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June 25, 2020

How to Fly Your Flag the Right Way!

July 4th is traditionally one of the most socially active holidays – but not this year. The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has pumped the brakes on city fireworks and parades, and has limited the number of people who can attend community barbecues, fairs, ball games, pool parties and other heartfelt celebrations of the birth of our country. While you can invite a small number of people to gather in your back yard for a scaled-down version of your usual shindig, it may not seem quite the same.

So, this year, it’s time to focus on one of the most important traditions of the holiday, but one that is often overlooked during the hustle and bustle of typical celebrations. In 2020, it’s all about honoring the flag.

Many people own a flag, but they may not be sure how to display the flag in the proper way. The patriots at Ernest Homes have taken up the task of outlining the rules of celebrating our flag and bringing them to you in one handy list. 

What to do:

  • Display the flag from sunrise to sunset on buildings and outdoor stationary flagstaffs. The flag can be displayed during the night if it is illuminated at all times.
  • The position of the union (the blue field of the flag) is very important. When displayed horizontally or at an angle from a windowsill or front of a building, the union should be at the peak of the staff, unless the flag is at half-staff. When displayed against a wall or in a window, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's right.
  • If you have an older version of a U.S. flag, you can fly it just like the official 50-star flag we’ve been using since 1959, as long as it is in good condition.
  • You can place a symbolic finial (decorative ornament) on your flagstaff. No specific mention of flagstaff finials is in the Flag Code, but they can be used. The President, the Vice President, and many federal agencies use an eagle finial.
  • A flag with a fringe should only be displayed indoors, as the fringe is too delicate for outdoor use.
  • To fly your American flag on your car, the staff should be attached to the chassis or the right fender.
  • Unless you have an all-weather flag (such as nylon, polyester or treated cotton), the flag should not be flown during bad weather.
  • To display the flag vertically, always place the union at the top, unless you’re using the flag to send a signal of extreme distress, such as immediate danger to life or property.
  • The flag must not touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, floor, water, or merchandise.
  • Our flag must be carried aloft and floating free, never flat or horizontally.
  • The flag must never be displayed draped, drawn back or up, or in folds.
  • Protect your flag—make sure she is well cared for and not torn, soiled, or otherwise damaged. 
  • When your flag has lived out her useful life, the flag should be destroyed in a respectful manner, preferably by burning, according to U.S. Code, Title 36, Section 176k, Respect for Flag.

Some important ways to show respect for the flag:

  • Don’t drape your flag over the hood, top, sides, or back of any vehicle, including a train or boat.
  • Our flag (or any part of our flag) should not be used as a costume or athletic uniform.
  • Never use the flag for apparel, bedding or drapery, or use it to cover a ceiling.
  • No mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing can be placed on the flag or any part of the flag.
  • Do not use the flag for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
  • The flag should never be used in advertising. Advertisements should not be attached to the flagstaff or the halyard (the rope used to hoist the flag).
  • Images of the flag should not be used in conjunction with items meant for temporary use, such as wrapping paper, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything that will be readily discarded.

If you don’t have a flag at home, now is the time to go get one! From all of us at Ernest Homes, we hope you enjoy your Independence Day celebration!

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