Knowing how to and how not to display the American flag is a part of flag etiquette. And while flag codes may not have legal repercussions, they are expectations for all citizens to follow. For instance, although flag attire is popular around some national holidays, wearing the flag is a sign of disrespect. A country’s flag is a symbol, often one of freedom. If you want to learn the rules of flag etiquette you may not know about, keep reading!
It Flies the Highest
When you fly the American flag alongside other flags, such as state flags, the national one should fly the highest. However, should you have to fly another flag at the same level because it’s as important, keep the US flag to the left. This is the case if you’re flying flags from various nations since you’ll want to pay each one equal respect. And when doing this, raise and lower the American flag first.
Keep It Maintained
Another rule of flag etiquette you may not know about is that you should take care of the flag. Leaving it outside during a rainstorm goes against the flag code, even if it’s on a national holiday. Likewise, make sure you properly clean the American flag when it gets dirty. The cleaning methods will vary depending on flag material.
Also, remember that eventually, the time will come when you must dispose of your flag appropriately. When the flag begins to fray or otherwise appear worn, it’s time to replace it. Remember to dispose of your flag properly—typically, this means burning it. By following the expectations laid out in the flag code, you pay respect to it and those who fought for it.
The Flag and Parades
In a parade, there are a few instances where you may fly the flag. For example, if the flag hangs over the street, it should hang vertically with the blue field pointed north on roads that run east and west. Or it should point east on roads that run north and south.
If you or someone marches with the flag in a ceremony, keep it to the viewers’ left. By appropriately displaying the flag, you also follow each of these expectations for respecting the US flag.
Know When to Salute the Flag
Unless you’re a person in uniform or veteran, you should salute the flag by keeping your right hand over your heart. Also, keep in mind that you should remove any unnecessary headdress and hold it over your left shoulder.