When to Display your Flag
New Year's Day, January 1.
Martin Luther King's Birthday is the Third Monday in January.
Washington's Birthday, February 22.
Mother's Day is Second Sunday in May.
Armed Forces Day, the Third Saturday in May.
Memorial Day (half-staff until noon), Last Monday in May.
Flag Day, June 14.
Independence Day, July 4.
Labor Day is First Monday in September.
Constitution Day, September 17.
Columbus Day, October 12.
Veterans Day, November 11.
Thanksgiving Day, Fourth Thursday in November.
Christmas Day, December 25.
Election Days (various).
Federally observed dates of the above holidays may differ from the actual dates.
Such days as may be proclaimed by the President of the United States.
State and Local Holidays.
Folding the Flag
2. Then fold it in half again.
3. Bring the lower striped corner to the upper edge forming a triangle.
4. Then, fold the upper point in to form another triangle. Continue until the entire length of the flag is folded.
5. When you get near the end - nothing but the blue field showing - tuck the last bit into the other folds to secure it.
WHY IS THE AMERICAN FLAG FOLDED 13 TIMES?
Have you ever noticed on TV or at military funerals that the honor guard pays meticulous attention to correctly folding the American flag 13 times? Each fold of the U.S. flag has a significant meaning. We have verified its accuracy at the U.S. Air Force Academy Web site [go to the main page, then click on "Information," then on "Flags"].
1. The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
2. The second fold symbolizes our belief in eternal life.
3. The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of veterans departing our ranks and who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.
4. The fourth fold represents our weaker nature; for American citizens who trust in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace and in times of war for His divine guidance.
5. The fifth fold is a tribute to our 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."
6. The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. With our spirit, we 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.
7. The seventh fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they are found within or without the boundaries of our Republic.
8. The eighth 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 and honor mother, for whom it flies on Mother's Day.
9. The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood, for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty, and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.
10. The tenth fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since they were firstborn.
11. The eleventh fold, in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies in their eyes the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
12. The twelfth fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit.
13. When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our nation's motto, "In God We Trust." After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington and the sailors and marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones. Those who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving the rights, privileges, and freedoms we enjoy today.
American Flag Questions and Answers:
Q: Can a flag that has been used to cover a casket be displayed after its original use?
A: There are no provisions in the Flag Code to suggest otherwise. It would be a fitting tribute to the memory of the deceased veteran and their service to a grateful nation if their casket flag were displayed.
Q: Can the United States flag be displayed on days when the weather is inclement?
A: The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather (nylon or other non-absorbent material) flag is displayed. However, most all flags are made of all-weather materials.
Q: What is the significance of displaying the flag at half staff?
A: This gesture is a sign to indicate the nation mourns the death of an individual(s), such as the President or former President, Vice President, Supreme Court Justice, member of Congress, Secretary of an executive or military department, etc. Only the President of the United States or the State's governor may order the flag to be half-staffed. The honor and reverence accorded to this solemn act is quickly becoming eroded by those individuals and agencies that display the flag at half-staff on inappropriate occasions without proper authority to do so.
Q: When the flag is not flown from a staff, how should it be displayed?
A: It should be displayed vertically, whether indoors or out, and suspended so that its folds fall free as though the flag were staffed. The stripes may be displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall; the union should be uppermost and to the flag's right, to the observer's left. When displayed in a window of a home or a place of business, the flag should be displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the observer's left in the street.
Q: How are unserviceable flags destroyed?
A: The Flag Code suggests that "when a flag has served its useful purpose, it should be destroyed, preferably by burning." This should be done discreetly for individual citizens, so the act of destruction is not perceived as a protest or desecration. Many American Legion Posts conduct Disposal of Unserviceable Flag Ceremonies on June 14, Flag Day. This ceremony creates a particularly dignified and solemn occasion for the retirement of unserviceable flags.
Q: Can the flag be washed or dry-cleaned?
A: Yes. There are no provisions of the Flag Code that prohibit such care. The decision to wash or dryclean would be dependent on the material.
Q: Are you required to destroy the flag if it touches the ground?
A: Flag Code section 176b states that the flag should not touch anything beneath it, such as the ground. This is said to indicate that care should be exercised in the handling of the flag to protect it from becoming soiled or damaged. You ARE NOT required to destroy the flag when this happens. As long as the flag remains suitable for display, even if washing or dry-cleaning (which is acceptable practice) is required, you may continue to display the flag as a symbol of our great country.
Q: What is the proper method for folding the flag?
A: The Flag Code does not require any specific method; however, there is a tradition that has developed over time. This method produces a triangular-shaped form like that of a three-corner hat with only the blue union showing.
Q: May a person other than a veteran have their casket draped with the United States flag? Although this honor is usually reserved for veterans or highly regarded state and national figures,
A: Yes, the Flag Code does not prohibit this use.
Q: What is the significance of the gold fringe which we see on some American flags?
A: Records indicate that fringe was first used on the flag as early as 1835. It was not until 1895 that it was officially added to the National flag for all regiments of the Army. For civilian use, fringe is not required as an integral part of the flag, nor can its use be said to constitute an unauthorized addition to the design prescribed by statute. It is considered that fringe is used as an honorable enrichment only.
Q: What is meant by the flag's right?
A: The "right" as the position of honor developed from the time when the "right hand" was the "weapon hand" or "point of danger." The right hand, raised without a weapon, was a sign of peace. The right hand, to any observer, is the observer's left. Therefore, as used in the Flag Code, the flag and blue field are displayed to the observer's left, which is the flag's "own right."
Q: Is it proper to fly the flag of the United States at night?
A: The Flag Code states that it is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and 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. The American Legion interprets " proper illumination" as a light precisely placed to illuminate the flag (preferred) or to have a light source sufficient to illuminate the flag so it is recognizable as such by the casual observer.
Q: What should be the position of the flag when displayed by staff in a church, public auditorium, or other public meeting places, whether indoors or outdoors, on a platform or the floor at ground level?
A: When used on a speaker's platform, the flag, if displayed flat, should be shown above and behind the speaker. When displayed from a staff in a church, public auditorium, or meeting place, the flag 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. Before the Flag Code changes in 1976, the display procedure was somewhat different. The staffed flag should always be placed to the speaker's right (observer's left) without regard to a platform or floor level.
Q: What are the penalties for the physical desecration of the flag?
A: There are currently no penalties for the physical desecration of the flag. The American Legion and other members of the Citizens Flag Alliance continue to secure a Constitutional amendment to protect the flag from physical desecration.