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Flying the flag

An etiquette guide

By Associated Press

Thousands of flags have been sold since the terrorist attacks of September 11 as Americans rushed to show their national pride. From homemade flag pins to flags hanging over porches and out windows, every American is relearning an important civics lesson: how to display the American flag.

Flying the flag from a pole
Flying the flag alongside other flags
Hanging the flag on a wall
Flying the flag on your car
Wearing a flag pin
Other things to remember
NECN RealVideo: Learn flag etiquette

Flying the flag from a pole

To hang a flag in mourning, hoist the flag to the peak of the pole for a moment and then lower it to half-staff. When lowering the flag, raise it to its peak briefly before lowering it completely.
Note: As of Sept. 23, the national time of mourning has officially ended and flags can be returned to full-staff.


Flying the flag alongside other flags

If the American flag is flown with other flags of states or localities, the American flag should always be at the center and highest point.


Hanging the flag on a wall

If you display the flag against a wall (like hanging it flat outside a window), the union or stars should be on the flag’s right or the observer’s left side.


Flying the flag on your car

When the flag is displayed on a car, the staff should be attached to the right fender.


Wearing a flag pin

Flag pins should be worn on the left side of the body, near the heart.


Other things to remember

  • To display the flag over the middle of a street, it should be suspended vertically with the union to the north in an east-west street or to the east on a north-south street.

  • Never hang a flag with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress or danger to life.

  • The flag should not touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, water or floor.

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