Flying the U.S. Flag right—made simple
This series is intended for a company or individual that wants to fly the U.S. flag correctly—without offending anyone. The genesis of this idea was a conversation with a banker whose beautiful flagpole stood naked in front of the bank. She asked me the question, "Why is it so hard to flying the flag right?" I thought the question deserved a good answer.
In part three of Flying the flag right, I gave a brief overview of the ten sections of the U.S. Flag Code. In that article, it became apparent that we need only concern ourselves with Sections 6, 7, and 8 of the Flag Code to stay in good standing with the flag police.
Each of these sections focuses on a different aspect of flag flying behavior and the titles give a big hint into what each addresses. The section titles are:
Section 6: Time and occasions for display
Section 7: Position and manner of display
Section 8: Respect for flag
Let’s take a look at each of these and see what is pertinent to us in order to fly our flag daily or on named days.
This section contains seven subsections labeled (a) through (g) addressing when to fly the flag. For most people, (c) through (g) don’t apply, leaving us with (a) and (b). Do you see how easy this is?
Let me quickly discuss (c) through (g) for clarification.
- (c) addresses inclement weather—almost all flags produced today are all-weather flags so you don’t have to concern yourself with this one.
- (d) lists days of the year to fly the flag if you don’t fly it daily, but since we fly it daily, this isn’t a problem … right?
- (e)(f)(g) gives instructions for government buildings, polling places, and schools. Since we’re flying our flags in front of our businesses or homes, these don’t apply.
(a) states that the flag is to fly in daylight hours only, unless the flag is illuminated, and
(b) simply says, raise the flag briskly and lower it ceremoniously.
See, I told you this was easy. If you don’t have a permanent flagpole, you don’t even have to worry about (b). Just place your flag in the holder on the front of the building or porch and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
With sixteen subsections, Section 7 is probably the most complicated because it covers how the American flag is flown in relationship with other flags. It goes into great detail about International flags, parades, and hanging the U.S. flag over streets and on walls. These are not the sort of things we really need to worry about just to fly our flags out front. So what do we need to worry about?
The U.S. flag goes on top if you have a single flagpole and to it’s own right is you have more than one flagpole. I showed illustrations about the flags own right in Part II of this series.
The only other detail from Section 7 you need to pay attention to is the half-staff occasions. I wrote an article about flying the U.S. flag at half-staff, including the specified days, which are part of the U.S. Flag Code.
Section 8 contains eleven sections numbered from (a) to (k). If your desire is to fly the flag properly in front of your business or home, there is only one of these that you need to remember, (k):
(k) The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.
The rest address cover the upside-down distress signal, advertising, using the flag as a cover, and a few others that do apply, but not if your flag is flying on a pole out front.
Summarizing the Basics
That’s it for flying the flag right. If you follow these few simple rules, you will be in good shape with your flag flying. The rest of the U.S. Flag Code is important, especially if someone wants to show disrespect for the flag, but doesn’t know how. They can read the Flag Code and do exactly the opposite.
So to summarize the flag flying basics:
- 6(a) the flag flies in daylight hours only, unless the flag is illuminated.
- 6(b) raise the flag briskly and lower it ceremoniously.
- 7(c) the U.S. flag flies higher (if on same pole), or equal to and to the right of all other flags.
- 7(m) observe the three and one-half designated days for half-staff flying.
- 8(k) properly retire the flag when it’s at retirement age (and condition).
There you have the U.S. Flag Code broken down to it’s most basic components for those who wish to fly the flag properly in front of their business or home. There will be other days each year for lowering the flags to half-staff under Presidential or Gubernatorial proclamation, but those events are usually given lots of attention when they occur.
Subscribe to Receive Flag Flying Notices
Starting now, Flags Bay is sending out email notices of special flag flying days to everyone who sets up an account at the Flag Store. This doesn’t mean you have to buy something (of course you can if you want). This list is different than the new email subscription we introduced at the The Daily Flag last week, which emails new articles when they are written. The new flag flying notices will be a simple notification sent several days before a designated flag flying day, including the half-staff days.
Please make sure when setting up the account, you check the box labeled, "Subscribe to Our Newsletter." This will insure you receive the notices in time to fly the flag right.