How to fold the Flag
I pledge allegiance to the
of the United States of America
and to the Republic for which
one Nation under God, indivisible,
with liberty and
justice for all.
O say can you see
by the dawn's early light
what so proudly we hail'd
at the twilight's last gleaming,
whose broad stripes and bright stars,
thro' the perilous fight,
o'er the ramparts we watched
were so gallantly streaming?"
-- Francis Scott Key, September 1814
"The Star-Spangled Banner"
The fundamental rule
of flag Etiquette is" treat all flags with respect and common sense."
- The improper use and
display of a U.S. flag and flags of your visitors is worse than no
display at all.
- The U.S. flag is flown
upside down only as a sign of distress. It can be a great insult to
fly a flag upside down. Great care should be taken when displaying
flags of others.
- The U.S. flag takes
precedence over all other flags when flown within the United States.
It should be raised first and lowered last. It should not be flown
lower than another flag nor should it be smaller than another flag
flown with it. Other flags may, however, be flown at the same height
and in the same size. Other national flags should not be smaller nor
flown lower than the Stars and Stripes when displayed together. If it
is not possible to display two or more national flags at the same
height, then it is not proper to display them together at all.
- The point of honor is on the extreme left from the standpoint of the observer. The order from left to right of flags flown together is: the U.S. flag, other
national flags in alphabetical order, state flags, county and city
flags, organizational flags, personal flag.
- The U.S. flag, when
displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, should
be on the right, the flag's own right, and its staff should be in
front of the staff of the other flag.
- If one flag is at
half-staff in mourning, other flags flown with it should be at
half-staff. First raise the flags to their peak, then lower to
half-staff. The U.S. flag is raised first and lowered last.
- A salute (hand over
heart for those not in uniform) should be rendered when the flag is
raised, lowered, or carried by on parade; when the Pledge of
Allegiance is recited; and when the national anthem is played (unless
the flag is not present).
- If the flag is
displayed at night, it should be illuminated.
- When a flag is no
longer of dignified appearance and cannot be repaired, it should be
destroyed in a dignified way (burned or sealed in a bag or box before
being sent out for trash collection).
- In a public gathering
(lecture hall, church, etc.), the U.S. flag should be to the right of
the speakers or on the wall behind them.
- The U.S. flag should be
in the center of a group of flags only when:
- the center pole is taller than the others or
- when a fan-like
arrangement makes the center pole higher than the others.
- It is not illegal or
improper to fly any flag (state, ethnic group, organization, etc.)
alone, but it is always preferable to display the U.S. flag at the
- Bring the striped half up over the blue field.
- Then fold it in
- Bring the lower
striped corner to the upper edge forming a triangle.
- Then fold the
upper point in to form another triangle. Continue until the entire
length of the flag is folded.
- When you get near
the end - nothing but the blue field showing - tuck the last bit into
the other folds to secure it.
- New Year's Day
- Inauguration Day
- Martin Luther King's Birthday
- Lincoln's Birthday or President's Day
- Memorial Day (on Memorial Day, half staff until noon)
- Flag Day
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- Columbus Day
- Veteran's Day
- Election Day
- Thanksgiving Day
- State Holidays
- All Patriotic Occasions!
- The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
- The second fold is a
symbol of our belief in the eternal life.
- The third fold is made in
honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks and who gave a
portion of life for the defense of our country to attain peace
throughout the world.
- The fourth fold
represents our weaker nature; for as American citizens trusting in God,
it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in times of war for
His divine guidance.
- The fifth fold is a
tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, “Our
country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right, but
it is still our country, right or wrong.”
- The sixth fold is for
where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to
the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which
it stand, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice
- The seventh fold is a
tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we
protect our country and our flag against all enemies, whether they be
found within or without the boundaries of our republic.
- The eighth fold is a
tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death,
that we might see the light of day, and to honor our mother, for whom it
flies on Mother’s Day.
- The ninth fold is a
tribute to womanhood, for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty
and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this
country great have been molded.
- The tenth fold is a
tribute to father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the
defense of our country since he or she was first born.
- The eleventh fold, in the
eyes of Hebrew citizens, represents the lower portion of the seal of
King David and King Solomon and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
- The twelfth fold, in the
eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and
glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost.
- When the flag is
completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national
motto, “In God We Trust.”
After the flag is
completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked
hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George
Washington and the sailors and marines who served under Captain John
Paul Jones who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the
Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights,
privileges, and freedoms we enjoy
"Old Glory." This famous
name was coined by Captain Stephen Driver, a shipmaster of Salem,
Massachusetts, in 1831. As he was leaving on one of his many voyages
aboard the brig CHARLES DOGGETT - and this one would climax with the
rescue of the mutineers of the BOUNTY - some friends presented him with
a beautiful flag of twenty four stars. As the banner opened to the ocean
breeze for the first time, he exclaimed "Old Glory!"
The Pledge of
Allegiance was written by Reverend Francis Bellamy for use at the
dedication of the World's Fair Grounds in Chicago on October 21, 1892.
The wording was slightly altered in 1923 and 1924 by the First and
Second National Flag Conferences. It was officially designated as the
Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag by Congress in 1945. The words "under
God" were added in 1954 in a law signed by President Dwight D.
POW/MIA Flag Protocol
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- The accepted protocol for flying the POW/MIA flag is:
- Single Pole - The POW/MIA flag is directly below the American colors and above the State Flag.
- Two Poles - The POW/MIA flag is flown on the pole with the American Flag directly below the American flag. The State flag is displayed on the second pole.
- Three Poles - The POW/MIA flag is placed on the pole to the immediate left of the American flag. The State flag is displayed to the left of the POW/MIA flag.
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