Is There A Proper Way To Fly The American Flag?

Posted on Jun 14, 2017

Today is Flag Day! It’s always a joy seeing so many American Flags displayed for all passer-byes to see on their commute or daily walk. And while the flying of the flag in your front yard may not be given much thought, you might be surprised to know that there are some “rules” regarding the proper display of the American Flag. When you take a minute to think about it, it is understandable why such a revered and sacred symbol, so meaningful to so many, would come with a particular etiquette.

To be sure, most displays of the American Flag in our communities and neighborhoods are motivated with good will and deep respect, even if that display may not be “proper” according to these rules. For example, did you know that the Flag is only to be displayed from sunrise to sunset, with the exception of special events or occasions? Or when displaying the American Flag along side the flag of another nation, each flag should be on their own staff and flown at equal height?

Below is just a few of the guidelines to remember when displaying the flag. For a complete list, visit the Virginia Beach website.

  1. ​When carried in a procession with another flag or flags, the U.S. flag should be either on the marching right (the flag's own right) or, if there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line.
  2. The flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle or boat. When the flag is displayed on a motorcar, the staff should be firmly fixed to the chassis.
  3. When other flags are flown from the same halyard, the U.S. flag should always be at the peak.
  4. When displayed flat against the wall on a speaker's platform, the flag should be placed above and behind the speaker with the union in the upper left corner as the audience faces the flag.
  5. It is the universal custom to display the flag on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs only from sunrise to sunset. However, the flag may be displayed at night on special occasions when one wishes to produce a patriotic effect.

We know that people in our community take pride in our nation seriously, as it should be. As we mentioned, it’s generally safe to assume that when people display the American Flag, it comes from a genuine place. However, we thought that in the spirit of Flag Day, we’d make it official. Fly it high!  

Kellam T. Parks
Managing Member of Parks Zeigler, PLLC