Learning proper flag care and etiquette is something all Americans should take the time to understand. After all, it is the American flag that symbolizes what this country is about. Proper flag care and etiquette should be shown whether you are displaying the American flag at home, at the office, or using it at a public event. Here are some of the guidelines to keep in mind with regard to proper flag care and etiquette.
Most flag rules and regulations can be found online. One website in particular, US History.org, proved to be exceptionally helpful when researching proper flag care and etiquette. Here are some of the guidelines to keep in mind with regard to flag care and etiquette that were found, in part, at this site. (Note – Anytime a section of the flag is referred to as ‘the union’, it is meant to define the area that holds the stars)
How should the flag be raised and lowered? Proper flag care and etiquette dictates that the US flag should be raised quickly and lowered slowly. Do not let it touch the ground.
Is it necessary to lower the flag at night? No. Flags may be left up 24 hours a day providing they are illuminated at night.
Is it suitable to hang a flag in the window? Yes. A flag may be hung in a window if positioned properly. Those passing from the street should view the union in the upper left corner.
How can another flag be flown with the U.S. flag? If you plan on flying a state flag with your U.S. flag, the state flag should be flown below the U.S. flag. If they will be displayed side by side, the U.S. flag should be on the left side from the viewer’s perspective.
Can the flag be flown during a rainstorm? Yes. A flag can be flown in any inclement weather providing it is made of all-weather material.
Can the flag be washed? Yes. If the flag becomes dirty, it should no longer be displayed. Proper flag care for a dirty flag is to wash it by hand. The website, U.S. History.org states that most dry cleaners will wash your flag at no cost.
What if the flag becomes ripped? It is perfectly acceptable to repair a ripped flag, providing it is done by someone that knows what they are doing. If it is too torn to be repaired unnoticeably, the flag should be replaced.
How should a flag be retired? Proper flag care and etiquette dictates that a damaged or faded flag should not be displayed. Instead, it should be properly retired by way of burning. If you cannot burn the flag yourself, it can be taken to an American Legion post where they will dispose of it appropriately.
For more information on proper flag care and etiquette, visit the US History website.
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