Best Custom Flags Discusses Military Flag Code and Flagpole Etiquette

Laurie Olsen Custom Flag Tips

The United States Flag represents for US citizens not only our nation’s shared history but our country’s principles, values, and victories. The flag remains a powerful symbol, and when displayed correctly, it demonstrates the respect Americans feel for this great nation. For this reason, all American and military flags must be displayed according to the specific rules set out by the US Flag Code. As one of America’s leading flag manufacturers, Best Custom Flags recognizes the significance of flag code and hopes to share some of its rules and guidelines within this blog. 

What is the US Flag Code

The United States Flag Code establishes advisory rules for displaying and caring for the United States national flag. It is listed in Chapter 1 of Title 4 of the United States Code. The Flag Code was developed as a set of flag etiquette guidelines in 1923 by the American Legion and was later adopted by Congress in 1942.

Rules of Displaying the American Flag or Military Flags

  • When military flags are displayed in a row, the United States flag goes to the viewer’s left. Flags from other nations are flown at the same height, while state and local flags are flown lower. 
  • When the United States flag is displayed on a podium, the flag should be placed on the speaker’s right while all other flags should be placed to the left. 
  • When the United States flag is displayed horizontally or vertically against a flat surface or wall, the union, known as the blue field of stars, should be uppermost and the flag’s right to the observer’s left. 



Rules of Flying Military Flags on Flagpoles

  • The United States flag and military flagpole flags can be displayed on flagpoles from sunrise to sunset. The flags may be displayed 24-hours a day if they are properly illuminated throughout the night. 
  • On special days, flagpole flags may be flown at half-staff. Half staff is a term that means that a flag is flown at one-half the distance between the top and the bottom of the staff, otherwise known as a flagpole. For example, on Memorial Day, the flag is flown at half-staff until noon and then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day. 
  • When a flag is flown at half-staff, it should first be housed to the peak of the flagpole for an instant, and then slowly lowered to the half-staff position and then raised again to the peak before finally being lowered for the day.