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Lower the Flag Ceremoniously

A few days ago, I wrote about folding the U.S. flag, referencing the only sentence in the U.S. Flag Code about raising and lowering the American flag. For the ones that missed it, here it is:

The United States Flag Code, Section 6(b) says:

The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.

Hoisting Briskly is easy. The definition of briskly is “quick and energetic.” That’s self-explanatory.

What about lowering the flag, though. “Lowered ceremoniously” is the phrase. It is normally said that the flag is lowered slowly, with reverence and that is the way most are preformed. Looking at definitions of ceremonious doesn’t support that, though.

Here a two:

  1. rigidly formal or bound by convention
  2. according to formal usage or prescribed procedures
  3. These indicate that the lowering is more formal than the raising. Interesting, though, is the fact that “prescribed procedures” shows up in many dictionaries, yet the flag code doesn’t list any procedures for lowering the flag.

    What’s all this mean? Slowly and with reverence is allowed, but so is example in this video. The word that captures it for me? Respect

    Video is from a Cub Scout Adventure Camp July 2006

2 thoughts on “Lower the Flag Ceremoniously

  1. I am responsible for Flag care and use at the local American Legion Post. I have missed some situations for lowering our Flag due to not knowing about the occasion. Is there a “call list” I can subscribe to that sends e-mails when there is a call for Flags at half-staff?

    1. Hello Mike. I apologize for the delay in responding to your question.

      The federal government issues flag change notifications through the Dept. of Homeland Security. Your state should be on the list, and you should be able to get on your state’s list (which would then include your state flag, which might have flag changes when the National flag would not).

      In Texas, that list is handled through the Office of the Governor, whose various email addresses are shown on the governor’s official web site. I believe that your state governor’s office will have a similar method, because state governors are authorized to order lowering the National flag too, in their states. Best Wishes, Deborah Hendrick

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