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Fourth of July: How to Properly Display the American Flag

Date: June 27, 2017
A kid with american flag. Brought to you by USAGov.

This Fourth of July all across the country, people will show their love for America by displaying flags along streets, hanging them from porches, and proudly carrying them in parades and festivals. Old Glory will be everywhere. But did you know there are official rules on properly displaying the U.S. flag? This infographic from USAGov, based on the Federal Flag Code, can help you show respect for the flag as you celebrate America’s 241st birthday. You can also download a print version of the USAGov flag infographic.

  • When: You can display the flag outside from sunrise to sunset. If you want to fly it after dark, it will need to be lit. Don’t fly the flag during inclement weather, unless it’s an all-weather flag.

  • On the porch: The union of the flag--the blue section with white stars--should be placed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half-staff. When the flag is suspended from a rope on a pole extending from a house, the flag should be hoisted out, union first, from the building.

  • On the wall or the window: When the flag is displayed on a flat surface like a wall, the union should be at the top left.

  • On the street: The flag 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. The flag should never touch anything beneath it, so make sure it’s hoisted at the proper height.

  • At the office: Suspend the flag vertically with the union 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.

  • On a vehicle: The staff should be fixed firmly on the right side of the vehicle. Do not drape the flag over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle or a boat.

  • Half-staff: During periods of mourning, it’s common to see the flag flying at half-staff. Only presidents can proclaim such periods for a national remembrance. Governors can also declare mourning periods at a local level. In some cases, heads of federal agencies can order the flag flown at half-staff on grounds under their supervision. Traditionally, states and local governments follow the president’s proclamation during a period of national mourning.

Take care of your flag. Many dry cleaners will clean U.S. flags for free during the months of June and July. Store your flag in a well-ventilated area. If it gets wet, make sure it’s completely dry before storing it. If the flag is damaged or worn out, it should be burned and disposed of with dignity. Learn more about the flag, its history, protocol, and ways to pay your respects, including the proper way to fold it.

This Independence Day, show us your patriotism by proudly displaying the old Red, White, and Blue while celebrating the nation’s 241st birthday. And share your pictures on USAGov’s Facebook and Twitter of you and your family celebrating with Old Glory. We’ll feature our favorites.

Let USAGov be your guide for other areas of your life at

En espanol

  • Here are 5 things you should know before flying the Stars and Stripes this Fourth of July.

    Keep your flag inside during bad weather, unless you have an all-weather flag.

    If you’re displaying your flag at night, be sure it’s properly illuminated.

    Don’t let your flag touch anything below it or rest on the ground. Store your flag dry and folded intro a triangle, with the union (the blue section) visible.

    If the flag is damaged or worn out, dispose of it with dignity.

    You can wear clothing displaying the flag as long as it’s not made from an actual flag.

    Keep that hat and shirt on! And did you know that many dry cleaners will clean American flags for free during the summer?

    Learn more about the flag and its history. Download USAGov’s FREE infographic at, forward slash flag.

    Happy Fourth of July!

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