Ideas & Inspiration

How to Display an American Flag

U.S. Flag Placement Rules
American flags hanging horizontally around a home's porch.

The part of the flag that’s blue and covered with stars is called the union. Displaying a flag properly requires correct placement of the union.

  • No other flag or pennant may be placed above the U.S. flag or to the right of the U.S. flag. 
  • When a flag is displayed vertically in a window or against a wall, the union field should be uppermost and to the flag's right. (The flag’s right is the observer’s left.)
  • When a flag is displayed from the front of a building, the union should be at the peak of the staff, unless the flag is at half-staff. 
  • Any additional flag or pennant must be displayed lower than the U.S. flag.
U.S. Flag Flying Guidelines
American flag displayed on a flagpole in front of a home.
  • Normally, you should raise the flag at sunrise and lower it at sunset. But for patriotic displays, you can keep your flag flying at night as long as it is well-lit by outdoor lighting.
  • A flag should not be flown during rain, snow, sleet or other storms unless it is an all-weather flag.
  • Never allow your U.S. flag to touch anything beneath it such as the ground, plants, the floor or water.

Tip: To fly a flag at half-staff, first hoist it to the peak of the pole for an instant and then lower it to half-staff.

U.S. Flag Facts
Patriotic bunting hanging on a porch.
  • The length of the U.S. flag should be 1.9 times its width. 
  •  A flag displayed with the union down is a signal that one's life and/or property is in extreme danger.
  • A flag that is worn, ripped or otherwise in poor condition must be properly retired and destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning. Reach out to your local American Legion or Scouts troop for more information on flag retirement ceremonies.

Tip: Bunting of blue, white and red is always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle and the red below.

Special Flag Flying Days
American flags hanging on a neighborhood street

An American flag can be flown all year long, but there are some occasions that the U.S. Flag Code lists as special opportunities for displaying Old Glory. 

  • New Year’s Day
  • Presidential Inauguration Day
  • Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday
  • Lincoln’s Birthday
  • Washington’s Birthday
  • Easter Sunday
  • Mother’s Day
  • Armed Forces Day
  • Peace Officers Memorial Day 
  • Memorial Day*
  • Flag Day
  • Independence Day 
  • Labor Day
  • Navy Day
  • Veterans Day
  • Columbus Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day

Tip: *On Memorial Day, the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff.