4, United States Code, Chapter 1
As Adopted by the National Flag Conference, Washington, D.C., June 14-15,
1923, and Revised and Endorsed by the Second National Flag Conference, Washington,
D.C., May 15, 1924. Revised and adopted at P.L. 623, 77th Congress, Second
Session, June 22, 1942; as Amended by P.L. 829, 77th Congress, Second Session,
December 22, 1942; P.L. 107 83rd Congress, 1st Session, July 9, 1953; P.L.
396, 83rd Congress, Second Session, June 14, 1954; P.L. 363, 90th Congress,
Second Session, June 28, 1968; P.L. 344, 94th Congress, Second Session, July
7, 1976; P.L. 322, 103rd Congress, Second Session, September 13, 1994; P.L.
225, 105th Congress, Second Session, August 12, 1998; and P.L. 80, 106th Congress,
First Session, October 25, 1999.
4. 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
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 this title and Executive Order 10834 issued pursuant thereto.
6. Time and occasions for display
(a) It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset
on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic
effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated
during the hours of darkness.
(b) The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
(c) The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement,
except when an all weather flag is displayed.
(d) The flag should be displayed on all days, especially on New Year's Day,
January 1; Inauguration Day, January 20; Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday,
the third Monday in January; 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
(e) The flag should be displayed daily on or near the main administration
building of every public institution.
(f) The flag should be displayed in or near every polling place on election
(g) The flag should be displayed during school days in or near every schoolhouse.
7. 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
(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 30
days from the death of the President or a former President; 10 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. The flag shall be flown at
half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day, unless that day is also Armed Forces
Day. 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, United States Code; 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
8. 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
(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
(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
(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
9. 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 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.
10. 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.
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