Flying the American Flag: A Guide to Avoiding Common Mistakes

Flying the American Flag: A Guide to Avoiding Common Mistakes

Posted by Hayley Adams on Jan 18th 2024

Flying the American flag is a symbol of patriotism and unity for many Americans around the nation. As a flag owner, you should know that there are some flag laws that need to be followed. While you won’t get jail time if you don't, it's important to know that these golden rules specified by the flag code exist, and we recommend following them! 

Here's a quick guide on the "don'ts" when it comes to flying the American flag.

  1. Never fly your American flag upside down. This is only acceptable as a signal of severe personal distress, such as extreme danger to life or property. This could mean that your soul will go to heaven or people are charging your home with torches. Not so much that solicitors are approaching or you’re unhappy with the current state of the government.
  2. Never display a faded or tattered flag. A worn-out flag should be retired and replaced with a new one.
  3. Never let your American flag touch the ground. This is a sign of disrespect and goes against the code of conduct for handling the flag.
  4. Never use the American flag as decoration or apparel. This includes bedding, drapery, decoration for a speaker’s desk or front of a platform, and types of clothing. While the patriotic spirit is appreciated, the American flag should be taken seriously. For decorations check out our pans, pulldowns, and buntings.
  5. Never put anything on the American flag. Nothing should be placed upon it or attached to it. Yes, that includes marks, letters, words, persons, designs, pictures, symbols, or drawings. The bald eagle might be super patriotic, but it still doesn’t belong on the American flag.
  6. When hanging the flag vertically, ensure that the stars are always in the upper left corner. Any other way wold be incorrect. 
  7. Never use the American flag as a part of a costume or athletic uniform. That being said, a flag patch is acceptable when attached to the uniform of military members, police officers, firefighters, and members of patriotic organizations.
  8. Properly retire the American flag when it is no longer a fit to fly. The preferable way to retire the American flag is through a respectable burning ceremony. You can learn more about how to respectfully dispose of your flag on our flag and flagpole FAQ page.

In conclusion, displaying the American flag comes with a responsibility to honor the values it represents. By avoiding these common mistakes, we can ensure that our flag continues to symbolize the principles of freedom and unity for generations to come. 


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