Common Questions About United States Flag Etiquette

Laurie Olsen Fun With Flags

The United States flag, commonly called the Stars and Stripes, is a symbol of the country, and it should be treated with proper respect, since it symbolizes everyone in the country without making any political distinctions or judgments. But while some of the etiquette around the flag is well-known, such as never letting it touch the ground or never displaying it upside-down except as a symbol of extreme distress, we wanted to highlight some of the other questions that people often have:

Should the flag only be displayed during the daytime?

The flag can be displayed at night, as long as it is properly illuminated, meaning that it can be seen from a reasonable distance.

Can the flag be displayed on vehicles?

The flag should be flown from a staff fixed to the right (passenger) side of a vehicle. It should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of the vehicle.

Can other flags be flown from the same pole as the U.S. Flag?

Multiple flags can be flown from the same pole, but the United States flag should always be at the top. However, flags of other countries should be flown on a separate pole, rather than on the same pole as the U.S. flag.

When should the flag be flown at half-staff?

Flags flown at half-staff are a sign of mourning. The U.S. flag should be flown at half-staff for thirty days following the death of the President or a former President and for ten days following the day of death of the Vice President, the Chief Justice or a retired Chief Justice of the United States, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Other rules apply for other members of the national government, and there may also be occasions in which the Governor of a U.S. state or territory proclaims that the flag should be flown at half-staff in the event of the death of a present or former government official of that state or territory.

If a flag is fixed to a pole and cannot be lowered to half-staff, which is common for residences that display the flag, two black ribbons can be attached to the pole (not the flag itself) to show respect.

Where should the flag be placed when displayed indoors?

When displayed on a floor stand, in a location such as behind a speaker, the U.S. flag should be placed to the speaker’s right, or the audience’s left. If the flag is hung in the entrance to a building, it should be suspended vertically, with the union (field of stars) to the observer’s left upon entering.

Can the flag be flown in bad weather?

During weather such as rain, sleet, or snow, the flag can remain flying as long as it is made of all-weather material.

Do you have any other questions about displaying the United States flag? Do you want to know more about purchasing flags, poles, or other ways to display the U.S. flag? Please contact us for more information.