The Right Way to Let Freedom Fly for Memorial Day

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With Memorial Day this weekend, we thought it’d be a good time to dust off a few DIY tips to help you get your flags up and flying high.

There are standards to follow when flying the American flag.  According to the United States Flag Code: “No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America.”  As you prepare to bring out the stars and stripes, here are a few rules and etiquette to help ensure the honor and respect of the flag with a careful, thoughtful display:

Handle with care.   Always handle the flag carefully. It should not touch the ground, become worn or soiled.  Flags should also be folded with the same care and respect.

Union Up.  When flying the American flag, it should be displayed with the blue union up, except as a distress signal in times of dire emergency.  So, if you fly your flag from a staff, make sure the union is stationed at the staff’s peak, and if the flag is displayed on a flat surface outside or inside the home, the union should be uppermost and to the flag’s own right; that is, to the observer’s left.

Another important etiquette: never use the flag as a wrapping or any other sort of decoration. That’s what red, white and blue bunting is for.


Raise briskly.  When hoisting the flag, raise it briskly. Lower it ceremoniously to a recipient’s waiting hands and arms, taking care that no part of it touches the ground or any nearby objects along the way. Then fold the flag neatly and carefully for storage.

Lights on.  When flying the American flag at night, make sure there is a light on it at all times. Pick a spot that’s illuminated by a porch or street light, or consider installing sensor lights that automatically come on in the evening.


No ads please.  The American Flag should never be used for advertising or printed onto anything designed for disposal, such as napkins and paper plates. The Stars and Stripes should also not be embroidered onto furniture, cushions and handkerchiefs, or worn as clothing. Flag pins are OK to wear; however, as a rule, they should be displayed on the left lapel, nearest the heart.

Dispose with dignity.  If the flag becomes worn out, make sure to dispose of it properly, preferably by burning it.

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So next time you’re driving down your street and pulling into the driveway of your beautiful home, think about flying the American flag. Use these rules and etiquette to honor and respect the symbol of freedom that has made so many things possible for Americans.

0 thoughts on “The Right Way to Let Freedom Fly for Memorial Day

  1. Thanks for this article. Seems like many people need a heads up about the Flag Code, and a reminder to treat our nation’s flag with dignity. One request, though. PLEASE DON’T DISPOSE OF A WORN FLAG BY BURNING IT. When flags were made of cotton or wool, it wasn’t such a bad way to dispose of them. Now they’re made of nylon and other petroleum based synthetic materials. When you burn them, not only do they smell nasty, you’re polluting the environment with harmful gases. Do an internet search for an environmentally safe way to recycle or dispose of your flag.

  2. Hello, we have just purchased a beautiful 3′ x 5 ‘ American Flag. We have a very bright porch light shining on it from dusk till dawn. Is that not good enough? We just want to be completely respectful. The porch light is just as bright as a f;ood light. Please advise us. Thanks.

  3. Lights on- I always thought the flag deserved a dedicated light, not some ambient light from a porchlight.

    I think the worst breech of etiquette is when people have a shirt or tie that is designed like a flag. A picture of a flag should be okay but the whole flag designed as a shirt or tie should be a no-no. And don’t get me started on the lawn chairs that are designed like a flag. Would you sit your butt on a real flag?

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