As a tradition symbol of liberty, the American flag has carried the message of freedom to many parts of the world. Here in the United States, the flag is displayed daily at government buildings, schools, and many public areas. It is also customary to fly the flag on Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and most other U.S. holidays.
Each of the flag’s colors has a significance: red signifies hardiness and valor, white is symbolic of purity and innocence, and blue denotes vigilance, perseverance and justice. Just as the flag’s colors and design are deeply symbolic, so is the way the flag is displayed. Here are some flag etiquette tips to ensure that you display it properly:
• When the flag is displayed over the middle of the street, it should be suspended vertically with the union (stars) to the north in an east-and-west street or to the east in a north-and-south street.
• When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from the window sill, balcony or front of a building, the union should be placed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half-staff.
• When flown at half-staff, the flag should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. It should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day.
• When the flag is displayed in a manner other than by being flown from a staff, it should be displayed flat. When 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 it should be displayed in the same way, with the union to the left of the observer in the street.
• To fold the flag, first fold it in half along the stripes twice. Fold up a triangle, starting at the striped end, and repeat until only the end of the union is exposed. Then, fold down the square into a triangle and tuck inside the folds.
• Never throw a damaged flag in the garbage. For information on how to properly dispose of a worn flag, contact your local American Legion hall, VFW chapter, or a Boy Scout troop.