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Flag Etiquette



The National Flag represents the living country
and is  considered to be a living thing emblematic of the respect and pride we have for our nation. 
Please display it proudly. 
 
 
 
UNITED STATES CODE

TITLE 36

CHAPTER 10

 
 
   
 
 
PATRIOTIC CUSTOMS

§ 170. National anthem; Star-Spangled Banner. 

§ 171. Conduct during playing. 

§ 172. Pledge of allegiance to the flag;  manner of delivery. 

§ 173. Display and use of flag by civilians; codification of rules and customs; definition. 

§ 174. Time and occasions for  display. 

§ 175. Position and manner of display. 

§ 176. Respect for flag. 

§ 177. Conduct during hoisting, lowering or passing of flag. 

§ 178.  Modification of rules and customs by President. 

§ 179. Design for service  flag; persons entitled to display flag. 

§ 180. Design for service lapel  button; persons entitled to wear button. 

§ 181. Approval of designs by  Secretary of Defense; license to manufacture and sell; penalties.

§ 182. Rules  and regulations. 

§ 182a to 184. Repealed. 

§ 185. Transferred. 

§ 186.  National motto. 

§ 187. National floral emblem. 

§ 188. National march. 

§ 189. Recognition of National League of Families POW/MIA flag. 

§170. National anthem; Star-Spangled Banner
The composition  consisting of the words and music known as The Star-Spangled Banner  is designated the national anthem of the United States of America. 

§171. Conduct during playing
During rendition of the  national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in  uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over  the heart. Men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right  hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons  in uniform should render the military salute at the first note of the anthem and  retain this position until the last note. When the flag is not displayed,  those present should face toward the
music and act in the same manner they  would if the flag were displayed there. 

§172. Pledge of allegiance to the flag; manner of  delivery
The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, 'I pledge allegiance to  the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it  stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for  all.', should be rendered by standing at attention facing the flag with the  right hand over the heart. When not in uniform men should remove their  headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand  being over the heart. Persons in uniform should remain silent, face the flag,  and render the military salute. 

§173. Display and use of flag by  civilians; codification of rules and customs; definition.  The following  codification of existing rules and customs pertaining to the display and use of  the flag of the United States of America is established for the use of such civilians or civilian groups or 
organizations as may not be required to conform with regulations promulgated by one or more executive departments of  the Government of the United States. The flag of the United States for  the purpose of this chapter shall be defined according to sections 1 and 2 of  title 4 and Executive Order 10834 issued pursuant thereto. 

§174. Time and occasions for display
(a) Display on buildings and stationary  flagstaffs in open; night display 
It is the universal custom to display  the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and onstationary  flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag  may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the  hours of darkness. 
(b) Manner of hoisting 
The flag should be hoisted  briskly and lowered ceremoniously. 
(c) Inclement weather 
The flag  should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an  all weather flag is displayed. 
(d) Particular days of display 
The  flag should be displayed on all days, especially on New Year's Day, January  1; Inauguration Day, January 20; Lincoln's Birthday, February 12;  Washington's Birthday, third Monday in February; Easter Sunday (variable);  Mother's Day, second Sunday in May; Armed Forces Day, third Saturday in May;  Memorial Day (half-staff until noon), the last
Monday in May; Flag Day, June  14; Independence Day, July 4; Labor Day, first Monday in September;  Constitution Day, September 17; Columbus Day, second Monday in October; Navy  Day, October 27; Veterans Day, November 11; Thanksgiving Day, fourth Thursday  in
November; Christmas Day, December 25; and such other days as may be  proclaimed by the President of the United States; the birthdays of States  (date of admission); and on State holidays. 
(e) Display on or near  administration building of public institutions 
The flag should be  displayed daily on or near the main administration building of every  public institution. 
(f) Display in or near polling places 
The  flag should be displayed in or near every polling place on election days. 
(g) Display in or near schoolhouses 
The flag should be displayed  during school days in or near every schoolhouse. 

§175. Position  and manner of display
The flag, when carried in a procession with another  flag or flags, should be either on the marching right; that is, the flag's  own right, or, if there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that  line. 
(a) The flag should not be displayed on a float in a parade except  from a staff, or as provided in subsection (i) of this section. 
(b) The  flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle or of  a railroad train or a boat. When the flag is displayed on a motorcar, the  staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender. 
(c) No other flag or pennant should be placed above or, if on the same  level, to the right of the flag of the United States of America, except  during church services conducted by naval chaplains at sea, when the church  pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for the personnel  of the Navy. No person shall display the flag of the United Nations or  any other national or international flag equal, above, or in a position of  superior prominence or honor to, or in place of, the flag of the United  States at any place within the United States or any Territory or possession  thereof: Provided, That nothing in this section shall make unlawful the  continuance of the practice heretofore followed of displaying the flag of the  United Nations in a position of superior prominence or honor, and other  national flags in positions of equal prominence or honor, with that of the  flag of the United States at the headquarters of the United Nations. 
(d)  The flag of the United States of America, when it is 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. 
(e) The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at  the highest point of the group when a number of flags of States or localities  or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs. 
(f) When  flags of States, cities, or localities, or pennants of societies are flown on  the same halyard with the flag of the United States, the latter should always  be at the peak. When the flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the flag of  the United States should be hoisted first and lowered last. No such flag or  pennant may be placed above the flag of the United States or to the United  States flag's right. 
(g) When flags of two or more nations are displayed,  they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags  should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the  display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace. 
(h) When the flag of the United States is displayed from a staff projecting  horizontally or at an angle from the window sill, balcony, or front of a  building, the union of the flag should be placed at the peak of the staff  unless the flag is at half staff. When the flag is suspended over a sidewalk  from a rope extending from a house to a pole at the edge of the sidewalk, the  flag should be hoisted out, union first, from the building. 
(i) When  displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should  be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left.  When displayed in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way,  with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street. 
(j) When the flag is displayed over the middle of the street, it should be  suspended vertically with the union to the north in an east and west street  or to the east in a north and south street. 
(k) When used on a speaker's  platform, the flag, if displayed flat, should be displayed above and behind  the speaker. When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium, the  flag of the United States of America should hold the position of superior  prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the  clergyman's or speaker's right as he faces the audience. Any other flag so  displayed should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker or to the  right of the audience. 
(l) The flag should form a distinctive feature of the  ceremony of unveiling a statue or monument, but it should never be used as  the covering for the statue or monument. 
(m) The flag, when flown at  half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then  lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak  before it is lowered for the day. On Memorial Day the flag should be  displayed at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff.  By order of the President, the flag shall be flown at
half-staff upon the  death of principal figures of the United States Government and the Governor  of a State, territory, or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory. In  the event of the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries, the flag is  to be displayed at half-staff according to Presidential instructions or  orders, or in accordance with recognized customs or practices not  inconsistent with law. In the event of the death of a present or former official  of the government of any State, territory, or possession of the United  States, the Governor of that State, territory, or possession may proclaim  that the National flag shall be flown at half-staff. The flag shall be flown  at half-staff thirty days from the death of the President or a former  President; ten days from the day of death of the Vice President, the Chief  Justice or a retired Chief Justice of the United States, or the Speaker of  the House of Representatives; from the day of death until interment of an  Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, a
Secretary of an executive or  military department, a former Vice President, or the Governor of a State,  territory, or possession; and on the day of death and the following day for a  Member of Congress. As used in this subsection - 
(1) the term  'half-staff' means the position of the flag when it is one-half the  distance between the top and bottom of the staff; 
(2) the term 'executive  or military department' means any agency listed under sections 101 and 102 of  title 5; and 
(3) the term 'Member of Congress' means a Senator, a  Representative, a Delegate, or the Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico. 
(n) When the flag is used to cover a casket, it should be so placed that the  union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be  lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground. 
(o) When the flag  is suspended across a corridor or lobby in a building with only one  main entrance, it should be suspended vertically with the union of the flag  to the observer's left upon entering. If the building has more than one main  entrance, the flag should be suspended vertically near the center of the  corridor or lobby with the union to the north, when entrances are to the east  and west or to the east when entrances are to the north and south. If there  are entrances in more than two directions, the union should be to the east. 

 
 
 
§176. Respect for flag

No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the  United States of America; the flag should not be dipped to any person or  thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional  flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor. 
(a) The flag should never  be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in  instances of extreme danger to life or property. 
(b) The flag should never  touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water,  or merchandise. 
(c) The flag should never be carried flat or  horizontally, but always aloft and free. 
(d) The flag should never be used  as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn  back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of  blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the  middle, and the red
below, should be used for covering a speaker's desk,  draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general. 
(e) The  flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to  permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way. 
(f) The flag  should never be used as a covering for a ceiling. 
(g) The flag should never  have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark,  insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature. 
(h) The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding,  carrying, or delivering anything. 
(i) The flag should never be used for  advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered  on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed  or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed  for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a  staff or halyard from which the flag is flown. 
(j) No part of the flag  should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch  may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and  members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and  is itself considered a living
thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a  replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart. 
(k) The flag,  when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display,  should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning. 

§177. Conduct during hoisting, lowering or passing of  flag
During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the  flag is passing in a parade or in review, all persons present except those in  uniform should face the flag and stand at attention with the right hand over  the heart. Those present in uniform should render the military salute. When not  in uniform, men should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold  it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Aliens should stand  at attention. The salute to the flag in a moving column
should be rendered at  the moment the flag passes. 

§178. Modification of rules and customs  by President
Any rule or custom pertaining to the display of the flag of  the United States of America, set forth herein, may be altered, modified, or  repealed, or additional rules with respect thereto may be prescribed, by the  Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, whenever  he deems it to be appropriate or desirable; and any such alteration or  additional rule shall be set forth in a proclamation. 

§179.  Design for service flag; persons entitled to display flag
The Secretary  of Defense is authorized and directed to approve a design for a service flag,  which flag may be displayed in a window of the place of residence of persons  who are members of the immediate family of a person serving in the armed  forces of the United States during any period of war or hostilities in which  the Armed Forces of the United States may be engaged. 

§180. Design  for service lapel button; persons entitled to wear button
The Secretary  of Defense is also authorized and directed to approve a design for a service  lapel button, which button may be worn by members of the immediate family of  a person serving in the armed forces of the United States during any period  of war or hostilities in which the Armed Forces of the United States may be  engaged. 

§181. Approval of designs by Secretary of Defense; license  to manufacture and sell; penalties upon the approval by the Secretary  of Defense of the design for such service flag and service lapel
button, he  shall cause notice thereof, together with a description of the approved flag and  button, to be published in the Federal Register. Thereafter any person may  apply to the Secretary of Defense for a license to manufacture and sell the  approved service flag, or the approved service lapel button, or both. Any  person, firm, or corporation who manufactures any such service flag or service  lapel button without having first obtained such a license, or otherwise  violates sections 179 to 182 of this title, shall, upon conviction thereof,  be fined not more than $1,000. 

§182. Rules and  regulations
The Secretary of Defense is authorized to make such rules and  regulations as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of sections 179  to 182 of this title. 

§182a to 182d. Repealed. Pub. L. 89-534, § 2,  Aug. 11, 1966, 80 Stat. 345 

§183, 184. Repealed. Pub. L. 85-857,  § 14(84), Sept. 2, 1958, 72 Stat. 1272

§185. Transferred

§186. National motto
The national motto of the  United States is declared to be 'In God we trust.' 

§187. National  floral emblem
The flower commonly known as the rose is designated and  adopted as the national floral emblem of the United States of America, and  the President of the United States is authorized and requested to declare  such fact by proclamation. 

§188. National march
The  composition by John Philip Sousa entitled 'The Stars and Stripes Forever' is  hereby designated as the national march of the United States of America. 

§189. Recognition of National League of Families POW/MIA  flag
The National League of Families POW/MIA flag is hereby recognized  officially and designated as the symbol of our Nation's concern and  commitment to resolving as fully as possible the fates of Americans still  prisoner, missing and unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, thus ending the  uncertainty for their families and the Nation. 

Miscellaneous References

 
 
     
 
 
UNITED STATES CODE

TITLE 4

CHAPTER 1 - THE FLAG

 
 
     
 
 
§1. Flag; stripes and stars on

The flag of the United States shall be  thirteen horizontal stripes, alternate red and white; and the union of the  flag shall be fifty stars, white in a blue field. 

§ 2. Same;  additional stars
On the admission of a new State into the Union one star  shall be added to the union of the flag; and such addition shall take effect  on the fourth day of July then next succeeding such admission. 

§  3. Use of flag for advertising purposes; mutilation of flag
Any person  who, within the District of Columbia, in any manner, for exhibition or display,  shall place or cause to be placed any word, figure, mark, picture, design,  drawing, or any advertisement of any nature upon any flag, standard, colors,  or ensign of the United States of America; or shall expose or cause to be  exposed to public view any such flag, standard, colors, or ensign upon which  shall have been printed, painted, or otherwise placed, or to which shall be  attached, appended, affixed, or annexed any word, figure, mark, picture,  design, or drawing, or any advertisement of any nature; or who, within the  District of Columbia, shall manufacture, sell, expose for sale, or to public  view, or give away or have in possession for sale, or to be given away or for  use for any purpose, any article or substance being an article of  merchandise, or a receptacle for merchandise or article or thing for carrying  or transporting merchandise, upon which shall have been printed, painted,  attached, or otherwise placed a representation of any such flag, standard,  colors, or ensign, to advertise, call attention to, decorate, mark, or  distinguish the article or substance on which so placed shall be deemed  guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $100 or  by imprisonment for not more than thirty days, or both, in the discretion of  the court. The words 'flag, standard, colors, or ensign', as used herein,  shall include any flag, standard, colors, ensign, or any picture or  representation of either, or of any part or parts of either, made of any  substance or represented on any substance, of any size evidently purporting  to be either of said flag, standard, colors, or ensign of the United States  of America or a picture or a representation of either, upon which shall be  shown the colors, the stars and the stripes, in any number of either thereof, or  of any part or parts of either, by which the average person seeing the same  without deliberation may believe the same to represent the flag, colors,  standard, or ensign of the United States of America. 

 
 
   
 
 
UNITED STATES CODE

TITLE 4

CHAPTER 2 - THE SEAL

 
 
   
 
§ 41. Seal of the United States

The seal heretofore used by the United  States in Congress assembled is declared to be the seal of the United States. 

§ 42. Same; custody and use of
The Secretary of State  shall have the custody and charge of such seal. Except as provided by  section 2902(a) of title 5, the seal shall not be affixed to any instrument  without the special warrant of the President therefor. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
UNITED STATES CODE

TITLE 5

PART III

 
 
 
 
 
 
CHAPTER 29 - COMMISSIONS, OATHS, RECORDS, AND REPORTS

SUBCHAPTER I -  COMMISSIONS, OATHS, AND RECORDS

§ 2902. Commission; where  recorded
(a) Except as provided by subsections (b) and (c) of this  section, the Secretary of State shall make out and record, and affix the seal  of the United States to, the commission of an officer appointed by the  President. The seal of the United States may not be affixed to the commission  before the commission has been signed by the President. 

 
 
 
 
 
UNITED STATES CODE

TITLE 5 PART I

CHAPTER 1 - ORGANIZATION

 
 
 
 
 
 
§ 101. Executive departments

The Executive departments are: 
The  Department of State. The Department of the Treasury. The Department of Defense.  The Department of Justice. The Department of the Interior. The Department of  Agriculture. The Department of Commerce. The Department of Labor. The  Department of Health and Human Services. The Department of Housing and Urban  Development. The Department of Transportation. The Department of Energy. The  Department of Education. The Department of Veterans Affairs. 

§  102. Military departments
The military departments are: 
The  Department of the Army. The Department of the Navy. The Department of the Air  Force. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
UNITED STATES CODE

TITLE 18

Part I. CRIMES AND CRIMINAL  PROCEDURE

 
 
 
 
 
 
CHAPTER 33 - EMBLEMS, INSIGNIA, AND NAMES

THIS TITLE WAS ENACTED BY ACT  JUNE 25, 1948, CH. 645, SEC. 1, 62 STAT. 683

§ 700. Desecration of  the flag of the United States; penalties
(a)(1) Whoever knowingly  mutilates, defaces, physically defiles, burns, maintains on the floor or  ground, or tramples upon any flag of the United States shall be fined under this  title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both. 
(2) This  subsection does not prohibit any conduct consisting of the disposal of a flag  when it has become worn or soiled. 
(b) As used in this section, the term  'flag of the United States' means any flag of the United States, or any part  thereof, made of any substance, of any size, in a form that is  commonly displayed. 
(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed as  indicating an intent on the part of Congress to deprive any State, territory,  possession, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico of jurisdiction over any  offense over which it would have jurisdiction in the absence of this section. 
(d)(1) An appeal may be taken directly to the Supreme Court of the United  States from any interlocutory or final judgment, decree, or order issued by a  United States district court ruling upon the constitutionality of subsection  (a). 
(2) The Supreme Court shall, if it has not previously ruled on the  question, accept jurisdiction over the appeal and advance on the docket and  expedite to the greatest extent possible. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
UNITED STATES CODE

TITLE 2

CHAPTER 9A - ORGANIZATION

 
 
 
 
 
 
§ 285b. Functions

The functions of the Office shall be as follows: 
(1) To prepare, and submit to the Committee on the Judiciary one title  at a time, a complete compilation, restatement, and revision of the general  and permanent laws of the United States which conforms to the understood  policy, intent, and purpose of the Congress in the original enactments, with  such amendments and corrections as will remove ambiguities,  contradictions, and other imperfections both of substance and of form,  separately stated, with a view to the enactment of each title as positive  law. 
(2) To examine periodically all of the public laws enacted by the  Congress and submit to the Committee on the Judiciary recommendations for the  repeal of obsolete, superfluous, and superseded provisions contained therein. 
(3) To prepare and publish periodically a new edition of the United States  Code (including those titles which are not yet enacted into positive law as  well as those titles which have been so enacted), with annual cumulative  supplements reflecting newly enacted laws. 
(4) To classify newly enacted  provisions of law to their proper positions in the Code where the titles  involved have not yet been enacted into positive law. 
(5) To prepare and  submit periodically such revisions in the titles of the Code which have been  enacted into positive law as may be necessary to keep such titles current. 
(6) To prepare and publish periodically new editions of the District of  Columbia Code, with annual cumulative supplements reflecting newly enacted  laws, through publication of the fifth annual cumulative supplement to the  1973 edition of such Code. 
(7) To provide the Committee on the Judiciary  with such advice and assistance as the committee may request in carrying out  its functions with respect to the revision and codification of the Federal  statutes.




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