There's no better way to show your patriotism than with our country's stars and stripes — especially on Memorial Day weekend. (Do you know the meaning of Memorial Day? Read up on the history of Memorial Day for a quick refresher.) Whether you hang the American flag from your porch or plant it in your front yard, it's an easy way to showcase your gratitude and appreciation for the incredible freedoms we enjoy each and every day in the U.S.
But even if you have the best of intentions when raising that flag, you'll still want to be sure that your actions reflect an understanding of the United States Flag Code (test your flag knowledge with these 15 fun American flag facts!). That's where our guide to proper flag etiquette comes in: This quick, easy-to-understand rundown of all the rules and regulations associated with that important symbol will undoubtedly come in handy this summer, whether you'll be raising the flag for Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, or just because.
After all, when it comes to our celebrating our great nation—and the most beautiful places in the U.S.—no detail is too small.
How to Display the American Flag
When displayed with another flag cross-staff against a wall, place the U.S. flag in front of the other flag and to the viewer's left with the union at the peak of the staff.
When displayed on an angled staff from a window or the front a building, the union should be placed at the peak of the staff.
When hung horizontally or vertically against a wall or in a window, the flag must be flat and allowed to hang freely without folds, and the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right (the viewer's left).
No state or city flag may be placed above or to the flag's right (the viewer's left) of the United States flag. Flags of other nations are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height.
The U.S. flag should be at the center and highest point in any groupings of flags displayed from staffs.
If displayed after dark, the flag must be lit. Without proper lighting, the flag may only be displayed from sunrise to sunset.
On vehicles, the flag should be fixed to the front right fender, never draped over a vehicle.
Remember: The flag should not be displayed during inclement weather unless it is an all-weather flag.
How to Fold the American Flag
Note: You'll need two people.
Holding the flag waist-level and parallel to the ground, fold the flag in half lengthwise so that the stripes cover the canton (the blue field of stars). Make another lengthwise fold so that the canton is on top.
Fold the bottom striped corner of the flag upward to meet the top, open edge of the flag, forming a triangle.
Continue to fold the flag into triangles, working back and forth toward the canton.
Once you've reached the canton and have about one square's worth of fabric left, fold the opposite end of the flag inward, and fold the canton into a triangle so that you have two triangles end to end. Tuck the end of the smaller triangle under the fabric of the larger, securing the folds in place.
How to Hoist the American Flag
Raise the flag briskly, but lower it slowly and ceremoniously.
On Memorial Day, always fly the flag at half-staff until noon, then raise it.
When flying at half-staff, hoist the flag to the peak for an instant then lower it to a position halfway between the top and bottom.
American Flag "Don'ts"
Don't use the flag as clothing or drapery.
Don't let the flag touch the ground.
Don't place any mark, letter, number, or drawing on the flag.
Don't display a faded, torn, or tattered flag. Synthetic flags can be washed in cold water with mild detergent, while older flags can be hand-washed with Woolite. Flags damaged beyond repair should be disposed of in a dignified manner, such as burning.
Don't put your flag away unfolded.
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