Share Your Family Custom,
Tradition or Ritual
The Service Flag
has become customary to fly The Flag on National Holidays,
and many people now fly The Flag daily from their homes. This action demonstrates
Patriotism and Loyalty to our Country and Honors the sacrifice of all who have
made this Great Nation possible.
"Old Glory, Long May It Wave"
The Flag of The United States of America will stand only as long
as all of us want it to stand. It is the symbol of this great Nation of ours
built from the hard work and sacrifice of those who have gone before us. The
strength of our Nation is the sum total of that hard work and sacrifice, and the
strength, cunning and prowess of those who our forefathers, sons and daughters
have fought and defeated in battle to defend it.
Most of us have heard the stories of Betsy Ross and our first
Flag. Congress adopted the first Flag design June 14, 1777. As States have
been added so have stars. Congress formally adopts any modifications to our flag
and prescribes the etiquette required for the display and handling of this great
Over the years the Flag of The United States has been burned and
trampled both home and abroad by citizens who are not happy with our country and
want to make a point. For our citizens at home who make this choice it is
difficult to make sense of this disrespectful action when so many have died
defending their right of free speech.
Many men and women have died defending this nation on the field
of battle or "on duty" under the colors of our Flag. We have listed
below casualties of war through the years to illustrate the significance of the
sacrifice of many for our country. These statistics are humbling in the face of
the significance of their sacrifice.
States War Casualties2, 3
*The above numbers have qualifying conditions associated with them. See
references 2 and 3 below for details if needed.
|War of 1812
|Civil War (Both Sides)
|Spanish American War
|World War I
|World War II
*This information was taken from Title 36 of the
United States Code Chapter 10 as provided by the Legal Information Institute at
Cornell University School of Law. The text is a US government document and is
public domain; it may be freely copied and retransmitted.
The following flag laws and regulations are contained in the
Public Law as amended July 7, 1976 by the 94th Congress of the United States.
They set forth the existing rules, customs and etiquette pertaining to the
display and use of the flag of the United States of America.
Section 174. Time and Occasions for display;
hoisting and lowering
- (a) Display on buildings and stationary flagstaffs in open; night
- It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset
on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a
patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a
day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.
- (b) Manner of hoisting
- The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
- (c) Inclement weather
- The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement,
except when an all weather flag is displayed.
- (d) Particular days of display
- The flag should be displayed on all days, especially on:
|New Year's Day, January 1
|Inauguration Day, January 20
|Lincoln's Birthday, February 12
|Washington's Birthday, third Monday in February
|Easter Sunday (variable)
|Mother's Day, second Sunday in May
|Armed Forces Day, third Saturday in May
|Memorial Day (half-staff until noon), the last Monday in May
|Flag Day, June 14
|Independence Day, July 4
|Labor Day, first Monday in September
|Constitution Day, September 17
|Columbus Day, second Monday in October
|Navy Day, October 27
|Veterans Day, November 11
|Thanksgiving Day, fourth Thursday in November
|Christmas Day, December 25
|and such other days as may be proclaimed by the President of the United
|the birthdays of States (date of admission)
|and on State holidays|
- (e) Display on or near administration building of public
- The flag should be displayed daily on or near the main administration
building of every public institution.
- (f) Display in or near polling places
- The flag should be displayed in or near every polling place on election
- (g) Display in or near schoolhouses
- The flag should be displayed during school days in or near every
Section 175. Position and manner of
The flag, when carried in a procession with another flag or flags, should be
either on the marching right; that is, the flag's own right, or, if there is a
line of other flags, in front of the center of that line.
- (a) The flag should not be displayed on a float in a parade
except from a staff, or as provided in subsection (i) of this section.
- (b) The flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or
back of a vehicle or of a railroad train or a boat. When the flag is
displayed on a motorcar, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or
clamped to the right fender.
- (c) No other flag or pennant should be placed above or, if on the
same level, to the right of the flag of the United States of America,
except during church services conducted by naval chaplains at sea, when
the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for
the personnel of the Navy. No person shall display the flag of the United
Nations or any other national or international flag equal, above, or in a
position of superior prominence or honor to, or in place of, the flag of
the United States at any place within the United States or any Territory
or possession thereof: Provided, That nothing in this section shall make
unlawful the continuance of the practice heretofore followed of displaying
the flag of the United Nations in a position of superior prominence or
honor, and other national flags in positions of equal prominence or honor,
with that of the flag of the United States at the headquarters of the
- (d) The flag of the United States of America, when it is
displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, should be
on the right, the flag's own right, and its staff should be in front of
the staff of the other flag.
- (e) The flag of the United States of America should be at the
center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of
States or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed
from the staffs.
- (f) When flags of States, cities, or localities, or pennants of
societies are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the United
States, the latter should always be at the peak. When the flags are flown
from adjacent staffs, the flag of the United States should be hoisted
first and lowered last. No such flag or pennant may be placed above the
flag of the United States or to the United States flag's right.
- (g) When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to
be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be
approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the
flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace.
- (h) When the flag of the United States is displayed from a staff
projecting horizontally or at an angle from the window sill, balcony, or
front of a building, the union of the flag should be placed at the peak of
the staff unless the flag is at half staff. When the flag is suspended
over a sidewalk from a rope extending from a house to a pole at the edge
of the sidewalk, the flag should be hoisted out, union first, from the
- (i) When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a
wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is,
to the observer's left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be
displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the left of the
observer in the street.
- (j) When the flag is displayed over the middle of the street, it
should be suspended vertically with the union to the north in an east and
west street or to the east in a north and south street.
- (k) When used on a speaker's platform, the flag, if displayed
flat, should be displayed above and behind the speaker. When displayed
from a staff in a church or public auditorium, the flag of the United
States of America should hold the position of superior prominence, in
advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman's
or speaker's right as he faces the audience. Any other flag so displayed
should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker or to the right
of the audience.
- (l) The flag should form a distinctive feature of the ceremony of
unveiling a statue or monument, but it should never be used as the
covering for the statue or monument.
- (m) The flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted
to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position.
The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the
day. On Memorial Day the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon
only, then raised to the top of the staff. By order of the President, the
flag shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of principal figures of
the United States Government and the Governor of a State, territory, or
possession, as a mark of respect to their memory. In the event of the
death of other officials or foreign dignitaries, the flag is to be
displayed at half-staff according to Presidential instructions or orders,
or in accordance with recognized customs or practices not inconsistent
with law. In the event of the death of a present or former official of the
government of any State, territory, or possession of the United States,
the Governor of that State, territory, or possession may proclaim that the
National flag shall be flown at half-staff. The flag shall be flown at
half-staff thirty days from the death of the President or a former
President; ten days from the day of death of the Vice President, the Chief
Justice or a retired Chief Justice of the United States, or the Speaker of
the House of Representatives; from the day of death until interment, a
former Vice President, or the Governor of a State, territory, or
possession; and on the day of death and the following day for a Member of
Congress. As used in this subsection -
- (1) the term "half-staff" means the position of the
flag when it is one-half the distance between the top and bottom of the
- (2) the term "executive or military department" means
any agency listed under sections 101 and 102 of title 5; and
- (3) the term "Member of Congress" means a Senator, a
Representative, a Delegate, or the Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico.
- (n) When the flag is used to cover a casket, it should be so
placed that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag
should not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground.
- (o) When the flag is suspended across a corridor or lobby in a
building with only one main entrance, it should be suspended vertically
with the union of the flag to the observer's left upon entering. If the
building has more than one main entrance, the flag should be suspended
vertically near the center of the corridor or lobby with the union to the
north, when entrances are to the east and west or to the east when
entrances are to the north and south. If there are entrances in more than
two directions, the union should be to the east.
Section 176 Respect for flag
No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; the
flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State
flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of
- (a) The flag should never be displayed with the union down,
except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life
- (b) The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the
ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
- (c) The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but
always aloft and free.
- (d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or
drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but
always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white and red, always
arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below,
should be used for covering a speaker's desk, draping the front of the
platform, and for decoration in general.
- (e) The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored
in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in
- (f) The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.
- (g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of
it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design,
picture, or drawing of any nature.
- (h) The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving,
holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
- (i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any
manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as
cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on
paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and
discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff of halyard
from which the flag is flown.
- (j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or
athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of
military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic
organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself
considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica,
should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.
- (k) The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a
fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way,
preferably by burning.
Section 177. Conduct during hoisting,
lowering or passing of flag
During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing
in a parade of in review, all persons present except for those in uniform should
face the flag and stand at attention with the right hand over the heart. Those
present in uniform should render the military salute. When not in uniform, men
should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left
shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Aliens should stand at attention. The
salute to the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag
Contacts: Matt Dempsey
October 14, 2008
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) praised the
President's signing of the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year
2009, which includes a provision to allow veterans and military members out of
uniform to salute the flag during the National Anthem. Senator Inhofe sponsored
the amendment to ensure veterans and all members of the Armed Forces be given
the right to render a military salute to the United States flag.
The National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2009 was approved by
unanimous consent in the Senate on Saturday, September 27, and was signed by
President Bush today.
"With the President's signature today, we have finally revised the law to
give veterans the proper distinction of saluting during the National Anthem,"
Senator Inhofe said. "The salute is a form of honor and respect,
representing pride in one's military service. Veterans and service members
continue representing the military services even when not in uniform. The U.S.
Code is now consistent for veterans and all service members in regards to the
symbolic gesture of the military salute.
"I believe this is an appropriate way to honor and recognize the 25 million
veterans in the United States who have served in the military and remain as role
models to other citizens. Those who are currently serving or have served in the
military have earned this right, and their recognition will be an inspiration to
A provision championed by Senator Inhofe in the Defense Authorization Act for
Fiscal Year 2008 modified Title 4 of the U.S. Code to allow veterans and
military service members not in uniform to render the military salute during
hoisting, lowering, or passing of the flag, but it did not allow them to salute
the flag during the National Anthem. Section 595 of S. 3001, the National
Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009, amends Title 36 of the U.S. Code
to allow veterans and service members not in uniform to salute the flag during
the National Anthem, making the two sections of U.S. Code consistent. Senator
Inhofe's effort on behalf of America's 25 million veterans has garnered praise
from veterans and publications across the country.
"On behalf of America's Medal of Honor Recipients and FlightSafety's
teammates in Oklahoma and around the world, we particularly want to commend
Senator Inhofe for his successful efforts on the salute the flag legislation. If
it were not for Senator Inhofe's commitment, 25 million American veterans would
not be able to render the military salute to the American flag," Bruce
Whitman, Co-Chairman, Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation and President and
CEO, FlightSafety International.
"Senator James Inhofe has served diligently for many years as a veterans
advocate in the United States Senate. The Senator's bill amending the United
States Code to allow veterans and active duty military personnel to render the
military salute when out of uniform gives additional dignity to veterans
attending ceremonies that include the formal presentation to the flag of our
country. As a Vietnam veteran, I would like to salute the Senator for his years
of dedication to our military veterans and to those still on active duty in the
defense of our country," Richard Elsheimer, Past State Commander, Department
of Oklahoma, Veterans of Foreign Wars. The Enid News and Eagle reported,
"Inhofe's proposal makes it clear military people can salute the flag when out
of uniform. ...
Veteran Johnny Stamps of Del City praised the legislation, saying he never knew
there was a regulation indicating veterans out of uniform should place their
arms over their hearts instead of saluting...." (Ron Jenkins, AP, "Veterans
Salute Inhofe for Action," July 28, 2007.) On October 17, 2007, The Yukon Review
editorial, Sen. Inhofe, Lawmakers Deserve Praise for the Flag Salute Law,
commended the legislation saying, "U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) and his
fellow senators deserve praise for recent passage of S.B. 1877 authorized by
Inhofe clarifying U.S. law to allow veterans and service members not in uniform
to salute the flag....
We join the senator in looking forward to seeing those who have served saluting
proudly at baseball games, parades, and formal events." On July 3, 2008, The
Record in New Jersey also noted the bill's importance, "Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla.,
an Army veteran, led the charge, saying those who served earned the right to
salute. The change to Section 9 of the code allows military retirees, veterans
and active-duty service members who are not in uniform to give the military
salute during the hoisting, lowering or passing of the flag. ... ‘People don't
realize what that little salute means to a veteran,' said Richard Martin, 65, of
Paramus, a Vietnam veteran and commander of the Bergen Chapter 522 of the
Military Order of the Purple Heart. "I think it's great."
Additional Web Sites
Military Funeral Customs
1 Flag Image at top of Web Page courtesy Oklahoma University Law
2 Grolier Inc. Multimedia
Encyclopedia. 1998. Adapted by Dow Jones
& Company, Inc. 1999. Table Number 25 http:/orl.grolier.com/ea-online/wsja/text/ch02/tables/pp025.htm
3 LibrarySpot. StartSpot Mediaworks, Inc. Evanston, IL
4 Web Site. Brugh, Larry. 2000. http://www.fortunecity.com/boozers/oldhouse/186/etiquette.html
5.Bill of Rights
9.The Recipe Box
7.Cost of Living