How to display the American flag

American flags

To honor the fallen members of our military, Americans observe Memorial Day on the last Monday of each May. The day is dedicated to remembering the sacrifices they made to protect our country’s freedoms.

To pay respect for these servicemen and women, the American Legion explains how to correctly display the American flag on Memorial Day and throughout the year:

  • Hoist the flag briskly and lower it ceremoniously.
  • The flag should always be displayed, especially on American days of observance and national holidays.
  • On Memorial Day, the flag should be flown at half-staff until noon and then raised to the top of the staff.
  • When displayed on a staff, the union of the flag must be at the top of the staff.
  • When hung horizontally or vertically, the union must be uppermost and on the flag’s right (the viewer’s left). The flag must be flat.
  • When displayed among other flags on staffs, the American flag must be foremost and center among the other staffs.
  • If displayed after dark, the flag must be illuminated with a light.
  • When the weather is inclement, the flag shouldn’t be displayed, unless it is an all-weather flag.
  • The flag must never touch the ground, floor, water or merchandise.
  • When displaying bunting, the blue should be at the top, the white in the middle and the red at the bottom.

Other guidelines

  • When carried with another flag, the American flag must be on the marching right or at the front center in a line of other flags.
  • When displayed with another flag cross-staffed, the American flag must be placed above the other flag and on the flag’s own right (the viewer’s left).
  • When displayed on a vehicle, the flag’s staff should be firmly attached to the vehicle’s front right fender or mounted to the chassis.
  • The flag should never have a mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture or drawing of any nature placed on it.
  • The flag should not be used for advertising.
  • The flag shouldn’t be used as clothing or as a costume.
  • The flag should not be placed on handkerchiefs, cushions or anything meant to be disposable, such as a paper napkin, box or anything meant for temporary use.
  • When a flag is no longer fit for display, it should be destroyed in a dignified way, such as burning. The American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars provide assistance for flag disposal.


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