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Flag Etiquette

How to Fly the U.S. Flag

The flag should be raised and lowered by hand. Never raise the flag while it is furled--unfurl, then hoist quickly to the peak of the flagstaff. It should be lowered slowly and ceremoniously. The flag should never be allowed to touch anything beneath it, such as the ground or the floor.

No other flag may be flown above The United States flag except at the United Nations Headquarters. The UN flag may be placed above flags of all member nations. In the UN enclave, national flags of all members are flown with equal prominence.

 

Displaying the U.S. Flag at Half Staff

The flying of the flag at half-staff is a sign of mourning. When flown at half-staff, the flag should be first hoisted to the peak, then immediately lowered to the half-staff position. It should be raised to the peak again for a moment before it is lowered for the day. “Half-staff" is the point midway between the top and bottom of the flagstaff. On Memorial Day in May, the flag should fly at half-staff from sunrise until noon, and at full-staff from noon until sunset.

 

Displaying the U.S. Flag with State, City or Corporate Flags

 

Displaying the U.S. Flag and Other Flags on the Same Halyard or Staff

When flags of states, cities, corporations or organizations are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the United States, the U.S. flag should always be at the peak. The flag beneath may be the same size or smaller than the American flag, but never larger.

 

Displaying the U.S. Flag and Other Flags on Separate Flagpoles of the Same Height

When flown from adjacent staffs of the same height, the U.S. flag should always be on the left as it is most commonly observed (the position of honor). The other flags being displayed may be the same size and flown at the same height, but never higher nor larger than the American flag. The U.S. flag should be raised first and lowered last.

 

Flags in an international display should be flown in the following order beginning from the furthest left (as they will be most commonly viewed): The U.S. flag, then International flags in alphabetical order, then state flags in alphabetical order, then corporate or organization flags.

 

Displaying the U.S. Flag and Other Flags on Separate Flagpoles of Different Heights

Many flag displays have a flagpole at the center which is taller than the others. The tallest flagpole would display the American flag, as that is the position of honor or prominence.

 

Other flags would be displayed in this order beginning from the furthest left (as they will be most commonly viewed): International flags in alphabetical order, then state flags in alphabetical order, then corporate or organization flags.

 

International flags could not be displayed in this configuration unless you put the U.S. flag on the flagpole to the furthest left as most commonly viewed, then fly all the other international flags in the same size and in alphabetical order at the same height. (The flag on the taller pole would not be flown at its peak, but lowered to be at the same height as all the others.)

 

State flags are normally displayed in the order of admittance to the State of the Union. However, they may be displayed in alphabetical order. The following is the date each state was admitted to the Union:
Delaware 7 Dec 1787 Michigan 26 Jan 1837
Pennsylvania 12 Dec 1787 Florida 3 Mar 1845
New Jersey 18 Dec 1787 Texas 29 Dec 1845
Georgia 2 Jan 1788 Iowa 28 Dec 1846
Connecticut 9 Jan 1788 Wisconsin 29 May 1848
Massachusetts 6 Feb 1788 California 9 Sep 1850
Maryland 28 Apr 1788 Minnesota 11 May 1858
South Carolina 23 May 1788 Oregon 14 Feb 1859
New Hampshire 21 Jun 1788 Kansas 29 Jan 1861
Virginia 25 Jun 1788 West Virginia 20 Jun 1863
New York 26 Jul 1788 Nevada 31 Oct 1864
North Carolina 21 Nov 1789 Nebraska 1 Mar 1867
Rhode Island 29 May 1790 Colorado 1 Aug 1876
Vermont 4 Mar 1791 North Dakota 2 Nov 1889
Kentucky 1 Jun 1792 South Dakota 2 Nov 1889
Tennessee 1 Jun 1796 Montana 8 Nov 1889
Ohio 1 Mar 1803 Washington 11 Nov 1889
Louisiana 30 Apr 1812 Idaho 3 Jul 1890
Indiana 11 Dec 1816 Wyoming 10 Jul 1890
Mississippi 10 Dec 1817 Utah 4 Jul 1896
Illinois 3 Dec 1818 Oklahoma 16 Nov 1907
Alabama 14 Dec 1819 New Mexico 6 Jan 1912
Maine 15 Mar 1820 Arizona 14 Feb 1912
Missouri 10 Aug 1821 Alaska 3 Jan 1959
Arkansas 15 Jun 1836 Hawaii 21 Aug 1959

 

Displaying the U.S. Flag with Flags of Other Nations

When the flags of two or more nations are displayed together they should be flown from separate staffs of the same height and all the flags should be approximately the same size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another in time of peace.

 

Flags in an international display should be flown in the following order beginning from the furthest left (as they will be most commonly viewed): The U.S. flag, then International flags in alphabetical order, then state flags in alphabetical order, then corporate or organization flags.