.

Here is what The Institute of Heraldry says about it.. The Institute answers questions regarding flag usage in The US Army.:

"DISPLAY OF THE POW/MIA FLAG. Display of this flag is covered by Section 902, Title 36 of the United States Code. The POW/MIA flag should be flown beneath the flag of the United States, if displayed on the same pole. The US Code does not address display of the POW/MIA flag with organizational flags. The order of display would therefore be at the discretion of the organization."

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Position: Flag Placement Flags On Buildings

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 this problem?
>

Answer: You can put it where ever you want. The Flag Code only says where to place the flag relative to other flags. So if you were putting up two or three poles, it says where to put the US flag in relation to the others. It does not spell out a correct or incorrect position on or near a building when it is displayed by itself. I would put it where it looks best.

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.

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CARS: How to position flags on cars

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.

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How to retire worn out flags:

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?
Does the decal deserve the same disposal etiquette as an actual flag? How about a lapel pin? Or those very small flags that some people fly on their cars? Thanks, T.H. Elkhart, Indiana

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.

To me personally I make a distinction between fabric and metal. I consider the small car flags or small flags on sticks still to be flags worthy of not being simply thrown away. I consider flags on postage stamps or printed in the newspaper not to be flags for retirement ceremony purposes and able to be just thrown away. You can bet that every day in Congress, The White House and The Pentagon they also simply throw in the garbage images of flags printed on paper. I would consider flag decals to be in the category of postage stamps and paper products.

Same thing with metal. I would not consider a flag pin or any other rigid material to constitute a flag for this purpose. If the standard were to give ANY representation of a flag the same retirement standard we give to the flags we fly on poles, would the activity still have meaning? Can you imagine millions of us every day busy sorting out every paper image of a flag that we come across? If we were to really sort out every postage stamp, worn out decal, newspaper image, photograph and on and on, would the activity still have meaning?

Not in my mind. But again, until some definitive list appears in The Flag Code that gives us guidance for many thousands of items that may portray a flag, we are all left to decide the matter for ourselves. But that is why we live in The United States of America. One important point: Your state may have laws regarding this matter.

If you want to include more rather than fewer items, there certainly is no fault in it.
As with most answers to flag etiquette questions, there is no one answer. I hope this response helps. Does it?

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Pole Ornaments

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?

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Funeral Flags

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.

So, the suggestion for funeral flags: Contact your local Boy Scout Troop and let them have them for training purposes!>>

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.

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Next of Kin

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

Answer: I am sorry for your losses. I am also sorry to tell you, but there is no answer to be found in The US Flag Code. That is the code that is meant to be a guide for civilians. It is silent on who gets the flag from a funeral. There just is no protocol known to me that addresses this exact situation. You might study the Army Regulation 840 found on West Point's Protocol Office web site and linked from our own etiquette page. The relevant section only states that the "The internment flag may be given to the next of kin at the conclusion of the internment." Even that regulation does not specify how it is decided who shall be the next of kin. It also states who even gets to have a flag on the coffin at a military funeral. Pardon my ignorance, but my understanding is that a general discharge is less than an honorable one. The army regulation does not apply to civilians who are free to do as they wish. But maybe their regulation provides some kind of guidance for you. The Army Regulation does say the flag goes to the next of kin. That current next of kin in your own family chain of those who have had the stewardship of this flag has made her decision. However, what you have is a family matter that will require more insight and guidance than I can provide. What would be an injustice to your Dad's record I can hardly say. I wonder what your Dad would say. If you could all divine that which his intent would be, you would have your answer. Your situation calls for an answer that any code or regulation can not have anticipated. I am afraid I do know know that the answer is, or if there even is one. Does any of this information help?

Here is what Army regulations say about the matter of military funerals

>>
i. Lowering and folding.
(1) While the flag of the United States is being lowered from the
staff and folded, no portion of it should be allowed to touch the
ground. The flag should be folded in the triangular shape of a
cocked hat. (See fig 2-10).
(2) For the ceremonies of hoisting and lowering, see FM 22-5.
j. At military funerals.
(1) The internment flag covers the casket at the military funeral
of any of the following:
(a) Members of the active military force.
(b) Members of the Army National Guard.
(c) Members of the Army Reserve.
(d) Honorably discharged veterans.
(e) Retired military personnel.
(2) On a closed casket, the flag will be placed lengthwise, with
the union at the head and over the left shoulder of the deceased.
When a full-couch casket is opened, the flag will be removed,
folded to the triangular shape of a cocked hat and placed in the lid
at the head end of the casket and just above the decedent’s left
shoulder. When a half-couch casket is opened, the flag will be
folded on the lower half of the casket in the same relative position
as when displayed full length on a closed casket. The flag will not
be lowered into the grave, and it will not be allowed to touch the
ground. The internment flag may be given to the next of kin at the
conclusion of the internment. (See figs 2-11 and 2-12).

Here is what is required of the Department of Defense in the rendering of military funeral honors for veterans and as codified in :Title 10, Chapter 75, Section 1491, U.S.C:       Military Funeral Honors

>>(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.<<

 

 

FUNERAL FLAGS

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

CLICK TO ENLARGE

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Presenting Flags: Only for military?

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

§ 7. Position and manner of display

(n) 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.

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
§ 5. Display and use of flag by civilians; codification of rules and customs; definition

The following codification of existing rules and customs pertaining to the display and use of the flag of the United States of America is established for the use of such civilians or civilian groups or organizations as may not be required to conform with regulations promulgated by one or more executive departments of the Government of the United States.<<

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.

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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.

The flag is for all who love it. Ask anyone who tells you otherwise to show you the source of this supposed prohibition.

The answer is right in the very code you are reading. That code was written FOR CIVILIANS. Don't believe me? Fair enough. Then just read The Code and believe it.

Accompanying the 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. It was heart breaking because the widow dearly wanted a flag on the coffin. 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. They merely had to READ THE CODE.

In fact, the flag code specifically instructs us how to do so:

TITLE 4 > CHAPTER 1 > § 7

§ 7. Position and manner of display

(n) 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.

BUT HEY AL, THERE IS NOTHING THERE THAT SAYS CIVILIANS MAY BE GIVEN THAT HONOR!!!

Oh yes there is! Just read The Code. 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 itself. It simply tells you so at the very beginning. Just read it.

>>TITLE 4 > CHAPTER 1 > § 5
§ 5. Display and use of flag by civilians; codification of rules and customs; definition

The following codification of existing rules and customs pertaining to the display and use of the flag of the United States of America is established for the use of such civilians or civilian groups or organizations as may not be required to conform with regulations promulgated by one or more executive departments of the Government of the United States.<<

So, there you have it where The Flag Code is telling you that everything in it is meant to explain to civilians how to use, treat and display their flags. The Flag Code meant to guide civilians does not contain within it detailed instructions how do drape a coffin with a flag if civilians are prohibited to have a flag on their coffin.

Now of course, the armed forces each has their own flag regulations. These incorporate The Flag Code and then go into way way more detail. If you are in the Army, you do it Army way. The different armed forces have conflicting rules within their respective codes. If you work for the Department of Defense or The State Department, your department surely has lots of its own flag regulations.

HOWEVER, if you are a civilian, then the very Flag Code itself tells you that it 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!
 

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.

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Question: 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 United States of America…” and continued to state the honor of his service. Are these words standardized, and if so, where can we get a copy? Thank you. K.S. MS.

Answer: Air Force Honor Guard Basic Protocol, Honors and Ceremonies Gives the answer:

5.3.2.9. NCOIC/OIC hands off flag to next of kin, says the message of condolence, and renders
slow salute.

5.5.3.14. The NCOIC/OIC presents the flag to the next of kin and recites the message of
condolence, followed by a slow salute to the flag and departure.

5.5.3.15. The message of condolence is; On behalf of the President of the United States, the Department of the Air Force, and a grateful nation, we offer this flag for the faithful and dedicated service of (state service members rank and name).

 

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:

"The fringe does not appear to be regarded as an integral part of the flag, and its presence cannot be said to constitute an unauthorized additional to the design prescribed by statute. An external fringe is to be distinguished from letters, words, or emblematic designs printed or superimposed upon the body of the flag itself. Under the law, such additions might be open to objection as unauthorized; but the same is not necessarily true of the fringe."

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.”)<<<

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Flag Myths

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.  I 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.
X.X. Veteran U.S.A.F>>   

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.


I was recently told that it's illegal to re-sell a used US flag. True or false?: False. Ask whomever told you that the source of the information. US flags are re-sold all the time at yard sales, antique shops and at auction. I have never heard even one inkling of a notion that the practice is illegal. There is not one slight of anything related to reselling US flags in The Flag Code. I have never heard of any state or local law to that effect.

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Pledge of Alegiance: Demeanor
 

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:

    "The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag: “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”, should be rendered by standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. When not in uniform men should remove any non-religious headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should remain silent, face the flag, and render the military salute."

The Flag Code does not prohibit holding anything in hand. The Flag Code is intended as a model of conduct for civilians who are not governed by other codes. For example, each branch of the armed forces has more detailed regulations that may differ from the above code which intended for civilians.

I would ask the person who gave you that information to also give you its source. A common response is 'that is how we did it in the Army, the Navy, etc." That may be. But if you are in a civilian organization, you are governed by the US Flag Code.
There is one further point. Every state has flag laws. Check with your state's Attorney General.

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Repairing Flags

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 condition..

Answer: Thanks for asking. Yes, it is entirely proper flag etiquette to repair flags. It is done all the time with US flags. We call it a "cut and re-hem repair." It becomes a judgment call about how short to make the flag and still have it look good. A stitch in time saves nine. Repairing small tatters can prevent them from becoming foot long tears. Nothing in The Flag Code forbids it. In fact, maintaining your flags is a way of showing respect.

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.

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Flag Patch:

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 organization vest:
- How and which side would you display a Flag patch on the front of a vest?
- Based on the information in your Q & A section referencing Flags on a uniform - "Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart". - Would the correct answer be - a Flag
replica patch worn on the front of a garment would be placed on the left side with the stripes pointed toward the outside of the clothing and the stars closest to the heart - Is that correct?  THANKS for your information and help making sure our Flag is properly displayed and cared for! PZ, Wyoming

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.
Much of the time situations are left up to our own discretion. Also, much of the time we are left to draw a logical conclusion based on some clue the code gives to some similar situation. That is often all you can do. This is one of those times.
Assuming this is for civilian use and not active duty use, I would give the exact solution you suggest. IF the question were applied to active duty military then that service branch's own military flag regs would apply. Each branch has its own regs and they often differ with each other!
As regards flag patches, I agree with  your solution to place the patch on the left breast with the stars in the upper left corner of the patch. Here is what the Institute of Heraldry says about patches

The following text is quoted verbatim from the FAQ section on The Institute of Heraldry web site.

PATCH

WEAR OF THE AMERICAN FLAG PATCH.

- The US Code states "no part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart."

-The US Code does not address the positioning of the flag patch. It is appropriate to wear an American flag patch on the left or right sleeve. When worn on the left sleeve, the union would appear towards the front and the stripes would run horizontally toward the back. When worn on the right sleeve, it is considered proper to reverse the design so that the union is at the observer’s right to suggest that the flag is flying in the breeze as the wearer moves forward.

- Since the law does not specifically address the positioning of the patch, a decision is left to the discretion of the organization prescribing the wear. As many states and cities have ordinances pertaining to the use of the flag, you may wish to contact the Attorney General of your state or the City Attorney’s office regarding this matter.

WEAR OF THE FLAG PATCH BY ARMY PERSONNEL. HQDA policy has been changed to authorize all soldiers throughout the force permanent wear of the full-color U.S. Flag cloth replica (approximately 2"x3") on utility uniforms. The patch is worn on BDUs, Desert BDUs, the Maternity BDU, the Cold Weather Coat (Field Jacket), Aircrew Battle Dress Uniform, and the Combat Vehicle Crewman Uniform and Jacket (Cold Weather). DA policy states that the patch will be sewn 1/2 inch below the right shoulder seam of the utility uniform. When the shoulder sleeve insignia-former wartime service (SSI-FWTS) is worn on the right shoulder of the utility uniform, the U.S. Flag insignia is placed 1/8 inch below the SSI-FWTS. The cloth replica is worn so that the star field faces forward or to the flag's own right. When worn on the right sleeve, it is considered proper to reverse the design so that the union is at the observer's right to suggest that the flag is flying in the breeze as the wearer moves forward.

RIGHT HAND PATCH http://www.usapa.army.mil/pdffiles/r670_1.pdf

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Flag Patch: On non uniform garments

Question: Mr. Cavalari, Thanks for the useful information on your web site. I'd like to get your opinion on an issue of flag etiquette, please.

I'd like to wear a U.S. flag patch on the left breast panel of a jacket as a sign of patriotism. I'm a veteran, and current member of a patriotic organization, but the jacket is not part of an official uniform. Nor, on the other hand, is it a costume or athletic uniform. The intended wearing doesn't meet the strict language of the Code. What are your thoughts? Thanks. John
 

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 code says:

"No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart." (U.S. Code, Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 8(j))

The flag code does not prohibit displaying a patch on a garment. It does advise against putting one on "costumes or athletic uniforms." Your jacket is neither of those things. The Flag Code does say that a flag pin should be worn "near the heart". To my mind, a flag patch in your use use is as appropriate being worn on your left breast near your heart as would be the flag pin. A flag pin on your suit jacket is clearly appropriate under the code. It seems to me that a flag patch on your leisure jacket is similarly appropriate.

Nothing in The Flag Code says you must put a patch on the shoulder of a garment. That position seems correct to us because it is the most common position. There are various military regulations which determine where the patch must go on those military uniforms. But those regulations apply only to those respective branches of the military. They differ between the different branches themselves and they may differ from those of other non military organizations such as police departments. They do not apply to civilians anyway. The Flag Code is meant specifically as a guide for civilians.

 

Flag Patch: On athletic uniforms
 

Question: L.S. wrote:

> Hello,
> I was searching the web for info. and found your very informative site. I am a vet of the gulf war and I love to fly my flag, display my patriotism, and support our troops! My question is about patches and stickers. I read about "not used in athletic uniforms" and wondered about the Olympics and such. Are all such uses wrong? I would love to sew some on my jerseys, bowling shirts, etc., but not at the expense of being disrespectful. As a civilian, how do I show the proper respect and still display my love for this great symbol of our country.
Thanks in advance, God Bless the US
L. S.

Answer: Sir: Sorry for the bad delay. I was away. You raise a good point. Here is what the code says:
>>No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart. <<

As is typical in many areas of the code, it has a problem with vague and confusing language. I read it to say not to put a patch on an athletic uniform. Or is it making a distinction between a flag patch and "part of the flag."? If it is making a distinction, does it say not to put a "part of a flag" on an athletic uniform but a flag patch would be OK? Or is it saying not to use a flag "AS" an athletic uniform but it is OK to affix a flag patch to an athletic uniform? The Flag Code often creates as many questions as it answers.

You are correct. The US Olympic team does it all the time.

Keep in mind, The Flag Code is NOT a law. It is a set of suggested guidelines for civilians and attaches no penalties. It is a suggested protocol. A Canadian flag protocol officer once said that the most important aspect of protocol is adaptability. Keep in mind also, that if you put a patch on your athletic uniform, the day will come when someone tells you it is wrong and is a violation of the code. I am sorry, but there is no clear cut answer. I wish I could give you something better on which to stand. The code is weak in its explanation of this matter.

The safest course would be NOT to put a patch on an athletic uniform.

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.
§ 7. Position and manner of display
(b) The flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle or of a railroad train or a boat. When the flag is displayed on a motorcar, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.

The code is silent regarding motorcycles in particular. I think it reasonable to extend it's meaning to include any type of vechicle be it a horse drawn wagon or motorcycle. The context of this subsection § 7 is to speak of vehicles, be they boats or trains or motorcars, as having no distinction for the purpose at hand.

The code makes no exceptions depending on from where the flag is viewed. The flag will almost always be viewed incorrectly from some viewer's standpoint. The way I read the code, the operative instruction puts the US flag on the vehicle's RIGHT side no matter where one might stand as the vehicle passes by. Even a bike has a left and right side. I would put it on the BIKE's right side. The Code can not place the flag in the position of honor as it will be seen from every viewer at once. So, just as with flags placed on a stage, The Code settles the question based on the flag's own right. As the flag moves forward in a parade, The Flag's own right is also your bike's right fender.

To sum up, flag placement is from the point of view of Old Glory, not the point of view of the viewer.

Keep in mind that the Flag Code can not anticipate every circumstance. Well meaning individuals may come to different conclusions regarding its meaning. As well, The Code is not a law. It is a suggested set of protocol measures. What do you say?>>
 

MOUNTING A FLAG CASE ON A MOTORCYCLE

> Hello,
> First of all, you have a great site!  What sticks in my mind about your business is that its what I call ol-fashioned-hi-tech. The best of both worlds. Usually, you can find a convenient -impersonal site online, or on the contrary, you can find an inconvenient down-home type store around town. You guys fill the narrow niche of offering both. Just the consideration that you put into the notations of your store hours speaks volumes about your business ethics. I like that. I'm e-mailing to ask you  some important questions regarding displaying a funeral/burial flag....
> On Pearl Harbor Day in 2001, my grandfather passed away. He was an Army soldier during WWII. My father, of course was given the  flag. He himself is a Vietnam Veteran and participates yearly in the "Rolling Thunder" motorcycle parade. If you are not familiar, it involves 500,000 motorcyclists rolling through DC every Memorial Day weekend in honor of Veterans and especially POW/MIA's. My father commented once on considering taking my grandfathers flag with him on  the ride. I am a machinist. I am planning on making a chromed aluminum flag case for the burial flag of my grandfather to fit onto my father's motorcycle. It will be located where the passengers backrest normally is. I am making brackets and mounting rods so that the unseen back side of the flag case will double as a backrest as well. I am planning on sealing every seam with an "O" ring material from the inside so as not to be visible. It will have a plexiglass front for viewing and inboard mounted LED's for illumination @ night. I am also planning on engraving an "In Memory" section on the 25" leg of the case; probably his name, rank, DOB and DOD. Needless to say, it will be an awesome case, but my main concerns are as follows.

>1. Is the overall idea disrespectful?

My Answer: There is a link to the text of The Flag Code on our etiquette page. I see nothing in there that would indicate your idea is 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: The code simply does not address any point this specific. At any rate, whenever a flag is in a case only part of the union is ever visible.

> 3. Is there some sort of taboo about having a flag in a metal case?

My Answer: None known to me.

> 4. Is the lighting disrespectful? (Thought about the rule of never leaving a flag @ night unless lit.)

My Answer: I see nothing in the code that would consider the lights disrespectful. I appreciate your concern in getting it right. The fine points you raise were not anticipated when they wrote the code. Sorry I can not be more specific.

Flags At Night: Spotlight?

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

(a) 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 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.


The code makes no distinction between residential and non residential settings. The code is silent on the meaning of "properly illuminated." Here is what The American Legion says on its web site regarding that point:

"The American Legion interprets " proper illumination" as a light specifically placed to illuminate the flag (preferred) or having a light source sufficient to illuminate the flag so it is recognizable as such by the casual observer."

Flags At Night: Stick Flags

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:
"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 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness."

The Code does not say what "properly illuminated" means. The American Legion says illuminated is to be defined as "having a light source sufficient to illuminate the flag so it is recognizable as such by the casual observer." It must also be observed that nation wide millions of flags are placed on graves and monuments where there is no illumination. Arlington puts out a couple hundred thousand on memorial day. They do not take them in at night.

Keep in mind that The Flag Code is a set of recommendations. There are numerous situations the code does not address and could not possibly have addressed. Context is everything. Is Arlington National Cemetery and is the WWII widow who puts a stick flag on a grave to be left out at night being disrespectful? Each of us is free to answer that question according to the dictates of his or her conscience. Maybe it is very American that we do not have every facet of life spelled out for us by the government. In situations as these, I always ask myself "If the flag could speak, what would she say?"

You are a Navy man. I am always moved by the WWII documentaries I see of shot up ships that are only just barely still afloat whose shot up flag is still flying by moonlight. Maybe the busy sailors just could not get around to taking it in. Or maybe the flag said "don't you dare take me in tonight."

Take a look at the field of flags shown on this page:

http://flagguys.com/amer.html

Those did not come in at night either.

I hope this information helps. Thanks for your interest, for your service and for loving our flag.

Flags At Night: Lighting flags in a dark room

Question: J.B. 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

 

Flags In Parades: What Leads?

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.

 

Folds in a Flag: What is the meaning?

Question: My mother sent this to me and I was wondering if it is fact or fiction?

Have you ever noticed the honor guard pays meticulous attention to correctly folding the United States of America Flag 13 times? You probably thought it was to symbolize the original 13 colonies, but we learn something new every day!

The 1st fold of the flag is a symbol of life.

The 2ndfold is a symbol of the belief in eternal life.

The 3rd fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing the ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of the country to attain peace throughout the world.

The 4th fold represents the weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.

The 5th fold is a tribute to the country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, 'Our Country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong.'

The 6th fold is for where people's hearts lie. It is with their heart that They pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States Of America, and the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

The 7th fold is a tribute to its Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that they protect their country and their flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of their republic.

The 8th fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day.

The 9th fold is a tribute to womanhood, and Mothers. For it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.

The 10th fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of their country since they were first born.

The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies in the Hebrews eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the Christians eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.

The 13th fold, or when the flag is completely folded, the stars are! uppermost reminding them of their nations motto, 'In God We Trust.'

Answer: There are various meanings attributed to the folds and I have seen various versions of these kinds of meanings. 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.

They are not facts because they are not codified in law as is the number of stars and stripes. Those are specifications that are facts which can be looked up. It is a fact that the flag has 13 stripes because Congress said so in 1775 when it passed the resolution creating the flag. So, no, the things written above are not facts. But they are not fictional as long as anyone chooses to find meaning in them. It would be fiction to describe them as facts. You will see in the Air Force publication quoted below that various organizations have given various meanings to the folds. None of them are wrong but none of them are facts.

They are a kind of poetry, they are symbolism. We are Americans and it is our birth right to assign meaning to symbols however we see fit.

USAF HONOR GUARD BASIC PROTOCOL, HONORS, AND CEREMONIES L5AZO8G000-001
And L5AZK8G000-002 has the most detailed description on how to fold the flag that I have ever seen. It is pages long and very technical. It is the training manual for the Air Force funeral detail. It assigns no meaning to the folds.

Air Force publication AIR FORCE INSTRUCTION 34-1201 4 OCTOBER 2006 discusses the handling and display of the flag in every imaginable detail. Here is what it says about the folds having meaning:

"2.15. According to Title 4, United States Code, there is no specific meaning assigned to the folds of the flag. Although there are flag folding ceremony options offered by various national interest groups, these are not official Air Force ceremonies. The Air Force developed a script which provides an historical perspective on the flag. There are no ceremonies in the Air Force requiring a script to be read when the flag is folded. However, when a flag folding ceremony is desired and conducted
by the honor guard, this script is the only one which may be used. See Attachment 4 for this script and a
diagram depicting the proper method for folding the flag of the United States."

The script is a very nice patriotic narrative about the meaning and importance of the flag in general but it attaches no meaning to the folds.

This explanation does not mean that some organization or maybe one of the other services may assign meaning to the folds. I have not looked at the regulations of the other services in this regard. If an organization assigns meanings to each fold, then it is a fact for that organization. There is no universal meaning to the folds which is factual. By definition, it is a universal fact that the stars are white and the field is blue. The folds have no such definition.

Because we are Americans, we are free to assign meanings to the folds.

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.
 

(d) SUPPORT.

(1) To support a funeral honors detail under this section, the Secretary of a military department may provide the following:
     (A) For a person who participates in the funeral honors detail (other than a person who is a member of the armed forces not in a retired status or an employee of the United States), either transportation (or reimbursement for transportation) and expenses or the daily stipend prescribed under paragraph (2).
     (B) For members of a veterans organization or other organization referred to in subsection (b)(2) and for members of the armed forces in a retired status, materiel, equipment and training.

     (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 detail.

(2) The Secretary of Defense shall prescribe annually a flat rate daily stipend for purposes of paragraph (1) (A). Such stipend shall be set at a rate so as to encompass typical costs for transportation and other miscellaneous expenses for persons participating in funeral honors details who are members of the armed forces in a retired status and other persons who are not members of the armed forces or employees of the United States.

(3) A stipend paid under this subsection to a member of the armed forces in a retired status is in addition to any compensation to which the member is entitled under section 435(a)(2) of title 37 and any other compensation to which the member may be entitled.

(e) WAIVER AUTHORITY. (1) The Secretary of Defense may waive any requirement provided in or pursuant to this section when the Secretary considers it necessary to do so to meet the requirements of war, national emergency, or a contingency operation or other military requirements. The authority to make such a waiver may not be delegated to an official of a military department other than the Secretary of the military department and may not be delegated within the Office of the Secretary of Defense to an official at a level below Under Secretary of Defense.

(2) Before or promptly after granting a waiver under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall transmit a notification of the waiver to the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and House of Representatives.

(f) REGULATIONS. The Secretary of Defense shall prescribe regulations to carry out this section. Those regulations shall include the following:

(1) A system for selection of units of the armed forces and other organizations to provide funeral honors details.
(2) Procedures for responding and coordinating responses to requests for funeral honors details.
 

(3) Procedures for establishing standards and protocol.

(4) Procedures for providing training and ensuring quality of performance.

(g) ANNUAL REPORT. The Secretary of Defense shall submit to the Committee on Armed Services of the Senate and the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives a report not later than January 31 of each year beginning with 2001 and ending with 2005 on the experience of the Department of Defense under this section. Each such report shall provide data on the number of funerals supported under this section, the cost for that support, shown by manpower and other cost factors, and the number and costs of funerals supported by each participating organization. The data in the report shall be presented in a standard format, regardless of military department or other organization.

(h) VETERAN DEFINED. In this section, the term “veteran” means a decedent who –

(1) served in the active military, naval, or air service (as defined in section 101(24) of title 38) and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable; or

(2) was a member or former member of the Selected Reserve described in section 2301(f) of title 38.

Disclaimer

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.

I hereby order that suitable honors be rendered by units of the Armed Forces under orders of the Secretary of Defense.

In a further expression of our national grief, I will appoint in a subsequent proclamation a National Day of Mourning throughout the United States when the American people may assemble in their respective places of worship, there to pay homage to the memory of President Ford.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty seventh day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-first.

GEORGE W. BUSH (Full Text)

Presidential Proclamation Regarding Half Staffing for President Ford

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:

>>December 27, 2006 This is to advise you that the United States Flag and Maryland State Flag will now be flown at half staff for a period of 30 days until sunset on January 24, 2007, in honor of President Gerald R. Ford, the 38th President of the United States, who passed away December 26, 2006.
This action is taken under the Protocol for the Maryland State Flag which dictates that the Maryland flag is never to be flown higher than the flag of the United States. Any question on the above should be directed to the Office of the Secretary of State.<<
 

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
A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

TO THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES:

It is my sad duty to announce officially the death of Gerald R. Ford, the thirty-eighth President of the United States, on December 26, 2006.

President Ford was a great man who devoted the best years of his life to serving the United States of America. He was also a true gentleman who reflected the best in America's character. Before the world knew his name, he served with distinction in the United States Navy and the United States House of Representatives. As a congressman from Michigan, and then as Vice President, he commanded the respect and earned the goodwill of all who had the privilege of knowing him. On August 9, 1974, he stepped into the presidency without having ever sought the office.

During his time in office, the American people came to know President Ford as a man of complete integrity, who led our country with common sense and kind instincts. Americans will always admire Gerald Ford's unflinching performance of duty, the honorable conduct of his Administration, and the great rectitude of the man himself. We mourn the loss of such a leader, and our thirty-eighth President will always have a special place in our Nation's memory.

President Ford lived 93 years, and his life was a blessing to America. Now this fine man will be taken to his rest by a family that will love him always and by a Nation that will be grateful to him forever.

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.

I hereby order that suitable honors be rendered by units of the Armed Forces under orders of the Secretary of Defense.

In a further expression of our national grief, I will appoint in a subsequent proclamation a National Day of Mourning throughout the United States when the American people may assemble in their respective places of worship, there to pay homage to the memory of President Ford.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty seventh day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-first.

GEORGE W. BUSH

 

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
A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

Our Nation grieves with those who have lost loved ones at Virginia Tech. We hold the victims in our hearts. We lift them up in our prayers, and we ask a loving God to comfort those who are suffering.

As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on Monday, April 16, 2007, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order 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, Sunday, April 22, 2007. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time 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 seventeenth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-first.

GEORGE W. BUSH

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
A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

As a mark of respect for the memory of Lady Bird Johnson, I hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, that on the day of her interment, 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 such day. I also 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.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twelfth day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-second.

GEORGE W. BUSH

 

DEATH OF SENATOR EDWARD M. KENNEDY

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION
Senator Edward M. Kennedy was not only one of the greatest senators of our time, but one of the most accomplished Americans ever to serve our democracy. Over the past half-century, nearly every major piece of legislation that has advanced the civil rights, health, and economic well-being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts. With his passing, an important chapter in our American story has come to an end.
As a mark of respect for the memory of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, I hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and 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 August 30, 2009. I also direct that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff until sunset on the day of his interment. I further direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same periods 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 twenty-sixth day of August, 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.

BARACK OBAMA

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 President
Any rule or custom pertaining to the display of the flag of the United States of America, set forth herein, may be altered, modified, or repealed, or additional rules with respect thereto may be prescribed, by the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, whenever he deems it to be appropriate or desirable; and any such alteration or additional rule shall be set forth in a proclamation.

 

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 12, 2010 Presidential Proclamation -- Honoring the Victims of the West Virginia Mine Disaster
A PROCLAMATION

As a mark of respect for the memory of those who perished in the mine explosion in Montcoal, West Virginia, 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 all public buildings and grounds and at all military facilities and naval stations of the Federal Government in the State of West Virginia until sunset on April 18, 2010.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twelfth day of April, 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.

BARACK OBAMA

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
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
June 30, 2010
                   Presidential Proclamation--Passing of Robert Byrd

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. 

BARACK OBAMA

 

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 up: 6/28/2010 
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Gov. Joe Manchin has ordered all U.S. and state flags displayed at state facilities to be lowered in commemoration of the distinguished life and service of U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd.

 

 

Half Staff flags until sunset January 14 in honor of the Arizona shooting victims

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 09, 2011 Presidential Proclamation--Honoring the Victims of the Tragedy in Tucson, Arizona
As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on Saturday, January 8, 2011, in Tucson, Arizona, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order 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, January 14, 2011. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time 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
ninth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.

BARACK OBAMA

 

 

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary        For Immediate Release July 20,2012

HONORING THE VICTIMS OF THE TRAGEDY IN AURORA, COLORADO

- - - - - - -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on July 20, 2012, in Aurora, Colorado, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order 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, July 25, 2012. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time 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 twentieth day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

BARACK OBAMA
 

 

 

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary         For Immediate Release August 06, 2012

Presidential Proclamation--Honoring the Victims of the Tragedy in Oak Creek, Wisconsin
HONORING THE VICTIMS OF THE TRAGEDY IN OAK CREEK, WISCONSIN

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on August 5, 2012, in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order 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, August 10, 2012. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time 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 sixth day of August, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

BARACK OBAMA

 

For Immediate Release September 12, 2012
Presidential Proclamation -- Honoring the Victims of the Attack in Benghazi, Libya
HONORING THE VICTIMS OF THE ATTACK IN BENGHAZI, LIBYA

- - - - - - -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

As a mark of respect for the memory of John Christopher Stevens, United States Ambassador to Libya, and American personnel killed in the senseless attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order 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, September 16, 2012. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time 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 twelfth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

BARACK OBAMA

 

For Immediate Release
December 14, 2012
Presidential Proclamation -- Honoring the Victims of the Shooting in Newtown, Connecticut


HONORING THE VICTIMS OF THE TRAGEDY IN NEWTOWN, CONNECTICUT

- - - - - - -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order 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, December 18, 2012. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time 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 fourteenth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

BARACK OBAMA

 


For Immediate Release April 16, 2013

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

Presidential Proclamation -- Honoring the victims of the tragedy in Boston, Massachusetts
HONORING THE VICTIMS OF THE TRAGEDY IN BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS

- - - - - - -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on April 15, 2013, in Boston, Massachusetts, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order 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, April 20, 2013. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time 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 sixteenth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

BARACK OBAMA

 

 

 

 

HALF STAFF FLAGS UNTIL SUNSET Friday September 20 as a mark of respect for the victims of the Washington Navy Yard shooting:

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release September 16, 2013
Honoring the Victims of the Tragedy at the Washington Navy Yard
HONORING THE VICTIMS OF THE TRAGEDY AT THE WASHINGTON NAVY YARD

--------

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on September 16, 2013, at the Washington Navy Yard, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order 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, September 20, 2013. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time 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 sixteenth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.

 

 

There are TWO Half-Staffings:

For Nelson Mandela until sunset on December 9th 2013

For Pearl Harbor from sunrise to sunset on December 7th 2013

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
As a mark of respect for the memory of Nelson Mandela, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, I hereby order 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, December 9, 2013. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time 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 fifth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.

BARACK OBAMA


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, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim December 7, 2013, as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. I encourage all Americans to observe this solemn day of remembrance and to honor our military, past and present, 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 American patriots who died as a result of their service at Pearl Harbor.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.

BARACK OBAMA

 

 

Half Staff on 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. 

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
Office of the Press Secretary
___________________________________________________________________________
For Immediate Release                                                 September 10, 2009
PATRIOT DAY AND NATIONAL DAY OF SERVICE AND REMEMBRANCE, 2009
- - - - - - -
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION

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.

BARACK OBAMA

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
Office of the Press Secretary
___________________________________________________________________
For Immediate Release November 6, 2009
Honoring the Victims of the Tragedy at Fort Hood, Texas
- - - - - - -
By The President of the United States of America
A Proclamation
Our Nation's thoughts and prayers are with the service members, civilians, and families affected by the tragic events at Fort Hood, Texas. The brave victims, who risked their lives to protect their fellow countrymen, serve as a constant source of strength and inspiration to all Americans. We ask God to watch over the fallen, the wounded, and all those who are suffering at this difficult hour.

As a mark of respect honoring the victims of the tragedy at Fort Hood, Texas, 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, Tuesday, November 10, 2009. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time 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 sixth day of November, 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.

BARACK OBAMA

 

 

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

On December 7, 1941, our Nation was viciously attacked at Pearl Harbor, America's Pacific Fleet was battered and broken, and more than 2,400 American lives were lost. On National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, America honors those brave individuals who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our homeland, and we recognize those veterans who with strength and resolve defended our Nation and advanced the cause of freedom during World War II.

When it mattered most, an entire generation of Americans stepped forward to protect our freedom and to defend liberty. Their devotion to duty and willingness to serve a cause greater than self helped secure our future and our way of life. Liberty prevailed because of the sacrifice of these courageous patriots, and America and her allies preserved a world where democracy could flourish. Our Nation remains forever in the debt of these brave Americans.

From the unprovoked attack at Pearl Harbor grew a steadfast resolve that has made America a defender of freedom around the world, and our mission continues as our men and women in uniform serve at home and in distant lands. Today, as we defend our Nation's founding ideals, we pay special tribute to those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor, honor our veterans of World War II, and celebrate the liberty that makes America a lasting symbol of hope to the world.

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, 2007, 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, 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.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-second.

GEORGE W. BUSH

 

National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, 2008
A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America Dec. 5 2008


On National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, we mourn the more than 2,400 Americans whose lives were lost in the surprise attack on our homeland that changed the course of history. Their service and sacrifice and the service and sacrifice of all our World War II veterans will be forever honored on this day by the citizens of a free and grateful Nation.

On December 7, 1941, the enemy nearly destroyed our Pacific Fleet, and the United States was forced into a long and terrible war. A generation of Americans stepped forward to fight for our country. Their message to America's enemies was clear: If you attack this country and harm our people, there is no corner of the Earth remote enough to protect you from the reach of our Nation's Armed Forces.

Following the war the United States worked to make our most bitter enemies into our closest friends through the transformative power of freedom. The joys of liberty are often secured by the sacrifices of those who serve a cause greater than self. To honor and recognize the sacrifice of our Armed Forces, I have designated nine sites as the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. This monument will preserve our history and help share this heritage with future generations. On this anniversary, we honor the heroes who risked and lost their lives for our security and freedom. Their selfless dedication exemplifies the great character of America and continues to inspire our Nation.

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.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.

GEORGE W. BUSH
 

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Presidential Proclamation 3044

DATE: 03-01-54

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



WHEREAS it is appropriate that the flag of the United States of America be flown at half-staff on Federal buildings, grounds, and facilities upon the death of principal officials and former officials of the Government of the United States and the Governors of the States, Territories, and possessions of the United States as a mark of respect to their memory; and

WHEREAS it is desirable that rules be prescribed for the uniform observance of this mark of respect by all executive departments and agencies of the Government, and as a guide to the people of the Nation generally on such occasions:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, President of the United States of America and Commander in Chief of the armed forces of the United States, do hereby prescribe and proclaim the following rules with respect to the display of the flag of the United States of America at half-staff upon the death of the officials hereinafter designated:


     

  1. The flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions for the period indicated upon the death of any of the following-designated officials or former officials of the United States:

     
    1. The President or a former President: for thirty days from the day of death. The flag shall also be flown at half-staff for such period at all United States embassies, legations, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

       
    2. The Vice President, the Chief Justice or a retired Chief Justice of the United States, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives: for ten days from the day of death.

       
    3. An Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, a member of the Cabinet, a former Vice President, the President pro tempore of the Senate, the Majority Leader of the Senate, the Minority Leader of the Senate, the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, or the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives: from the day of death until interment.
      [Sec. 1 amended by Proc. 3948 of Dec. 12, 1969, 34 FR 19699, 3 CFR, 1966 - 1970 Comp., p. 446]


     

  2. The flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels of the Federal Government in the metropolitan area of the District of Columbia on the day of death and on the following day upon the death of a United States Senator, Representative, Territorial Delegate, or the Resident Commissioner from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and it shall also be flown at half-staff on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels of the Federal Government in the State, Congressional District, Territory, or Commonwealth of such Senator, Representative, Delegate, or Commissioner, respectively, from the day of death until interment.

     
  3. The flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff on all buildings and grounds of the Federal Government in a State, Territory, or possession of the United States upon the death of the Governor of such State, Territory, or possession from the day of death until interment.

     
  4. In the event of the death of other officials, former officials, or foreign dignitaries, the flag of the United States shall be displayed at half-staff in accordance with such orders or instructions as may be issued by or at the direction of the President, or in accordance with recognized customs or practices not inconsistent with law.

     
  5. The heads of the several departments and agencies of the Government may direct that the flag of the United States be flown at half-staff on buildings, grounds, or naval vessels under their jurisdiction on occasions other than those specified herein which they consider proper, and that suitable military honors be rendered as appropriate.


    The provisions of Proclamation 3044 of Mar. 1, 1954, appear at 19 FR 1235,
    3 CFR, 1954 - 1958 Comp., p. 4, unless otherwise noted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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