top of page
  • Writer's picturePinewood News

Guidelines for Honoring the American Flag

American Flag

“The American flag carries a profound symbol of unity, resilience, and pride", as beautifully expressed by Franklin K. Lane, former Secretary of the Interior under President Woodrow Wilson. He wrote, "I am what I am, and I am proud. I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color, a symbol of yourself, the pictured suggestion of that big thing which makes this nation."

Understanding the proper etiquette for displaying our flag not only rekindles a sense of collective spirit and optimism, but also becomes a meaningful way to show reverence for the Stars and Stripes. Inspired by Lane’s profound words, we come to realize that the American flag encompasses our dreams and our labors, shining brightly with cheer, courage, and faith. It represents the remarkable story of our nation, where each of us plays a vital role in its creation.

While these guidelines are not mandatory, they hold the power to uplift our hearts and celebrate the enduring spirit of our country. By honoring the flag, we honor ourselves and the unity, resilience, and pride it represents. Let us embrace the opportunity to display it with reverence, for we are the makers of the flag, and it is through our collective efforts that its symbolism shines brightly for all to see.

Displaying the American Flag

How to display the American flag with utmost respect and pride:


  • When hanging the flag vertically on a wall, window, or door, make sure the blue Union is on the left side as you face it.

  • For horizontal or vertical display against a wall, remember to position the Union on the left.

  • During a procession, let the American flag take the honored position on the right, whether it’s the only flag or leading a line of flags.


  • If you’re using a staff to display the flag from a building, raise it to the peak with the Union at the top.

  • When the flag is not on a staff, you can either lay it flat or suspend it in a way that allows it to gracefully fall, giving the impression of being staffed.

  • On a street, if you’re suspending the flag vertically, let the Union be to the north on east-west streets or to the east on north-south streets.

  • For special events or speaking engagements, position the flag above and behind the speaker, ensuring the Union is uppermost and to the left as you face it.

  • In churches or auditoriums, where the flag is displayed with a staff, place it at the speaker’s right, signifying its position of honor.

Hoisting & Lowering

  • When raising the flag, do it with a sense of enthusiasm, hoisting it briskly to full mast.

  • Lowering the flag should be done with solemnity and grace, honoring its significance.

  • If you’re displaying the flag at half-staff, first raise it to the peak for a brief moment, then lower it to halfway. Before the day ends, raise it to the peak once more and then lower it. Half-staff is a position midway between the top and bottom of the staff and is reserved for specific occasions, such as honoring fallen heroes.


  • Never fly the flag if it is weathered or torn.

  • Alway have a light on the flag from sunset to sunrise.

  • Do not fly the flag in rain, snow or heavy winds.

Embracing the Flag’s Spirit

The American flag symbolizes our shared values, resilience, and hope. Let’s ensure we treat it with the utmost care and respect, showcasing its splendor and inviting a sense of unity. By embodying the flag’s spirit, we can ignite a renewed sense of pride and togetherness in our great nation.

Proper Disposal of the American Flag

When the time comes to retire a worn or tattered flag, let us do so with dignity and reverence. Consider reaching out to local American Legion posts, who often hold annual ceremonies for flag retirement, or contact local Mundsie Mark Simon at (703) 548-6662. He will collect your flag and take it to the American Legion for you. Together, we can ensure the flag is disposed of properly, honoring its symbolism and the principles it represents.


bottom of page