Etiquette for Displaying the U.S. Flag
Here are a few things you should know when displaying the U.S. flag on private property:
•On Memorial Day the flag is flown at half-staff until noon and at full staff from noon to sunset. The flag should be displayed at half staff in mourning the death of principal government leaders or upon presidential or gubernatorial order. The flag shall be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day, unless that day is also Armed Forces Day.
•Half-staff means the flag is one-half the distance between the top and bottom of the staff.
•To properly place the flag at half-staff, you should first raise the flag to the top of the staff for a moment and then lower it to half-staff.
•The custom is to fly the U.S. flag daily from sunrise to sunset. If you would like to display it 24 hours a day, illuminate it at night.
•When the U.S. flag is displayed on a staff from a window or balcony, the stars should be at the top of the staff unless it is at half-staff. When lowering the flag for the day after it is at half-staff, raise the flag to the top of the pole and lower it.
•If you are draping the flag out a window or over a building, hang it vertically with the stars to the left of anyone looking at it from below.
Multi-flags on a staff.
•The U.S. flag should never touch the ground, the floor, water or anything underneath it.
•If the U.S. flag is displayed on the same pole as another flag, the U.S. flag must be on top. The U.S. flag should be the largest flag on display.
Caring For Your Flag
•You can wash most outdoor flags in a mild detergent. Rinse thoroughly. Hang it up to dry.
•If the forecast calls for rain, take your flag down. Rain will cause the colors to fade faster. If your flag gets caught in the rain, take it down and hang it up to dry.
•Rusting flag poles cause flag problems. The rough metal on the pole will catch the flag and tear the fabric. Rust will also cause permanent stains on your flag and eat holes in the fabric. If you have a lot of rust on your flag pole, think about purchasing a new pole.
The History Of Flag Day
The Fourth of July was traditionally celebrated as America's birthday, but the idea of an annual day specifically celebrating the Flag is believed to have first originated in 1885. BJ Cigrand, a schoolteacher, arranged for the pupils in the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School, District 6, to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes) as 'Flag Birthday'. In numerous magazines and newspaper articles and public addresses over the following years, Cigrand continued to enthusiastically advocate the observance of June 14 as 'Flag Birthday', or 'Flag Day'.
On June 14, 1889, George Balch, a kindergarten teacher in New York City, planned appropriate ceremonies for the children of his school, and his idea of observing Flag Day was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York. On June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia held a Flag Day celebration, and on June 14 of the following year, the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution, celebrated Flag Day.
Following the suggestion of Colonel J Granville Leach (at the time historian of the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution), the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America on April 25, 1893 adopted a resolution requesting the mayor of Philadelphia and all others in authority and all private citizens to display the Flag on June 14th. Leach went on to recommend that thereafter the day be known as 'Flag Day', and on that day, school children be assembled for appropriate exercises, with each child being given a small Flag.
Two weeks later on May 8th, the Board of Managers of the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution unanimously endorsed the action of the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames. As a result of the resolution, Dr. Edward Brooks, then Superintendent of Public Schools of Philadelphia, directed that Flag Day exercises be held on June 14, 1893 in Independence Square. School children were assembled, each carrying a small Flag, and patriotic songs were sung and addresses delivered.
In 1894, the governor of New York directed that on June 14 the Flag be displayed on all public buildings. With BJ Cigrand and Leroy Van Horn as the moving spirits, the Illinois organization, known as the American Flag Day Association, was organized for the purpose of promoting the holding of Flag Day exercises. On June 14th, 1894, under the auspices of this association, the first general public school children's celebration of Flag Day in Chicago was held in Douglas, Garfield, Humboldt, Lincoln, and Washington Parks, with more than 300,000 children participating.
Adults, too, participated in patriotic programs. Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior, delivered a 1914 Flag Day address in which he repeated words he said the flag had spoken to him that morning: "I am what you make me; nothing more. I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color, a symbol of yourself."
Inspired by these three decades of state and local celebrations, Flag Day - the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 - was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson's proclamation, it was not until August 3rd, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.