With the July 4th holiday next week, many of us are thinking about gathering with family and friends, cookouts, fireworks, sunscreen and bug spray! However, whether you’re entertaining at home, or just relaxing, chances are you’ll do a little decorating for the holiday. Many folks are unsure or unaware of the rules for hanging and flying the US flag. Here’s a quick how to for those of us who love displaying Old Glory!
While some homeowners enjoy displaying the flag year-around, others prefer exhibit the flag only on meaningful days of observance. While Memorial Day and Independence Day are widely known, here are other appropriate occasions for flag display: Inauguration Day (January 20, every four years), Martin Luther King’s Birthday (3rd Monday in January), Lincoln’s Birthday (February 12), Washington’s Birthday (3rd Monday in February), Armed Forces Day (3rd Saturday in May), Flag Day (June 14th), Patriots Day (September 11), Veterans Day (November 11) and Pearl Harbor Day (December 7).
Most of us will display our flags on a single wood or metal pole which is mounted to our home, porch, deck, fence or even a large tree. As you will read below, there are rules and code regarding US flags, and there are a few here to keep in mind in this application. If you are suspending your flag, either vertically or horizontally, the flag should hang so that the stars are in the upper left corner. When displaying more than one flag side by side – the US flag with a state flag, for example – the US flag should always be to the left from the observer’s eye.
Flagpoles and Code
If you own a flagpole, you might already know there is a US flag code. Code states that you may keep your flag raised each night, as long as it is illuminated; however, it is not customary to fly the flag from sunset to sunrise without illumination or during inclement weather. And, when it’s time to lower and remove your flag? There’s a traditional way to do that, too. Learn more at: http://www.usflag.org/foldflag.html
Reserved for honoring those who have fallen, flying a flag at half staff is a solemn event and typically only done by issue of a presidential order. You may receive such notifications by visiting: http://us.halfstaff.org/
Fans, Buntings and Hand-held Flags
Here’s where the rules end and the fun begins! Fans and buntings are the half-circular designs that can be draped along fences, deck and porch railings, and even window sills. The key here is to have proper scale of your decorations and your home. Kids will love decorating with hand-held flags – place them in container gardens, along walk-ways, window boxes, and more.
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