Independence Day Etiquette: How to Fly Your Flag

american flagIndependence Day is so close you can taste it. Are you ready? You're a responsible person. I'm sure you are. Here, let me do you a solid and run a quick checklist by you: Buns? Check. Dogs? Check. Booze? Check. Box full of illegal M-80s? Check? Flag? Check. Great, looks like you're all set. Have a good one. See you Tuesday. Ooh, wait, one more thing before I go -- are you flying your flag properly for 4th of July? You don't know! Pshh, it's a good thing I'm here.

Weird imagined conversation aside, there really are rules and etiquette for flying Old Glory. We should obviously follow them year-round, but what better time to start instituting them than July Fourth weekend? Lemme drop the knowledge.


Your flag should be in good condition. Inspect your flag before hoisting it. You wouldn't go out in a dirty, torn shirt, now would you? Well, the same general rule applies to the flag.

Know your flag's rights. If you plan on flying the American Flag at a place other than your home this weekend, get permission. The location may have certain rules they'd like you to abide by.

Fly the flag during the day. Technically, the proper times to raise and take down the flag are sunrise and sunset. If you want to keep your flag up at night, that's okay, too, but proper etiquette calls for it to be lit. When you're raising your flag, it should be raised quickly, and when you're taking it down, it should be lowered ceremoniously.

Hang the flag in an upright position. Don't ever hang your flag upside down -- unless you are in danger. And, no, running out of Bud Light doesn't constitute danger.

Place the flag at the highest point of the pole. If you're flying your U.S. Flag with your Steelers and Blackhawks flags, make sure the Stars and Stripes are on top. Also, if you're carrying the flag in a parade with other flags, it should either be to the right of the other flags or front and center.

Never allow the flag to touch the ground. Self-explanatory.

Fly your flag at full mast on Independence Day and other national holidays. See above.

Most importantly, treat your flag with respect and common sense. Like I said, you're a responsible person. Don't let your drunken idiot of a cousin wear it as a cape.

What other rules do you know of for properly flying the flag?


Image via ctj70181/Flickr

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