Proper Display and Care of the American Flag
Although America is one of the youngest countries in the world, its flag is one of the longest to remain in continuous use – even if its form has been updated slightly as new states joined the union. The flag was adopted on June 14, 1777, a date Americans now celebrate as Flag Day. If you plan to display an American flag at your home this Fourth of July, it’s important to remember the proper ways to do so, as well as how to care for and store the flag.
Properly displaying the flag starts with always placing it in the most important spot among other flags. This means putting it at the highest point compared to any flags around it. If multiple flags are displayed on the same pole, the American flag should be at the highest point on that pole. Flags of other nations may be displayed at the same level, but none should be larger or more prominent than the American flag, which must be displayed in the rightmost – which is the most prominent – position.
To properly care for and respect the flag, you should always raise it in the morning and lower it in the evening. You should always fly it right side up; flying the flag upside down is only done as a distress signal. You should never let the flag touch the ground or anything else beneath it, and you must always keep it clean. To dispose of the flag properly, you should respectfully burn it.
You should also never use the flag flippantly, such as by embroidering or printing it on handkerchiefs, cushions, boxes, napkins or anything that’s discarded after use. It should also not be used to display any type of advertising, and it should never be used as a part of a uniform or costume, except on military personnel, police officers or firefighters.
To properly store a flag, you should fold it carefully and place it in a clean, dry area indoors. Keep it safe and handle it with as much care as possible. Respect the flag as much as you respect the country it belongs to.
Of course, the specific flag you choose to display can vary widely based on your personal preferences and where you plan to put it up. For example, you can find a 3’ x 5’ polycotton U.S. flag, or you can find a nylon option of the same size. If you don’t have enough room for a flag that large, you might prefer an 8” x 12” option, shown at right.
Whichever flag you choose to put up, remember to show respect for the flag as you display it, care for it and store it. After all, the flag is a symbol of your country, for which you’re showing respect.