The United States Flag Code advises American citizens on how to properly display their American flags. It includes etiquette about flying the flag alone, with other flags, on special occasions, and more. Displaying an American flag outside your home or business is a great way to honor your country and show off your patriotism, and following the Flag Code ensures that you stay respectful. Discover the guidelines for flying your flag, including how to display the US flag with other flags, with this overview.
No matter where or how you fly it, there are a few general guidelines for displaying the American flag. You should still follow these even when you fly the US flag with state flags, organizational flags, or other national flags.
When you fly your American flag, it should be in pristine condition. You must respectfully retire a tattered or faded flag. For this reason, it’s important to protect your flag from environmental damage. The Flag Code advises against flying the flag in poor weather such as rain or snow. This prevents weather damage and keeps your flag clean, neat, and beautiful. You should take down the flag during inclement weather to protect it.
All-weather flags are exceptions to this rule. If you have an outdoor flag that’s designed to withstand poor weather conditions, you can confidently fly it during rain or snow. That said, you should still be wary of severe winds that can damage your flag or pole.
Raising and lowering the flag is an act of reverence. As such, you must follow some additional guidelines to treat the flag with respect. When you fly the US flag with other flags, you should raise the American flag first and lower it last. Raise the American flag to the top of the pole quickly, but when you lower it, do so slowly to show respect. Make sure the US flag never touches the ground when you lower and raise it.
Flying the American flag in the dark is considered disrespectful. Traditionally, you should only fly the flag from sunrise to sunset to make sure it’s always illuminated. However, you can fly the flag after dark if you install a light to illuminate the flag. Solar lights or light timers are great ways to illuminate the flag after dark so that it’s always visible. If you choose to fly your flag at night, keep your hardware in good shape and check your lights regularly.
You can fly state flags, organizational flags, and other flags together on the same pole with your American flag. A single flagpole is perfect for showing your patriotism, state pride, and any other affiliations you want to make. This is particularly useful for businesses flying branded flags, but others use single poles to fly flags for military troops, sports teams, and more. When you’re on American soil, you must give the US flag prominence on your flagpole through the following practices:
The American flag should always be at the top of your flagpole. Never fly a state flag or other type of flag on top of the US flag. The only exception to this rule is at the United Nations Headquarters. Because the UN Headquarters belongs to all the members of the United Nations, the property doesn’t count as domestic soil. Here, the United Nations flag flies above all other national flags.
The American flag should be the same size or larger than all the other flags on the pole. Flying a state or organizational flag that’s bigger than the US flag is a sign of disrespect and takes away prominence from the US flag. Make sure all the flags are the same size or smaller than the American flag to give Old Glory the respect it’s due.
Larger buildings or properties might use multiple flagpoles to display their flags. In this scenario, there are unique guidelines to follow to give each flag the prominence and respect they deserve. These recommendations vary depending on the types of flags you fly, the height of the flagpoles, and so on.
When you’re using flagpoles that have a uniform height, always display the US flag on the pole furthest to the left as it’s most commonly observed. For example, if most people view the flagpoles from the street, the American flag should be on the far left as you’re looking at it from the street. To the right of the flag should be any state flag or flags in alphabetical order. Organizational flags such as business flags should follow the state flags.
Again, no flag should be bigger than the US flag; all flags should be the same size or smaller than the US flag.
If you display the American flag, state flags, and organizational flags on separate flagpoles of varying heights, always put the US flag on the tallest pole. This pole should be in the middle so that it takes prominence over the state and organizational flags. Display your other flags in order of prominence—state flags first and then organizational flags—from left to right.
International guidelines advise against flying one country’s flag above the others during times of peace. Displaying other national flags is a great way to show pride in your heritage or honor another country, but there are unique rules for how to display the US flag with other flags from other nations.
You must display all national flags at the same height. For this reason, each national flag should have its own pole. If the poles themselves are different heights, take care to fly the flags so that they’re level with one another. All national flags must be the same size as well.
When you’re on American soil, the US flag takes prominence, and it should fly on the leftmost pole, just as it would when you fly state or organizational flags beside it.
Investing in a high-quality, USA-made flag and pole will help you treat your flag with the respect and care it deserves. When you need a trusted flag supplier, choose Flags USA. We make all our products right here in the USA, so you can purchase with confidence and display your US flag with pride.