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Parade Protocol for the U.S. Flag

SalutetheFlagDeborah and I were running errands Saturday morning, and darned if a parade didn’t break out in downtown Sattler, Texas (population 30). To be fair, the Canyon Lake area has a population of 29,000 people.

As with all parades, there were flags everywhere, so I got busy taking pictures with my cell phone (I could have sworn the camera was in the car) while Deborah actively watched the parade, standing out front of the Ace Hardware store.

It was a great parade and we enjoyed ourselves very much. Besides horses (riding clubs), there were two marching bands, classic cars (about eight 55-57 Thunderbirds), lots of politicians, and several local organizations represented.

Speaking of flags, it was apparent some of the participants needed to brush up on the U.S. Flag Code. Some of the parade participants displayed the flags improperly, so with that introduction, I would like to give a lecture on parade protocol.

As I’ve written before, the problem appears when the U.S. flag is displayed with other flags. Using the U.S. and Texas flag code as our guide books, I’ll point out the good and the bad from our Christmas parade.

The U.S. Flag Code has plenty to say about parades, with explicit instructions for both those in the parade and those watching.

 Parade Participants

Section 7 of the Flag Code, titled Position and Manner of Display, begins by describing parade protocol for the flag.

The flag, when carried in a procession with another flag or flags, should be either on the marching right; that is, the flag’s own right, or, if there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line.
(a) The flag should not be displayed on a float in a parade except from a staff, or as provided in subsection (i) of this section.
(b) The flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle or of a railroad train or a boat. When the flag is displayed on a motorcar, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.

(i) When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag’s own right, that is, to the observer’s left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.

 

LeadColorGuard Parade Color Guard

The parade Color Guard led off with five flags. At first glance everything looks good, but if you’ll click the picture to see it larger, it isn’t. I can identify four of the flags, and have a guess to the fifth. They are displayed in this order: front row, U.S. flag, riding club flag, Texas flag, followed by a local flag, and the Mexican flag. I will give them credit for having the U.S. flag in the proper place, but the other four are wrong.

Using the U.S. Flag Code in conjunction with the Texas flag code, the flags should have been presented, in order; U.S. flag, Mexican flag,Texas flag, local flag, then the riding club flag.

My suggestion for the best way would be to present the U.S. flag in the lead with a line of the other four flags, in the order I assigned above, in a second row. That would be best the best way to showcase the American flag.

ProperFlagDisplayThe Shriners marched their own Color Guard and all the flags were displayed in the right order.

The American flag is to parade right, with the Mexican National flag second, the Texas flag third, then their organization flag on the far left.

This is a positive example of a group taking the time to know and understand the proper display of all the flags involved. They didn’t have to display all four flags, but in doing so, it’s nice to see it done right.

The Shriners, with their variety of little cars and motorcycles participate in a lot of parades, and I applaud this organization for knowing proper flag protocol.

Float Displays

1208071111a Local VFW Post #8573, which I wrote about on Veteran’s day, used a trailer as a float in the parade. The flags were mounted on the very back of the trailer and technically displayed correctly.

The U.S. flag is mounted in the center and higher than the other two flags. The Texas flag is displayed to the parade’s right (Texas flag code) and the POW-MIA flag to the parade’s left. This meets all the requirements of the U.S. and Texas Flag Codes.

Though their flag display is correct, I think it would be more fitting if the flags were mounted on the front of the trailer, leading the way forward—rather than riding drag (cattle drive reference).

Vehicle Displays

FiretruckFlagsClamped to the right fender” is the correct way to display the U.S. flag on a vehicle according to the Flag Code. In the picture, you’ll notice the U.S. flag attached to the right fender and the Texas flag attached to the left fender on the fire truck.

The Texas Flag Code states,

§ 3100.064. DISPLAY ON FLAGSTAFF ON MOTOR VEHICLE. If the state flag is displayed on a flagstaff on a motor vehicle, the staff should be attached firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender. If the flag of the United States and the state flag are displayed on flagstaffs on a motor vehicle:

(1) the staff of the flag of the United States should be clamped to the right fender of the vehicle; and

(2) the staff of the state flag should be clamped to the left fender of the vehicle.

Most of the vehicles displayed the two flags properly.

Parade Watchers

The photograph at the top of the page shows not only the flags properly displayed, but in the background you’ll see two people respectfully holding the right hand held over the heart, which is correct. Section 9 of the Flag Code addresses this in detail.

Section 9 (in its entirety)

During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in a parade or in review, all persons present except those in uniform should face the flag and stand at attention with the right hand over the heart. Those present in uniform should render the military salute. When not in uniform, men should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Aliens should stand at attention. The salute to the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes.

Now you know how to act at your next parade. And if you are in charge, make sure the lead Color Guard displays the flags right.

Also, if you get pictures of flags in your local Christmas parade, send them in with narrative and we’ll publish them for everyone’s enjoyment.

64 thoughts on “Parade Protocol for the U.S. Flag

  1. Is there a proper distance the police should be in front of a color guard unit when the police are the first part of the parade and the color guard the second?

    Thank you.

    Nancy A.

  2. Thanks for writing Nancy. The code doesn’t speak to this, so as long as there is enough clearance so the flags don’t hit the police, it’ll be fine.

  3. Is there a protocol for individuals on the reviewing stand? What I want to know is it not required that each and everyone on the reviewing stand to show respect to the American flag of all units in a parade or just the Officer taking salutes.

  4. Hi Tim, thank you for writing.

    If I follow you correctly, you are asking about the protocol for a civilian who is seated in the reviewing stand for a military parade. If this is the case, there most likely will be only one U.S. flag, and it will be carried by the color guard at the very beginning of the parade. You will stand and salute the flag appropriately as it passes the reviewing stand.

    The superior officer in the stands, who is receiving and returning salutes from the units in the parade will do so on his own—guests will remain seated. These smaller units will probably be carrying their unit colors, but not another U.S. flag.

    But if another U.S. flag does pass by the reviewing stand, then I’d salute it too.

  5. Hi, I am in charge of our local parade and I am trying to locate the rules to parade line up for the color guards. There is some issues in my town regarding if the active Marine Corp group should be the first color guard ahead of our local American Legion. The American Legion says they do have one active member so they should go first because they are the local group. The Marine Corp says they should go first because that is military protocol.

  6. Hello Mr. Kirk,

    Your question is timely, to say the least. Today, July 21, 2008—I posted links to the Armed Services’ flag manuals.

    The Marine Color guard should lead off the parade. USMC takes precedence over the American Legion. For order of precedence, see page 59 in the Marine Corps manual, and a second reference would be page 5 in the Army manual.

    The flags of civilian organizations take their place of order after the federal and state flags, and the flag protocol for them is based of the chronological date of their charter. As a civilian organization, the American Legion was chartered in 1919, and is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization—and under no circumstances would take precedence ahead of the U.S. Marine Corps.

    Parade order follows the same protocol as flag order. Do you have to place every parade organization in precise order of charter? No, of course not. But if the various groups disagree about who comes first, it solves all the problems

  7. What should be the position of a 20′ X 30′ flag when passing the reviewing stand? Flag is carried horizontally with the blue field side raised. Thank you. Fred Butts

  8. What is the position of the blue field when a flag carried horizontally with the blue field side raised passes the reviewing stand?

  9. Hi Fred—thank you for writing.

    Let me answer both of your questions by quoting from the U.S. Flag Code, Section 8—Respect for the Flag: (c) the flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.

    It has become very popular in recent years, to carry and display large flags in parades, or at football games in pregame or half-time shows—or at other events of a grand scale. My quoting the U.S. Flag Code isn’t going to stop this practice, because many people feel that because the flag exhibit is done in good faith and is patriotic, then nothing is wrong with it.

    Compliance with the Flag Code is voluntary, and often it is arbitrary too, as we pick and choose which parts we like. This is not a pointed remark at you. I am grateful that you have taken the time to ask about the proper form. This is a constant struggle and you are not alone.

    To my knowledge, the ONLY time the flag is placed in a horizontal position is when it is placed on a casket: Sec. 7. Position and Manner of Display—(n) When the flag is used to cover a casket, it should be so placed that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground.

    I personally refer to this left side placement of the union—the blue field—as the “mourning position,” and I have been researching as to when this specific protocol began.

    Because the Flag Code is so specific on these two point of flag positioning—Sec 7. (n) and Sec. 8 (c)—I am reluctant to advise you, except to say the highly symbolic “left field” placement on caskets is the only occasion in which the flag is displayed with the union to the left. (The flag patches on the right shoulder of military combat uniforms—with the union to the wearer’s left—are considered flags in motion—going forward at all times.)

    Again, I thank you for writing The Daily Flag.

  10. Hello, The question I have is, “Is the POW-MIA Flag a federal flag now?” I am a member of a state color guard and we were told by our color captain that it is and when we line up the colors it goes next to the national flag, but members of our local American Legion say that we are wrong. Please help. Thank you.

    1. Hi Chuck, I have a long annotated and linked answer for you, and I don’t think your color guard captain is going to like it, but the members of your local American Legion are correct: the POW/MIA is not a “federal” flag. The POW/MIA flag is highly esteemed and greatly beloved, but it is not a federal flag. Legally, it is the symbol of a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia.

      Here is a link to the law in the U.S. Code that addresses the POW/MIA flag. Please read it carefully, and note that it only addresses federal usage. I wrote about the POW/MIA flag here, and here on The Daily Flag. These articles are lengthy and long-winded (sorry for that), but I was trying to explain about the flag in great detail, and others have been confused about the status of the POW/MIA flag.

      I suggest that you print out the portion of the U.S. Code that addresses the POW/MIA flag, and that you also print out what I wrote so you can see it in print.

      Hitting the highlights, there are six days that Congress set aside for the POW/MIA flag to be flown over FEDERAL installations. This means military bases, cemeteries, hospitals, post offices, federal buildings, and et cetera. The law addresses the federal government only—not states and not civilians. (And there are some locations where the federal government requires the POW/MIA flag to be flown 24/7). Of course civilians and states are permitted and encouraged to honor the POW/MIA flag, but they are not ordered to do so by the federal government. But remember that federal installations do not fly state flags.

      Forgive me for using the state of Texas as an example, but it is a good example. The Texas flag code permits no other flag except the U.S. flag to be flown above the Lone Star flag. At the state capitol building in Austin, Texas, there is a single flagpole in front of the state house, and another flagpole at the back. On the “front” flagpole, the U.S. flag is flown, and the state of Texas flag flies underneath it. On the “back” flagpole, only the Lone Star is flown.

      On those six days enumerated in the portion of the U.S. Code that addresses the POW/MIA flag, the State of Texas removes the Lone Star flag and flies the POW/MIA flag underneath the U.S. flag. It does this to honor and remember our POW/MIA that are still unaccounted for. The law in the U.S. Code regarding the POW/MIA flag was written for federal installations only. But the State of Texas chooses to remove the Lone Star flag to honor the POW/MIA flag, and not dishonor or violate the Texas flag code. To my knowledge, the state has never done this for any other flag.

      Regarding the parade and a color guard carrying the POW/MIA flag: By U.S. State Department protocol and etiquette, the flags of 501(c)(3) congressionally chartered organizations are ordered by the date of their charter, which essentially means that the POW/MIA flag would be carried at the end of a long line of other organizations, if the color guard were carrying their colors too.

      This is highly unlikely, so now the problem is to figure out where the POW/MIA flag should be carried by the color guard—-which will probably be carrying the flag on one of those six days: the Fourth of July, Independence Day. There are two ways to do this properly, because (forgive me for repeating myself) the state color guard is under no legal obligation to carry the POW/MIA flag, but it is an act of honor and respect to voluntarily carry the POW/MIA flag.

      If your color guard is NOT carrying any flags of the Armed Forces (Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard), then the POW/MIA flag can be carried to the left of your state flag (please confirm though your state’s flag code). If the color guard IS carrying the five military flags, then the POW/MIA flag should be carried to the left of the Coast Guard flag, at the same height and of the same size.

      However, and it is highly irregular (because the laws regarding to the POW/MIA flag do not address carrying the flag in a parade), but the person who carries the Stars and Stripes, could carry a smaller POW/MIA flag on the same pole at the national flag. This honors the POW/MIA flag, voluntarily complies with the federal law, but does not violate the protocol and etiquette regarding your state flag, and/or the flags of our armed forces.

      In reaching to this conclusion, I talked to protocol and etiquette officers at the Pentagon and researched materials at the U.S. State Department. I consulted officials at the state of Texas, and I asked for a Congressional Research Service finding (the legal arm of Congress, which researches our laws for Congress) through my federal senator, and I read through ALL of the flag manuals of the armed forces.

      These findings in no way take away from the enormous and unique honor bestowed upon the POW/MIA flag, but it not a federal flag, and a careful reading of the law written into the U.S. Code will confirm it.

  11. I’m very happy to have learned of this site. During our July 4th parade, the council for the arts continually place the Color Guard, High School ROTC led, somewhere around 6th to 10th position in the parade, behind various other groups. Should the Color Guard, even though High School ROTC, lead off the parade? If not, what position should they be in? Our Kiwanis Club is always in disagreement with the council since we line up the parade. Thanks.

    1. Hi Tom—I’m glad you found The Daily Flag too!

      A civilian parade does not have to have a color guard, but if it does, then the color guard leads the parade, always. A parade might have more than one color guard, but in order of protocol, a military color guard or ROTC color guard have priority and lead the parade, regardless of any other organizations that might be carrying the colors too (Boy Scouts, for VFW for example).

      A military color guard would not show up without an invitation, and I am going to assume that the high school ROTC color guard was invited to carry the colors for the Fourth of July parade, so this was a breach of protocol for two reasons. Someone needs to apologize to the ROTC students.

      Here is another article from The Daily Flag which has more information about parade protocol, especially in the comments section.

  12. I belong to the County Sheriff’s Posse and we received a real tongue lashing when the parade coordinator placed us in front of the VFW at the local 4th of July Parade. We carry the American Flag and our truck which rides behind us carries the County Flag and our Posse Flag. We have led parades with our Sheriff leading us on horseback with no problem
    but have been told that the Veterans always come before us. We are not deputized but belong to the sheriff’s department. What is politically correct?

    1. Sandy, I need to ask a few questions, so to answer properly may take a few more exchanges of information.

      Who or what organization provided the official color guard for the parade? Was there a parade marshal or guest of honor/organization for the parade? Thanks, Deborah

  13. We had 6 color guards sign up for a recent parade. We have always led off with our local VFW color guard but this year they chose to ride and I felt the colors should be led by a marching unit. Being we have always rotated the out of town color guards we let the marching Shriner color guard lead followed by the local VFW riding and than four more vets clubs. The Shriners did have a Mexican flag and a state flag as well as the American flag but they were displayed properly. I received a lot of static from one of the vets clubs stating that protocol dictated that the “civilian” shriners should never lead a parade in front of any vets club. They also stated that a Mexican flag should never be displayed in front of any flag in a parade. This being the case the Shriners should have been behind the last horse units as there are numerous flags in a typical parade. Did I screw this up?

    1. No Sir, you did not. I have the greatest affection for veterans groups (and I have personally worked with several), but they are “civilian” organizations too, just like the Shriners. They are all 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations. If the custom of the parade organizers is to invite “guest” color guards (which is very common across the country), then giving the honor to the Shriners was certainly proper. Many Shriner color guards carry the flags of other nations, which is generally a reflection of their particular group’s local membership. There is no “protocol” that would relegate the Shriners to the back of the parade (especially as a penalty for carrying the flag of another nation).

      The Shriners in my area (south Texas) carry the flag of Mexico, and their color guards are scrupulously correct. Here is a link to a Daily Flag article that includes a photo of a Shriner color guard in a Christmas parade, and you can click on the photo for an enlarged photo. It takes nothing away from the U.S. flag, or the state flag, for the guest flag of another country to be carried with honor by the color guard. If the Shriner color guard had been from the northeast, it might have been carrying the flag of Italy or Ireland.

      The one color guard that “trumps” all other color guards is a military color guard. But of course a military color guard would not show up at a parade without being invited, and they would rightly assume that they were the lead unit. An ROTC unit, even a junior ROTC unit (high school), by order of protocol according to the U.S. State Department, would be give the honor of leading a parade over a 501(c)(3) organization.

      I can’t imagine any parade that would not give special honor to our veterans, but even among veterans organizations, there is an order of protocol—predicated on the date of their congressional charter: oldest goes first. I have lived in places where there were multiple American Legion groups, VFWs, Vietnam Veterans Associates, etc. If you had a variety of these organizations participating in a parade, then it is correct to order them by date of their incorporation (congressional charter).

      Having said this, if the same organizations participate year after year (especially veterans groups), then you could rotate them (and keep careful records so that each organizations has a chance to be “first”) as the years go by. A pre-parade organizational meeting, to which all parade participants are invited, can head off these problems, and I highly recommend it.

      Thank you Mark, for writing. I hope this helps.
      Best Wishes, Deborah Hendrick

  14. Our city has the largest and oldest Fourth of July parade in the State of Ohio. This year we are have the Boy Scouts lead off the parade for their 100 th birthday. We have received 100 flags from our congressman which have been flown over the capital. For this year we will have our VFW honor guard right after the flags, Is this OK, I have had a real fight from the VFW before and just do not want to deal with them this year

    1. Thank you for writing, Jerry. There are several elements to consider for this parade. First—an honor guard always goes first and leads the parade. (You can have a parade without an honor guard, but if there is an honor guard participating, by protocol, it goes first).

      If you want the Boy Scouts to lead off the parade in honor of their 100th anniversary (which I think is a terrific idea, because I am a huge fan of Scouting), then you need to use an honor guard comprised of Boy Scouts. If I understand, you plan to have Scouts carry the the 100 flags that were flown over the capitol. Those Scouts would then march behind the Scouts that are carrying the colors.

      The VFW can still have their own “honor guard” if they want (and I’m sure they will), to carry the U.S., Ohio, and post flag, and the members of the VFW can walk or ride on floats and or cars behind their guard. There is no dishonor or insult in not leading the parade, nor is there any dishonor or insult in having them positioned behind the Scouts.

      [FYI—you do need to know that military and/or ROTC (even a high school Jr. ROTC unit) trumps all “civilian” organizations (such as VFW and Boy Scouts) when it comes to honor guard. These people are under an “active” oath, and because of that, their honor guard would lead the parade. (The veterans have been separated from the service, and are no longer active.) However, a military honor guard would not show up at your local parade without being formally invited, so that should not be a problem.]

      This linked article has more detailed information (especially in the Q & A) about the delicate problem of parade protocol, which will help you be a good diplomat.

      Good luck and best wishes,
      Deborah Hendrick

  15. It is my understanding that if there are more than one color guard in a parade, they all march ahead of anyone else. I understand active duty is first and the service groups go by their date of congressional charter. Can you give me that order for VFW, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Vietnam Veterans etc.? If the service groups have trailers or floats I assume they would be arranged in the same precedence. Thank you in advance for responding to my question.

    Thomas P. King
    Retired Air Force
    American Legion Commander

    1. Thank you for writing, Tom. Planning a parade is takes great finesse and diplomacy!

      It is not necessary to put all of the color guards at the front of the parade. It is correct than an active duty color guard trumps all the others, but an active duty (full military) color guard would not show up without a specific invitation.

      ROTC and Jr. ROTC units operate under an active oath of allegiance. Units from these organizations might register to participate in the parade without knowing and perhaps being very surprised (and embarrassed) to learn that ROTC/Jr.ROTC units would march ahead of the various veterans service organizations (whose members have been separated from military service and are no longer under an active oath). This is an important point of protocol, and a pre-parade meeting will provide the opportunity to explain it to everyone. (As a side note, let me add that the military service academies’ cadets and mid-shipmen also march ahead of active duty military units)

      Some well-known veterans service organizations are, by date of congressional charter:
      1. American Legion, chartered in 1919
      2. Disabled American Veterans, chartered in 1932
      3. Veterans of Foreign Wars, the oldest veterans organization and well organized by 1915, but not chartered until 1936
      4. Vietnam Veterans Association (founded in 1978) and chartered in 1986

      Next comes the diplomacy: ordering a parade by date of congressional charter is a good way to do it, and solves most problems, but creates some others. In a small community, where the same parades are held each year (for example: Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving or Christmas parades), it is a wise and diplomatic method to rotate the parade order. Careful record-keeping, and pre-parade meetings will solve these issues and insure that every group gets lead the parade at some point. Different organizations may plan and host the parades, but generally, all the same organizations tend to participate. If you are in charge of a particular parade, all you can do it make sure your parade is carefully and fairly ordered, if it is an annual event.

      If it is The Miss Magnolia Parade, then Miss Magnolia’s float follows the parade color guard, with veterans and others taking their turn behind her. For example, a parade in my area had a float entered by local Air Force and Army recruiters. While they had the US, AF and Army flags on their float, they did not bring a color guard or a marching unit. Their float was not at the front of the parade so their position back in the pack was perfectly appropriate.

      Many members of the American Legion and the VFW are no longer strong enough to march behind a color guard. It is perfectly acceptable for their members to ride on a float, with or without a marching color guard in front of their float. These floats could be all lined up at the front, but they could also be staged through out the parade, which makes (in my opinion) for a more interesting parade.

      (I personally think a BAND! should always come right behind the “first” color guard, but in many parades there is only one marching band, so putting it in the middle lets the sound carry forward while those at the back can still hear the music. As a former band member, I must say that we always wanted to march before any mounted horse organizations for obviously reasons, but I lived in a small west Texas town and our parade colors were always carried by members of the county sheriff’s horse posse!)

      So the congressional order of charter is a good method of organizing a parade, but veterans service organizations (501s) do not necessarily come ahead of all other organizations (which may be 501s too) A Memorial Day or Veterans Day parade, yes—it is appropriate to put the Vets first. But you need to consider that the Daughters of the American Revolution’s incorporation (same as a charter) in 1896 pre-dates all VSOs, and the Boy Scouts of America were chartered in 1910, so this year is their 100th anniversary.

      In most parades, I think sentiment rules and most veterans groups are all staged to the front of the parade, but you do have some freedom. You also need to consider that some towns have more than one VFW post (for example). Then the older local post would come before the younger post, but you might still want to have them rotate as the years go by.

      This link also includes lots of Q & A about parade protocol, if you want to look at it.

      Thank you for writing Mr. King. I hope I’ve helped you.
      Best Wishes, Deborah Hendrick

  16. I belong to an AOH Bag Pipe Band. our colors are the US Flag on the right, the Papal Flag (we are a catholic org.) and the Irish Tri color, we are also thinking of carrying the Irish Brigade Battle Flag from the Civil War. Would there be a proper order for them next to the US Flag?

    1. The Vatican City is recognized by the U.S. State Department as a country. The order of protocol used by the state department is to order the flags of countries alphabetically, and in the English language. So the proper line up for your color guard would be: U.S. flag first—in the right most position, with the flag of Ireland next, then the Papal flag which is also the official flag of the Vatican City, and lastly, the Irish Brigade Battle flag (if the band eventually decides to carry it).

      This was an important question Mr. Sullivan, and thank you for writing.
      Best Wishes, Deborah Hendrick

  17. thank you for the answer.

  18. Mr. Hendrick:

    Help! And quickly if possible. Preparations are underway for our community’s annual Pinedorado Parade, which will take place on September the 4th. Our county Marine Corps League Detachment has agreed to provide the color guard. While the matter has not yet come up, I am concerned that our local American Legion may take offense. I read the comments in “23 Responses…..” number 18 and 19 and thought I was home free….then I relaized that the Detachment is, like the Legion, a civilian organization. The Detachment will be 4-12 in number and in dress blues. Please help me out with this matter (time is of the essence because the matter will be addressed at a May 5th meeting). Thanks in advance.
    Terry Farrell
    805-924-1814
    terryfarrell@charter.net

    1. The Marine Corp League detachment has just as much right to carry the colors in your annual parade as the local American Legion.

      Perhaps the Legion has traditionally carried the colors because they were a logical choice, or maybe the only choice, and maybe no one ever invited another organization to do it because by default—the American Legion had always done it.

      If the American Legion has always provided the color guard for this parade, permit me to suggest that a private meeting with the commander of your local American Legion might be in order—before your May 5th meeting—so the Legion is not taken by surprise. I can’t imagine that the leadership of the Legion would be angry or terribly disappointed—only surprised.

      Thank you for writing Terry. Good luck and best wishes.
      Deborah Hendrick

  19. When the Color Guard enters an indoor room/auditorium or a outdoor field, how long is the salute (hand over the heart) held? As long as the flag is in motion, regardless if it passes in front of you? And until the flag is posted in it’s stand?
    During Taps, is the salute also performed? When the draped funeral flag is folded?
    Thanks!

    1. Kate, when the color guard passes abreast of your position, that is the time to salute, with either a military salute or what I call a heart salute—putting your right hand over your heart. Hold the salute until the color guard passes on by. This works indoors or outdoors. If the colors are placed into stands, the flag bearers will place the flags, step back, and salute. You would salute at that time, too.

      In a large venue, like a stadium, I would wait to salute until the color guard reached the spot where it will turn and face the stands. All I can say is that you will know when to salute. Normally the National Anthem is performed on these occasions, and everyone is to salute during the entire anthem.

      I do not know what civilians do during Taps, but here is a link to TapsBugler.com that may tell you what you need to know. The military personnel who carry the casket and fold the flag—salute at various times during the ceremony, but once again, I do not know what a civilian is suppose to do. There are many, many videos now on YouTube taken at military funeral, and there are training videos, if you want to bring some up and watch them. I watched a half-dozen, but didn’t see any that showed what those attending the funeral did regarding the flag.

      Let me suggest that you telephone a local mortuary, and ask someone there. A funeral director is probably your best resource for this information. Thank you for writing, Kate, and best wishes, Deborah Hendrick

  20. Deborah,
    Good morning. I wrote to you on April the 26th regarding parade planning that included a question about the color guard (see above). Your advice was followed and it all worked out very well. Thank you for your common sense approach to the matter.
    Terry

  21. I am on a committee that is planning a 4th of July parade.

    First, what is the different between Parade Color Guard and the Parade Honor Guard (if there is such a thing)?

    Secondly, we were going to have a number of classic cars in our parade and due to the area we live in it will be extremely hot on the day of the parade. Thus, the classic cars will overheat if they have to stop and start on numerous occassions. To help alleviate this problem, we were going to send the classic cars off first and then place the Parade Color Guard in the parade. Does this vioate any type of protocol?

    Just as a side note, the local high school ROTC will be displaying the flag

    Thanks in advance for your assistance.

    1. Hi Tom. It would be an extreme breach of flag protocol and etiquette to place the Color Guard anywhere else in the parade except in the lead position. The high school ROTC unit may be comprised of teenagers, but they have taken an oath of allegiance and are considered an active-duty unit. As such, the ROTC Color Guard is entitled to the same respect and honor that would be given to a full military unit.

      Color Guard and Honor Guard are often used interchangeably, but the honor guards are the men (or women) who march in the outer most positions on each end, generally carrying rifles. It is their honor—their job—to protect the flag against all harm.

      Thank you for writing, Tom. Gook Luck with the parade.

      Best Wishes, Deborah

  22. Got a ? If I have the US flag, POW/MIA flag, VFW Post flag, Kansas Flag and VFW Auxiliary Flag in a ceremony what order so they go in? Thanks!

    1. Oh Linda, this is the kind of question that gives me gray hair, because the answer makes some people so unhappy, and then they get mad at me.

      From the right-most position going forward: The U.S. flag, the Kansas state flag, the VFW flag, the VFW Auxiliary flag, and lastly the POW/MIA flag.

      Here’s why: Obviously the U.S. flag takes the position of highest honor, the right most position. To my knowledge, no state in the Union permits any other flag to fly above it, or to be ordered before it except for the U.S. flag—so the Kansas flag stands next to the U.S. flag.

      The next three organizations are all 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, and the U.S. State Department, by protocol, orders non-profit organizations by the dates of their congressional charters. The VFW was chartered in 1936, and the VFW Auxiliary was chartered in 1946. The National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia (to whom to POW/MIA flag belongs) received its congressional charter in 1970. (Special consideration by law for the POW/MIA flag to fly under the U.S. flag applies only to federal installations, which do not fly any flag except the national flag.)

      Thank you for writing, Linda. Best Wishes, Deborah Hendrick

  23. Deborah,
    Thank you for such a speedy reply. I just wish this info was not so hard to find and someone could make up their minds on how to do it the right way. Thank you for taking the time to care about this issue! God bless you and our beautiful country!

  24. Hello,
    I am a member of our county Sheriff’s Mounted Posse and we have just finished our parade season last night. We have had to fight to be in the lead with the colors because we are mounted, our feeling is if a VFW unit is participating we play second fiddle. The last night the parade committee placed us 3/4 back in a long parade (they had a VFW unit with honors) should we have not been behind them? This really upset me that we were dumped to the back carrying the colors we are the only other color guard. Was this proper protocol?

    Thank you for any help,
    Leslie

    1. I share your frustration, Leslie. When I was a youngster growing up in a small west Texas town, our parades (Homecoming, Christmas, Fourth of July) always began with the Color Guard provided by the Sheriff’s Mounted Posse. I loved the horses, and the sound of their hooves on the pavement, and seeing the colors held so high. But it is very common now for a lot of Color Guards to be in the same parade, so the protocol does become a bit trickier.

      Let me give you a general outline of “who goes first,” so you will know for future reference. A full military Color Guard, if present, will always take the lead position. A military Color Guard would not show up at a civilian parade without a specific invitation, so presumably, there would never be a conflict about them leading the parade. A college ROTC unit would be next, but once again, a college unit most likely would not show up to march in a parade without being invited. A high school unit, Jr. ROTC, could register to participate in a parade without knowing that they have the third highest priority to the lead Color Guard position. These people are all under an active duty oath, and as such (even the high schoolers) they are accorded the honor of carrying the Colors before all others.

      Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) such as the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Vietnam Veterans Association very often feel that they have the strongest right to carrying the Colors (after the active duty units) because of their previous service to the country. I can’t imagine a parade that would not give an honored position within the parade to these veterans, but VSOs are also 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, and as such, their order of protocol is shared with other non-profits. I am going to assume that the Sheriff’s Mounted Posse is also a 501(c)(3) organization, too, along with the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, the VFW Auxiliary, and so on.

      Predicated by the strictest U.S. State Department protocol, these organizations would be ordered by the dates of their congressional charters (oldest goes first). In a small community or in a parade that is a yearly event, the diplomatic parade organizer will rotate the various organizations so each one has an opportunity to carry the parade Colors throughout the years. It sounds like the Sheriff’s Mounted Posse has never been given the honor of leading the parade, and that’s a shame.

      Between now and the next parade, let me suggest that someone from the Sheriff’s Mounted Posse host a meeting with the commander of the VFW, and the appropriate parade organizers. The VFW assumes the Color Guard is their right (and by congressional charter, they may well be an older organization than the Sheriff’s Mounted Posse), but the VFW would probably yield if they realized how important it is for everyone to share in the honor of carrying the Colors.

      However, there is no dishonor in being staged somewhere else in the parade (not in the lead) and still carrying the Colors. I have seen parades where there were many organizations, all carrying flags. If I were staging a parade, and had more than one organization carrying the Colors, I would not line them up in a row at the front. I would place them throughout the parade because it would make for a better—more interesting and colorful—parade.

      The Q & A at this Daily Flag article, Protocol questions—Parades, the Pledge, and the National Anthem, contains a lot of good information that you might like to read at your leisure. Unfortunately, a lot of groups have this same problem.

      Thank you for writing, Leslie, and I hope this helps. Best wishes, Deborah

  25. I’ve seen too many men and women bicker about their positions in parades. To be asked to be a part of a patriotic one seems to be a privilege in it’s own. Like all things – no one can make everyone happy. But at a recent local parade, the politicians were placed last…behind the fire truck that always “closes” the event. There were very few complaints about that!

  26. Thank you Deborah,
    I thought I put in my question to you that we have lead this parade for at least the last five years. It has been a fight to get there, the VFW has not wanted to lead until this year and I have no problem with that its just that I felt they dishonored us by placing us way in the back. Thank you for your help.
    Leslie

  27. Good morning,
    My business is participating in a parade over the weekend and plan on making a US “flag” on the back of our float out of balloons or something similar. We won’t have the correct number of stars or stripes, but it will be easily recognized as a depiction of the US Flag. Is this going against proper flag protocol? My husband (who is dealing with getting everything correct for our Cub Scouts & Boy Scouts) thinks it may be. I think since we are not using a true flag that it is not. Could you help clear this up for us?
    Thanks much!

    1. Dear Sara,

      Reading from the U.S. Flag Code, at Section 7. Position and manner of display
      [ … . ]
      (a) The flag should not be displayed on a float in a parade except from a staff, or as provided in subsection (i) of this section.
      (b) The flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle or of a railroad train or a boat. When the flag is
      displayed on a motorcar, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.

      Reading from the U.S. Flag Code, Section 8 Respect for the flag
      [ … .]
      (i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.

      If used on a float, the flag should be on a staff. Moreover, a “flag” or a “depiction of a flag” made out of balloons could only be described as ephemeral—for temporary use and discarded. It would be an egregious breach of flag etiquette and protocol.

      At the top of The Daily Flag is a link to the entire U.S. Flag Code by sections. It can be read in fifteen minutes, and I encourage you to do so. A business is in a tricky position when it comes to displaying the flag, and advertising the business. Any carelessness in displaying the flag would result in the worst kind of attention to your business, instead of making people think kindly about it. If you want to use a flag, use a real flag (and all the balloons you want everywhere else).

      Thank you for writing. Best wishes on your parade float.
      Deborah Hendrick

  28. Deborah–In parade precedence where do the Auxilliries come? I have always thought they came after all military color guards and civilian military organization color guards. Some think the Legion Auxilliary should come right after the Legion Color Guard. Any help and documentation would be greatly appreciated—thanks–Dave

    1. Hello Dave—I’m sorry about the delay in responding to you.

      From the beginning of our country, the established order of protocol has been predicated on the date of an organization’s Congressional charter or incorporation. That is why the Army goes first, followed by the Marine Corp, then Navy, Air Force, and finally the Coast Guard—that is the order in which they were chartered.

      The U.S. State Department, in keeping with that tradition, orders all VSOs (Veterans Service Organizations) by their dates of charter. As 501(c)(3) civilian not-for-profit organizations, all VSOs and other civilian organizations (such as the Boy Scouts, the Daughters of the American Revolution for example) stand on equal footing within the charter protocol.

      It is entirely possible that any number of women auxiliaries—based on their dates of charter—would march after their “host” VSO—having most likely been chartered within a few years of the host organization (of course, the ladies’ auxiliary is a VSO too, but it is my understanding that a ladies aux. cannot charter without a host). So a local American Legion and their subsequent Ladies Auxiliary charter, if it was chartered before local VFW post, then the Ladies would in fact be entitled to march ahead of the the VFW post (as example). They could ALL be marching behind the Daughters of the American Revolution, if the DAR showed up.

      I have no doubt that most of the ladies groups would yield their position to the Veterans, but in a small community or where the same parade is held each year, a wise and prudent parade organizer would keep careful records and rotate “who goes first.” Of course there can only be one official Color Guard, which can carry the organizational flags of those marching behind, or those individual organizations can carry the Colors again, along with their personal flag.

      Regarding documentation: I use the various Armed Forces flag manuals; a book: The Complete Handbook of Diplomatic, Official and Social Usage by Mary Jane McCaffree, Pauline Innis, and Richard M. Sand; and government web sites as needed. And I am a ruthless and prolific telephone caller. I will pick up the phone and call anyone, anywhere, and wait for an answer.

      Also, I have answered many similar questions at this particular posting. Reading all the Q & A here will be most useful.

      Thank you for writing, and Best Wishes,
      Deborah Hendrick

  29. We are participating in a funeral for a longstanding supporter of our mounted unit this Friday. The plan is to be present in front of the church as the family, congregation and pall bearers enter the church. Here’s my question, the deceased was a former superior officer in The National Guard and therefore would not be considered a veteran having not seen active duty and there will be no flag draped coffin. Would it nonetheless be appropriate to present the colors or would protocol dictate that we pay our respect by attending only as a mounted contingent?

    Greatly appreciate your quick response and thanks for your great effort.

    1. Gene, I apologize for not responding sooner, but I have been very ill. Regardless of anything you decide, it is always appropriate to attended the funeral as a mounted group. Best Wishes, Deborah

    2. Gene, I apologize for not responding sooner; I have been very ill.
      Using a mounted contingent at the funeral would be perfect appropriate.
      Best Wishes, Deborah

  30. Deborah, Great site…thank you so much! I do have to ask, though, what do you cite as your source of information for the following: “A high school unit, Jr. ROTC, could register to participate in a parade without knowing that they have the third highest priority to the lead Color Guard position. These people are all under an active duty oath, and as such (even the high schoolers) they are accorded the honor of carrying the Colors before all others.” I’m the lead instructor for an AFJROTC unit and neither I (retired Lt Col), my co-hort (retired MSgt), nor any of our cadets are under an active duty oath. In fact, we are cautioned to play down any suggestion that we’re a recruiting tool; our cadets have NO obligation to enter military service upon graduation. The same holds true for many senior ROTC students; if they’re not on scholarship and are in the first two years of the ROTC program, they have taken no oath and are under no obligation to enter military service. Also, what about precedence for National Guard or Reserve color/honor guards if they haven’t been activated? Thanks again and take care.

    1. Karen, thank you for writing. I will double check my resources and respond, but it will be next week. Thank you, Deborah.

    2. Thank you Karen, for your patience. I have been unwell for the past few months from chemotherapy, so I have not gone back through my research as much as I’d wanted to. I must have assumed that because the Army ROTC and Navy/Marine ROTC take oaths, that the Air Force ROTC did the same. It does appear (now that I look closer) that only the most senior of these cadets take the oath of allegiance, if they so desire.

      My source (going from memory now) for the order of precedence came from the flag manuals of the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force. My links to the various flag manuals no longer work, but I do recall that the Air Force flag manual was the most lengthy and detailed of all the services, and I think the AF manual is the one that provided the most detailed and specific order of precedence.

      It is my opinion that a National Guard unit would still be considered an “active” unit because of its design and specific function, and I feel the same about a reserve unit. The National Guard must be ready to “go” at all times (and I didn’t mean to overlook the National Guard or reserve units). But Color Guards from these kinds of military units likely would not show up at a civilian parade without an invitation.

      I do stand by my original assertion (though being terribly wrong about the oath), that a Jr. ROTC unit would have the third order of precedence. All ROTC units operate under the authority and aegis of their respective military branch, and that gives them unique status. This makes some veterans unhappy occasionally, and I don’t want to get crosswise with our veterans because I have the such respect for them, but VSOs (veterans service organizations) are civilian organizations.

      Please write again, or telephone (830-899-4464) if you have more questions or want to talk about any of this.

      Best Wishes, Deborah Hendrick

  31. I know this is a unique situation, but you seem to have all the answers.
    I am creating a display that will have the flags of France and Texas, hanging flat against the wall. From your answers above I suspect that the French flag should be on the viewer’s left, and the Texas flag would be on the viewer’s right?
    I hope you’re well enough to answer.

    1. Paul, thank you for writing. Because a U.S. national flag is not being included in this display (which then would be U.S., France, Texas), then I believe the Texas flag would take the “host” or national position, and be hung in the left-most position, as seen by the viewer.

      If an “official” French delegation were visiting the state capitol in Austin, we would certainly welcome them with enthusiasm, but I don’t believe we would fly the French flag in a superior position, or hang it to the right of, the state flag of Texas (the left-most position, as viewed from in front). I hope this helps.

      I am greatly improved, heath-wise, and by late summer I should be back to normal. Best wishes, Deborah Hendrick.

  32. our local fraternity of eagles would like to ride their motor cycles BEFORE the color gaurd before the police escort…essentially leading the parade.
    I told them I thought nothing but the colors lead of parades, could you please help me with a definate protcol.

    1. Hi John. Your question is one that comes up more often that you’d think. There is no rule that says a civilian parade must carry the Colors, and there is no rule in the U.S. Flag Code that says the Colors must lead the parade. But we civilians borrow heavily from the traditions and regulations of our military—just as the military often looks to and defers to the Flag Code for guidance. In a military parade the Color Guard always leads the parade. So military rules and regulations, have by tradition become part of civilian etiquette and protocol.

      The motorcycles could ride out way in front, but it would make everyone watching the parade wonder why the Eagles didn’t want to be in the parade, or wonder if the organization had been banned from the parade. I suspect that the Eagles wanted to go out ahead to announce that the Colors and the parade were approaching—a very exuberant way of saying Heads up everyone—The Flag is coming!

      I appreciate the good intentions, but it’s a bad idea, and I fear it would bring down a firestorm of criticism and unintentionally sully the reputation of the organization. Permit me to suggest this idea: what if the Eagles rode last in the parade. It would be a a great visual and a thrilling finish to the parade, and be a kind of “we’ve got your back” message that promotes the Fraternal Order of Eagles.

      Thank you for writing, John. Good luck and Best Wishes, Deborah Hendrick

  33. I thought in a parade the color guard was always the first unit before any other unit to show respect for our nations flag.

    1. There is nothing in the U.S. Code that says a civilian parade must have a Color Guard, or that the Color Guard must lead the parade. Military parades are a different case, and a Color Guard will always lead a military parade. Americans tend to combine civilian code and military code, which occasionally causes some misunderstandings. By tradition and history, if a Color Guard does indeed participate in a civilian parade, then it is assumed and expected that it will lead the parade, and woe unto those who would stage the Color Guard anywhere else. I personally consider it an egregious breach of protocol and etiquette to place the Color Guard anywhere except at the lead of a parade.

      Occasionally, there are multiple Color Guards in a parade, but there should always be a lead Color Guard if there is one present.

      Thank you for writing, Frank. Best wishes, Deborah Hendrick

  34. Using your parade above please explain when it is appropriate to stand and salute the flag.
    Should it be the first flag, the color guard flag, only. Should it be all US flags that pass? This was brought to mind today in our salute to the verterans parade in Bandera, TX. It ws a small parade with numerous flags paraded in front of us. In fact some were so close that what you would be in a constant salute position for the passing of multiple flags. I like your comments and was very happy to find this site.

    1. Hi John— Aren’t small parades a delight! I like them best of all.

      I salute (a heart salute) the first “official” Color Guard, and all subsequent Color Guards, although saluting the first one is sufficient. But I think if an organization wants to show up at a parade with their Color Guard, then I should salute them, too. I don’t necessarily acknowledge a “single” flag, flags on bicycles or motorcycles, children carrying flags, flags on floats, et cetera. Although on some occasions I have saluted a single flag, but it was because of how serious the flag bearer was. If a veterans organization were riding on a float that displayed the Colors as though it were a Color Guard, then I would salute them, too.

      I know this doesn’t help, but after the first Color Guard, it’s a judgement call.

      Thank you for writing, John.
      Best wishes, Deborah Hendrick

  35. I have been involved for several years with preparing the line up of our annual city festival and Christmas parades. The VFW has always started our parades with the presentation of the Colors. Some years, we have had someone available from the Sheriff’s Department to lead the Colors with one patrol car but not always. This has never been an issue with members of our community. We have a new Sheriff who is very gung ho with participating in these local events, which is great. In our last city festival parade we received entries for the Sheriff, the Bomb Squad, the Swat Team, the Mounted Possee, the Mobile Command Post etc. These entries were disbursed throughout the parade lineup with the Sheriff leading off for the Color Guard. The Sheriff did not want to lead off for the Color Guard but instead wanted all of the units that had signed up to be lined up together and so we changed the lineup at the last minute. Now, in our Christmas parade yesterday, we had many units from the Sheriff’s Dept once again sign up to participate. In the lineup, we placed them all together but later in the parade. The Color Guard was upset that they did not have a lead patrol car. I did not think it appropriate to place the Sheriff, Swat Team, Bomb Squad, Mobile Command Post etc before the Colors. Was I wrong? I am preparing for our 100th Festival Parade now and want to ensure that I handle this situation correctly in the future.

    1. Hi Joni. You did the right thing. A civilian parade is under no obligation to have a Color Guard, but by tradition, we generally want one, and if a Color Guard is present, then it would be a breach of protocol and etiquette to place the Color Guard anywhere except in parade’s lead position. I have never lived where the local law enforcement agency (county sheriff or local police) did not automatically provide a patrol car to protect the parade route and the parade participants. So I am very surprised that the Sheriff in your community does not regard that as regular (two or three times a year, maybe?) service to the community. I think the VFW Color Guard had a right to be upset.

      It is splendid of course, that the Sheriff’s Department would have so many entries in the parade. I would want to separate them too, but I can see how the Sheriff would want to mass them together—there are very few occasions when there is an opportunity to showcase the Department in such a positive way (no one want to see the bomb squad parked in their block).

      I am a strong advocate for one or more pre-parade planning meetings. Perhaps in the new year, you and one or two officers from the VFW Post can have a private meeting with the Sheriff, to ask about a deputy and patrol car escort for the next parade. If he does not feel that to be a function of his office, then you will have enough time to plan for and secure another source of protection—rather like hiring off- duty cops for funeral escorts, or directing traffic at large churches on Sunday, or around road construction sites. If paying for an off-duty patrolman/car does not fit into the budget, I’d ask the fire department if they could provide a small vehicle, or maybe the Fire Chief himself would be honored to provide the service.

      Good luck Joni.
      Best wishes,
      Deborah

  36. Our town is planning a parade for an upcomming holiday. A vete ra ns color guard will probably not be available. Can you give me 2 apprpriate ways to have just the American Flag leading the parade within the code regulation? We want to lead the parade with the flag, but want to do it properly.

    Thanks,
    Denny

    1. Dennis, since we spoke on the phone, I’ll skip responding here.

  37. Our sons are the flag bearers (U.S. and Missouri)in our local July 4th parade. This year our 3 little grandsons will be junior flag bearers, carrying the Armed Forces flag, American Legion flag and Christian flag. Our question is what order should the 3 little boys be in, following their Dads? Thanks, Dawn

  38. I belong to a local POW*MIA organization and fly the American flag on the right rear of my motorcycle and the POW*MIA flag on the left rear. This is OK but when we are leading a parade, some in the organization state that the American flag must come off because other flags in the route would be higher than the American flag on the motorcycle. Are they correct?

    Thanks

  39. I found your site because I was looking for an answer to the question that Denny asked: what to do if we cannot get a color guard for our parade (town festival). Actually, my situation is a little more problematic because the guy organizing the parade neither knows what a color guard is nor (since I explained) wants one. I still am hopeful that our nearest Legion post will come through, but I’d like to have an alternative – even if I have to enter the parade myself!
    I sure hope your site is still active. Thanks.

    1. Hi Linda! I’m still here, though I no longer post new articles about flags. The Flag Code (found here: http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/04c1.txt ) is silent on the topic of Color Guards. So we as civilians, often look to the military for instructions or to provide the Color Guard for us. That’s fine, but not strictly necessary.

      The simple fact is that any of us can carry the flags as a Color Guard. If you want to line up three bankers in their suits and your granddaughter in her Easter dress to be the Color Guard (for example) there is no one who can tell you it’s wrong. There is a family in Missouri that has been providing their town a horseback Color Guard for decades—now with their third generation of riders. By military rules and tradition, by civilian tradition and history, if there is a Color Guard—it always leads the parade. A parade doesn’t have to have a Color Guard, but by tradition, and custom—we want one. We expect to see one. Some parades have so many that they have to be spread out through the entire length of the parade.

      If the organizer of your town’s festival parade doesn’t want or understand the value of having a Color Guard, there’s not much you can do about it. Appeal to a higher authority in the festival committee, I guess. But yes—you can carry the Colors, even if it is you carrying the U.S. flag all by yourself. But I bet you can find some friends to walk with you (and maybe the Legion will lend you their flags and flag equipment when you explain the situation to them).

      While the Flag Code does not provide specific instructions regarding a Color Guard, the Code serves as its own commentary and cross reference for flag usage. So all other “rules” apply: no other flag to the right of the U.S. flag, for example.

      Best wishes, Linda, for a lovely parade with the Colors flying.
      Deborah Hendrick

      P.S. If you can’t lead the parade, it’s ok. Sometimes we have to look beyond that which is customary and tradition.

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