Below are 5 handy tips for ensuring flag etiquette when displaying outdoor flags. When followed correctly, they serve to impress upon patriots, foreigners, and casual observers alike the great dignity of the American flag, and what it represents to the United States as a nation.
1. When the flag of the United States of America is displayed from a staff projecting from a window, balcony, or a building, the union (stars) should be at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half staff.
2. When the flag is displayed from the same flagpole with another flag - of a state, community, society or Scout unit - the flag of the United States must always be at the top, except that a church pennant may be flown above the flag during services for Navy personnel when conducted by a Naval chaplain on a ship at sea.
3. When the flag is displayed over a street, flag etiquette states that it should be hung vertically, with the union to the north or east. If the flag is suspended over a sidewalk, the flag’s union should be farthest from the building.
Patriotic displays of a series of U.S. flags are found all across the United States. This one is in downtown Boston, MA.
Photo by: Edward Jacoby
4. When flown with flags of states, communities, or societies on separate flagpoles which are of the same height and in a straight line, the flag of the United States is always placed in the position of honor - to its own right, the observer’s left.
- The other flags may be smaller but none may be larger.
- No other flag should be placed above the flag of the United States.
- The flag of the United States is always the first to be raised and the last to be lowered.
5. When the flag is flown with national flags of other countries, each flag must be displayed from a separate pole of the same height. Each flag should be the same size. They should be raised and lowered simultaneously. The flag of one nation may not be displayed above that of another nation.