Flag Day and United States Flag Code

May 21, 2018

In honor of Flag Day, Lincoln would like to share the day’s history and how you can show your patriotism by following the United States Code when displaying your flag.

During the American Revolution, on June 14th, 1777, the Continental Congress established an official flag, stating that “the flag of the United States be thirteen alternate stripes red and white” and that “the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.” The exact origin of this design is still historically deliberated, but the new American nation now had a uniting flag that has taken on deeply patriotic significance ever since.

Citizens wished to celebrate the beloved American flag as a symbol for freedom, sacrifice, and patriotism. On June 14, 1877, the first Flag Day observance was held on the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the American flag and in 1949, Congress officially designated June 14th as Flag Day. Two school teachers, BJ Cigrand and George Balch are credited with helping Flag Day become nationally recognized.

The flag code, based on military guidelines, is more than a set of laws regulating how the flag should be treated and displayed. It is also a guarantee of the right of every United States citizen to fly the flag. A properly displayed flag tells the world you are proud to be an American and you are dedicated to showing the flag its due respect.

  • If you choose to display your outdoor flag twenty-four hours a day, it must be properly illuminated with a light from sunset to sunrise.
  • Any time you are raising or lowering your flag, raise it briskly (quickly, with intention, not rushing) and lower it in a dignified and ceremoniously slower fashion.
  • Ensure that your flag is displayed in a place of prominence in any setting. Do not hang any other flags higher than nor larger than the United States flag and examine the flag code further on the proper location and sizing of other flags with respect to the United States flag.
  • You can purchase a flag that is designed for “all weather”, made out of durable, weather-resistant material so that the flag can stay up during lighter inclement weather. However, if your flag is not designed for all-weather use, bring it indoors during any wet or bad weather. No United States flag should remain displayed if the weather is potentially bad enough to damage or alter it.
  • Whether you are using a pole or a staff to display your flag, it should be able to billow without obstruction, with the union (the blue section with white stars) at the peak. Under no circumstances should a flag ever touch the ground, water, nor any object beneath it.
  • Maintain awareness on days and times your flag should be flown at “half-staff” or “half-mast” as a sign of respect and reverence on days marked by solemn remembrance, tragic loss, or mourning.

Whether you display your flag daily or only on special occasions, it is important to display it correctly and proudly in order to honor the principles and values that our flag symbolizes. For more information on federal law relating to the display of the US flag, visit www.usa.gov/flag





“The American Flag.” USA.Gov, 26 Mar. 2018, www.usa.gov/flag.

“Today in History – June 14.” The Library of Congress, The Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/item/today-in-history/june-14/.

United States Code, 2011 Edition



Categories: Miscellaneous

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