How to Fly the American Flag

You put it up, right? Yeah, but you ought to do it correctly!

When hanging from a pole, the canton (that's the blue part) goes on the top. If you fly the flag with the canton on the bottom, that's a distress signal.

If you want to fly the flag "flat" (that is, not on a pole, but against a wall or in a doorway), it depends on whether the flag is hung horizontally or vertically.

When the flag is flown at half-staff (sometimes mistakenly called "half-mast"), it first should be raised to its high position for a moment and then lowered half-way.

To lower a flag flown at half-staff, first raise it to is high position and then bring it down.

On Memorial day, the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon and then raised to high position thereafters.

Sometimes the President or a state governor may direct that the flag be flown at half-staff.

The proper way to fly the flag is to:

When the flag passes by, as at a parade, put your right hand over your heart until the flag passes you. Military personnel in uniform will salute.

Place your hand over your heart and face the flag during the singing/playing of our National Anthem (gentlemen, remove your hats). If you can't see the flag (as at a baseball or football game), face forward with your hand over your heart. If you can see the flag, face it.

When your flag is worn, dispose of it by burning in a dignified manner. I find a VFW or American legion post or a similar organization. Often they do flag-burning ceremonies, particularly on Flag Day (June 14). (Be sure to contribute something to their community education programs.)

For more inforation, see This site has information on the history of the flag, the origin of the name "Old Glory," and a host of other interesting information.

If you are not flying the flag at your home, I urge you to do so, in honor of our country and all the people who have served it.

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