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U.S. Flag Etiquette

If you plan to display Old Glory at the cabin, keep these guidelines in mind
Published: June 1, 2003
U.S. flag guidelines
Red, white and blue are the colors of choice across cabin country these days. Here are some guidelines for flying Old Glory this summer. This information comes courtesy of and Cornell Law School's Legal Information Institute:
  • When displaying the U.S. flag, display it only during daylight hours from sunrise to sunset. You can display it 24 hours a day, however, if you properly illuminate it in the dark.
  • Don't display the flag on foul-weather days.
  • Don't let the flag touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, floor or water.
  • A 3x5-foot flag should be flown on a 15- to 20-foot flagpole. Use a 25-foot flagpole for flags 4x6 feet or larger.
  • When you fold the flag, first fold it twice in half, width-wise. Starting at the striped end, fold it in a triangle until only the end of the union remains; fold this end into a triangle and tuck it in.
  • 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 face outside in the same way, with the union to the viewer's left.
  • 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.
  • The flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides or back of a vehicle, railroad train or boat. When the flag is displayed on a motorcar, the staff should be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.
  • When your flag is "no longer a fitting emblem for display," dispose of it in a dignified way – usually by burning. If you burn the flag yourself, make sure it is done in a discreet and professional manner.*

* Many organizations like the American Legion, the Boy Scouts Council and the Girl Scouts Council will perform a flag retirement ceremony and burn your flag for you. In this case, the burning of the flag signifies purification and rebirth. For more information, click here.

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