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How to display the American flag

Displaying your flag properly is easy to do. Here are some great tip son how to display your flag whether you’re at home, or at work!

When displaying the United States flag, you want to make sure you do it right. According to the website www.USA.gov, “The Flag of the United States of America is a symbol of freedom and liberty to which Americans pledge their allegiance by standing at attention, facing the flag with their right hand over the heart, and reciting:

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

The flag consists of 13 alternating red and white stripes that represent the 13 original colonies, and 50 white stars on a blue field, with each star representing a state. The colors on the flag represent:

Red: valor and bravery

White: purity and innocence

Blue: vigilance, perseverance, and justice

Guidelines for Displaying the Flag of the United States (PDF, Download Adobe Reader)

Sometimes you might have questions about exactly what to do with your flag. If you require additional information or direction, call the Ceremonials Division of the Department of State’s Office of the Chief of Protocol at 1-202-647-1735. 

You can also order a flag that has flown over the Capitol! To order a U.S. flag that has flown over the Capitol, please contact your states Senator’s office.

Please note: According to U.S. Flag Code, when an American flag appears worn or otherwise no longer appropriate for display, it should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning. You can also likely ask any Active Duty Military Member, Coast Guard, National Guard or Veteran to help you with this task.

Fly the American Flag at Half-Staff

The United States flag flies at half-staff when the nation is in mourning. These periods of mourning occur by Presidential proclamation.

The President of the United States can direct how the executive branch of the government flies the flag, including traditions or customs for flying the flag at half-staff.

While you can choose to follow how the executive branch flies the flag, it is not a requirement. For instance, a local community, a company, a school district, or a federal agency can decide to have all of their flags at half-staff because of the death of an employee, a student, a mayor, or a local police officer. If you’re not sure what to do, find an Active Duty Military Member, Coast Guard, National Guard or Veteran and they will help you decide what’s right.


At VA the Fairway, we love the American Flag! Take a photo of your flag outside your home or work and tag us on Instagram at @VAtheFairway and use #VAtheFairway!

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