Dear Sun Spots: More and more people seem to be displaying our country’s flags. This is certainly commendable, especially in conjunction with national holidays. It might be a good time for Sun Spots to list some of the rules for displaying the flag. – Harold Allen, Topsham.

Answer:
Sun Spots would like to thank this reader for his timeliness, and wish column readers and their families a wonderful Independence Day holiday!

Here are some helpful excerpts from www.ushistory.org, a Web site created by the Independence Hall Association in Philadelphia. In Web site’s Betsy Ross section, it includes a flag picture gallery that’s helpful if you want to see what the Betsy Ross flag looked like, as well as a flag timeline and directions for creating a five-pointed star.

From www.ushistory.org, “How to Display the Flag”: 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.

When flown at half-staff, it 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. “Half-staff” means lowering the flag to one-half the distance between the top and bottom of the staff.

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 right of the flag of the United States.

When carried in a procession with another flag, or flags, it 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.

When 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.

When the flag is displayed in a manner other than by being flown from a staff, it should be displayed flat, whether indoors or out. 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 it should be displayed in the same way, that is with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street. When festoons, rosettes or drapings are desired, bunting of blue, white and red should be used, but never the flag.

The flag 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.

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.

When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium on or off a podium, 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 (to the right of the audience).

When the flag is displayed on a car, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.

When hung in a window where it is viewed from the street, place the union at the head and over the left shoulder.

According to the Web site, the American flag is displayed 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.

The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.

The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed.

The flag should be displayed daily on or near the main administration building of every public institution.

The flag should be displayed in or near every polling place on election days.

The flag should be displayed during school days in or near every schoolhouse.


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