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FLAG FLYING FACTS

GUIDELINES FOR PROPER DISPLAY AND MAINTENANCE

  • It is customary to display the flag from sunrise to sunset. However, if it is displayed after dark, it should be illuminated.
  • The flag should never have anything placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it, any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
  • The flag, when carried in a procession with another flag or flags, should be either on the marching right; that is, to the flag's own right, or if there is a line of other flags, in front and center of that line.
  • The flag of the United States should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags are grouped and displayed from staffs. When the flags are displayed at the same height, the U.S. flag should be on it's own right, or on the left as it appears to the viewer.
  • No other flag or pennant should be placed above the U.S. flag when more than one flag is being flown on a single pole. The only exception is during church services conducted by naval chaplains at sea, for personnel of the navy, in which case the church pennant may be flown above the U.S. flag.
  • In an auditorium or other public speaking forum, the flag should occupy the position of honor at the speaker's right, or on the left as it is seen by the audience. In the same setting, if the flag is to be displayed flat, it should be placed above and behind the speaker. The star field should be uppermost and to the viewer's left.
  • When the U.S. 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.
  • Keep the U.S., and all flags, clean. Dirt is sharp; it cuts fabrics, dulls colors and causes wear. Most outdoor flags can be washed in a mild detergent and thoroughly rinsed. Indoor flags should be dry cleaned.
  • Flag care is related to pole care. Keep your pole in good condition. Rusty, pock marked poles chafe and tear flag fabric and stitching. Rust and scale cause permanent stains.
  • Do not neglect frays on your flag. Watch the corners of the "fly end" of your flag. This is normally the first area to show signs of wear. Trim off the worn hem and re-hem the end. It is perfectly proper, and when done promptly, can greatly extend the life of your flag.
  • What size should my flag be? On a vertical pole, the general rule of thumb is that the long dimension of the flag should be 1/4 to 1/3 the height of the pole.  For example, on a standard 20' residential pole, the most common flag size is 3' x 5'.  The long dimension of the flag, 5', is 1/4 the height of the 20' pole. For a more dazzling display, a 4' x 6' flag could also be flown.  Keep in mind that a larger flag will catch more wind, in general, putting more strain on the halyard on windy days. For a front porch or side-of-house flag display, the usual size is a 3' x 5' flag on a 6' pole.
  • Rig your flag correctly by following the illustration. Remember, keep the strain on the halyard . . . not the flag.

How to rig up a flag image

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