Flag Etiquette - How to Display the United States Flag

The United States Flag should be displayed with honor as it represents our great nation.

Identify the Canton

First, some flag terminology. The canton is the top inner corner of the United States flag, the blue field with white stars. We reference this term several times in the below flag etiquette.

Displaying the Flag with Other Flags

a) Above other flags when flown on the same pole
b) With other flag poles The United States flag should be displayed so that it is seen to the far left by the main viewing audience with flagpoles at the same height. If any flagpoles are taller in a group, the United States flag should be flown on that staff. It should be the first one hoisted and the last one lowered

Displaying the Flag from a Building or House

See the diagrams below for how to display from a staff mounted on the building, vertical in a window (canton to the flag’s left as viewed by the main audience), or hanging from a rope with the canton away from the building or home.

If displaying over a street, the canton should be on the north or east side.

Additional Flag Placement Protocols

Displaying a lapel pin, the flag should be worn on the left lapel near your heart.

When hanging the Flag in a lobby or corridor, it should be displayed on the opposite side of the main entrance. The canton should be displayed to the person's left as they come in the main entrance door.

Displaying The United States Flag on its right and the staff on top of all others. In a group of flags, it should be in the center and its tip the highest.

On a casket, drape the flag so the canton is at the head and over the left shoulder of the body. Never lower the flag into the grave.

Displaying the Flag at Public Speaking Events
Display the flag at the speaker's right side or flat against the wall behind the speaker. Never use as a decoration of any kind.

Storing the Flag

After displaying the flag, it should be carefully folded and stored.

Folding the U.S. Flag
Fold twice lengthwise, and starting at the stripes end, fold into triangles as shown.

Care and Disposal of the United States Flag

The United States Flag may be mended. It may also be washed or dry-cleaned. Some dry-cleaners will provide this service free of charge. When a flag has become no longer fit for being displayed, it should be destroyed. Its destruction should be in a dignified way, burning is recommended.

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