American Flag Etiquette, What You Shouldn’t Do

U.S government offices fly the American flag every day, and citizens are encouraged to fly flags as well; there’s even a list of holidays where citizens fly their own flags, like Independence Day and Patriot’s day. However, not everyone is informed about proper flag etiquette.

What is Flag Etiquette?

Flag etiquette is the way we, as U.S citizens, honor our country’s flag and respect it. When we respect the flag, we are also respecting the men and women who sacrificed their lives and fought every day for our freedom. 

The U.S Flag code is Title 4 of the United States Code, Section 8. It presents the acceptable uses of the flag, as well as how it should be displayed.


There are different instances where one might be flying the U.S Flag, and there are ways the flag is supposed to be handled.

When displaying the flag, you need to DO the following:

  • Do place the U.S Flag above all other flags on a staff pole.
  • Place the flag on the observer’s left when using it during a marching ceremony or parade with other flags.
  • The flag may be flown at half-staff on special days like Memorial Day.
  • When flown at half-staff, the flag should initially be hoisted to the peak for a moment before being lowered to the half-staff position. This action should be repeated before lowering the flag.
  • On a podium, the U.S Flag should be placed to the speaker’s right.
  • When the flag is covering a casket, the union should be placed at the head and over the left shoulder. Be sure not to lower the flag into the grave or allow it to touch the ground.

Do the following when saluting the flag:

  • Those present in uniform should perform the military salute. Members of the armed forces who are not in uniform may perform the military salute.
  • Citizens should face the flag and stand at attention, their right hand over their heart.

When storing or disposing of, do:

  • Fold the flag in its traditional triangle. Never wad the flag up.
  • When disposing of the U.S Flag, it should be folded in its customary manner before being placed on the fire.


There are several things that you absolutely should not do due to flag etiquette, and it would do you good to keep these in mind.

  • Don’t dip the U.S Flag for anyone, whether that be another flag, a person, or a vessel.
  • Don’t allow the flag to touch the ground.
  • Don’t carry the flag flat, and especially don’t use it to carry things.
  • Don’t use the flag as an article of clothing.
  • Don’t use the flag as a cover from the weather.
  • Don’t tie the flag back or fasten it. It should always be allowed to slow free
  • Don’t draw on or mark up the flag in any way.

Now that you know the proper flag etiquette, be sure to follow it the next time you fly your flag. If you don’t have a flag, there are some high-quality American Flags available commercially.

Joel Woodley

Joel Woodley is a Freelance Entertainment Journalist with a BA in Journalism and an MA in Film and Television. He loves to keep up with all the latest celebrity gossip. Despite being born and raised in the UK, he’s always up to date with stars and celebrities all around the world.

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