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Memorial Day Half-Staff Etiquette for Flying Flags


Memorial Day Half-staff Etiquette for Properly Honoring Our Nation’s Heroes.

Half-Staff Etiquette

This year Memorial Day falls on Monday, May 27, 2013. While Memorial Day has largely become the “kickoff” to summer with outdoor celebrations and barbecues please take a moment to remember the men and women who died serving in the United States Armed Forces, the reason we celebrate Memorial Day each year. Also, as you prepare for the day’s festivities, keep in mind the proper protocol for flying a flag this (and all subsequent) Memorial Days to properly honor our nation’s heroes.

According to United States Code Title 4 Chapter 1, Section 7, “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, and then raised to the top of the staff.” An easy way to remember when to fly a flag at half-staff is think of when the entire nation is mourning or remembrance. A Presidential proclamation can also order the lowering of the American flag to half-staff at any given day when a military, political, or important public figure passes away.

Half-staff etiquette for memorial day

Proper flag etiquette also requires you to ensure the flag you are flying is in pristine condition. There should be no holes or tears, the flag should not be tattered, and the color should be vibrant – not faded. If the flag you plan to fly is not in good condition, properly dispose of the American Flag – preferably by burning the flag – and obtain a new one to properly display.

Now that you have your American flag flying properly, how are you going to celebrate the holiday? You could attend a parade, visit the grave of a loved one, or make some patriotic food and play flag-inspired games! Find a whole list of Memorial Day activities here.


Flag Etiquette
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3 Responses

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  2. Mike Estep says:

    Is there a proper etiquette on placing the flag at Half-Staff if it is always flown at our Elks Lodge and illuminated. We want to place it at half staff for 9/11 and want to make sure it’s done properly.

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