American Legion Flag Etiquette
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with flags of states, communities, or societies on
separate flag poles which are of the same height and in
a straight line, the flag of the United States is always
placed in the position of honor - to its own right. The
other flags may be smaller but none may be larger. No
other flag ever should be placed above it. The flag of
the United States is always the first flag raised and
the last to be lowered.
When flown with the national banner of other countries,
each flag must be displayed from a separate pole of the
same height. Each flag should be the same size. They
should be raised and lowered simultaneously. The flag of
one nation may not be displayed above that of another
and Lowering The Flag
The flag should be raised briskly and lowered slowly and
ceremoniously. Ordinarily it should be displayed only
between sunrise and sunset. It should be illuminated if
displayed at night. The flag of the United States of
America is saluted as it is hoisted and lowered. The
salute is held until the flag is unsnapped from the
halyard or through the last note of music, whichever is
Displaying The Flag Indoors
When on display, the flag is accorded the place of
honor, always positioned to its own right. Place it to
the right of the speaker or staging area or sanctuary.
Other flags should be to the left.
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, localities, or societies are
grouped for display.
When one flag is used with the flag of the United States
of America and the staffs are crossed, the flag of the
United States is placed on its own right with its staff
in front of the other flag.
When displaying the flag against a wall, vertically or
horizontally, the flag's union (stars) should be at the
top, to the flag's own right, and to the observer's
Parading and Saluting The Flag
When carried in a procession, the flag should be to the
right of the marchers. When other flags are carried, the
flag of the United States may be centered in front of
the others or carried to their right. When the flag
passes in a procession, or when it is hoisted or
lowered, all should face the flag and salute.
To salute, all persons come to attention. Those in
uniform give the appropriate formal salute. Citizens not
in uniform salute by placing their right hand over the
heart and men with head cover should remove it and hold
it to left shoulder, hand over the heart. Members of
organizations in formation salute upon command of the
person in charge.
Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem
The pledge of allegiance should be rendered by standing
at attention, facing the flag, and saluting. When the
national anthem is played or sung, citizens should stand
at attention and salute at the first note and hold the
salute through the last note. The salute is directed to
the flag, if displayed, otherwise to the music.
Flag in Mourning
To place the flag at half staff, hoist it to the peak
for an instant and lower it to a position half way
between the top and bottom of the staff. The flag is to
be raised again to the peak for a moment before it is
lowered. On Memorial Day, the flag is displayed at half
staff until noon and at full staff from noon to sunset.
The flag is to be flown at half staff in mourning for
designated, principal government leaders and upon
presidential or gubernatorial order.
When used to cover a casket, the flag should be placed
with the union at the head and over the left shoulder.
It should not be lowered into the grave....
Veterans can now salute during national anthem
Veterans and active-duty service members not in uniform
can now render the hand salute during the playing of our
national anthem, thanks to changes in federal law that
took effect November, 2008. The legislative change was
sponsored by Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., an Army veteran,
and included in the Defense Authorization Act of 2009.
The new provision improves upon a little-known change in
federal law last year that authorized veterans to render
the hand salute during the raising, lowering or passing
of the flag. But it did not address salutes during the
national anthem. Last year's provision also applied to
members of the armed forces while not in uniform.
The American Legion has opposed the saluting of the U.S.
Flag when it is being raised, lowered or is in passing
by those who are not in uniform. At its National
Convention in Phoenix last August, the Legion passed a
resolution against the practice, saying that it "causes
confusion leading to breaches of flag etiquette with
regard to proper conduct during the recitation of the
Pledge of Allegiance."
Furthermore, the Legion is concerned that salutes from
veterans and service members out of uniform will be
imitated by the general public as the proper way to
honor the U.S. Flag and/or national anthem. In
responding to numerous phone calls and e-mails on the
issue, the Legion's Americanism Commission offers this
advice: "The law does allow veterans to render the right
hand salute, but does not mandate it. If you feel
uncomfortable in any situation where the flag is being
raised, lowered or is passing in review, the traditional
right hand over the heart - with the hat removed - is
still a viable and very respectful alternative to the
Traditionally, members of veterans service organizations
have rendered hand-salutes during the national anthem,
and at events involving the flag, while wearing their
organization's official headgear.
Page Maintained By:
Yvette Munroe &
December 19, 2015