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Armed Forces flag manuals—a permanent tab

DKH_23 A re-run of sorts … from a few months ago, when I wrote about and linked to the flag manuals of the Army, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard, and Air Force.

There is a permanent tab now, at the top of The Daily Flag, which contains the links to each of the Armed Forces flag manuals. Each one is fascinating reading, and I hope you will take the time to look through them.

2 thoughts on “Armed Forces flag manuals—a permanent tab

  1. When you are posting three flags in an auditorium American flag,POW/MIA flag and the (KANSAS)state flag: where do you place each flag?

    Where is the proper place for the POW/MIA flag?

    1. Hello Deb. This is an easy question to answer, but even if you do the correct placement, you will be criticized for it.

      The POW/MIA flag, greatly beloved and highly esteemed, is nevertheless the emblem of The National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia. The League of Families is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and as such, its iconic black POW/MIA flag does not take precedence over a state flag.

      The federal law that mandates flying the POW/MIA flag on six specific days each year, was written for federal installations only, and they do not fly state flags. Military bases and post offices, for example, only fly the U.S. flag. The law—which says to fly the POW/MIA flag directly beneath the U.S. flag on a flagpole— never anticipated the problem of flying the POW/MIA flag in conjunction with state flags, because a state flag takes precedence over any 501(c)(3) flag or banner (unless specifically changed by that state’s own flag code).

      Placement in an auditorium becomes tricky because customarily, as viewed from the audience, the flags have a split placement—U.S. flag stands on the left, and the state flag stands on the right. If you place the POW/MIA flag to the right of the state of Kansas flag (which would be the correct position according to standard etiquette and protocol as determined by the U.S. State Department, which makes these decisions), there are those who will think that the POW/MIA flag has been dishonored because it is not beside the U.S. flag.

      There is no protocol that insists the U.S. flag and a state flag must be separated across the state or auditorium; it is a long-standing custom. The only rule is that the U.S. flags must stand on its own marching “right”, or the left as viewed from the audience.

      So, as viewed from the audience, you can place the U.S. flag all the way to the left, put the state of Kansas flag next, and the POW/MIA flag next to the Kansas flag. If so desired—on each of those six specific days that the federal law gives special honor to the POW/MIA flag, it is permissible (and honorable) to temporarily remove the state of Kansas flag, and place the POW/MIA flag right beside the U.S. flag, which may not make everyone happy, but it solves the somewhat awkward issue of etiquette and protocol by not positioning the Kansas flag after the POW/MIA flag.

      I wrote a long article about the POW/MIA flag, which you may find useful. It can be found here.

      Best Wishes and thank you for writing, Deborah

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