Flag Folding Tradition
Although the Flag Code does not specify a folding method, a tradition |
has developed over time. This method produces a triangular
form like that of a three-corner hat and shows only the blue union.
How to fold the flag
Straighten out the flag to full length.
Fold lengthwise once, then a second time to meet the open edge.
Make sure that the union of stars on the blue field remains outward in full view.
A large flag may have to be folded
lengthwise a third time.
Then bring the striped corner of the folded edge
to the open edge to form a triangular fold.
Turn the outer point inward parallel with the open edge to form a second triangle.
Continue the diagonal, or triangular, fold toward the blue union until the end is reached.
The folded flag should resemble a cocked
(three-corner) hat, and only the blue union with stars should show.
Old Glory in all its beauty, now ready to be placed in a special place and ready to wave proudly
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Our National Anthem
Francis Scott Key first published his impressions of the Fort McHenry victory
as a broadside poem, with a note that it should be sung to the popular British melody
"To Anacreon in Heaven." Soon after, Thomas Carr's Baltimore music store published
the words and music together under the title "The Star-Spangled Banner."
The song gained steadily in popularity in the years before the Civil War.
By 1861 it shared with "Yankee Doodle" and "Hail Columbia" the distinction of
being played on most patriotic occasions. Nonetheless Congress did not make
the song the national anthem until 1931.
Showing spelling and punctuation from Francis Scott Key's
"The Star-Spangled Banner"
manuscript in the Maryland Historical Society collection.
O say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming!
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there:
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave O'er
the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
'Tis the star-spangled banner - O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash'd out their foul footstep's pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov'd home and the war's desolation!
Blest with vict'ry and peace may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv'd us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto - "In God is our trust,"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
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The New England pine tree flag,
an important early regional symbol, assumed greater meaning in 1775 as the American colonies moved toward independence.
This naval flag,
used 1775 to 1776, combined two American symbols of liberty--stripes and the rattlesnake.
The Continental Colors, used by George Washington's army after Jan. 1, 1776, combined the Union Jack, the national emblem of the mother country, with the stripes of liberty.
This flag was authorized by Congress on June 14, 1777. The legislation did not specify how the stars should be arranged.
The 15-star, 15-stripe flag was authorized by Congress in 1795. This flag flew over Fort McHenry and became known as the Star-Spangled Banner.
The Easton flag, which dates from the War of 1812, displays the stars, stripes, and colors of the official United States flag in a unique configuration.
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The flag of today that we love so dearly, and that stands for what it means to live in The United States of America.
Pledge of Allegiance
The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States is the oath of loyalty to the U.S. national emblem and to the nation it symbolizes. The idea for such a pledge is said to have originated with one of the editors of The Youth's Companion, a magazine for children. By proclamation of President Benjamin Harrison, the pledge was first used on October 12, 1892, during Columbus Day observances in the public schools.
The original wording of the pledge was as follows:
I pledge allegiance to my flag and to
the republic for which it stands: one nation, indivisible, with liberty
and justice for all.
The pledge was amended subsequently by the substitution of the words “the flag of the United States of America” for the phrase “my flag.” The newly worded pledge was adopted officially on Flag Day, June 14, 1924. By joint resolution of Congress the pledge was further amended in 1954 by the addition of the words “under God.” This is how the pledge now reads:
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America
and to the republic for which it stands: one nation under God, indivisible,
with liberty and justice for all.
When reciting the pledge of allegiance, civilians should stand at attention or with the right hand over the heart. Men should remove their hats. Armed services personnel in uniform face the flag and give the military salute.
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The U.S. Flag Code
The U.S. flag code identifies the protocols for handling and displaying
the American flag. These rules were established in 1923 and 1924 by the
National Flag Conference, a meeting of patriotic groups in Washington, D.C.
The flag code became federal law in 1942.
Excerpts from the Code
Excerpts from the United States Code-Patriotic Customs (Title 36, Chapter 10)
173. Display and use of flag by civilians: codification of rules and customs; definition
The following codification of existing rules and customs pertaining to the display
and use of the flag of the United States of America is established for the use of
such civilians or civilian groups or organizations as may not be required to
conform with regulations promulgated by one or more executive departments
of the Government of the United States. The flag of the United States for the
purpose of this chapter shall be defined according to the Title 4,
United States Code, chapter 1 section 1, and section 2 and
Executive Order 10834 issued pursuant thereto.
174. Time and occasions for display
(a) It is the universal custom to display the flag only 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 twenty-four hours a day if properly
illuminated during the hours of darkness.
(b) The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
(c) The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement,
except when an all weather flag is displayed.
(d) The flag should be displayed on all days, especially on
New Year's Day - January 1 |
Inauguration Day - January 20
Lincoln's Birthday - February 12
Washington's Birthday - third Monday in February
Easter Sunday - (variable)
Mother's Day - second Sunday in May
Armed Forces Day - third Saturday in May
Memorial Day (half-staff until noon) - last Monday in May
Flag Day - June 14
Independence Day - July 4
Labor Day - first Monday - September 17
Columbus Day - second Monday in October
Navy Day - October 27
Veterans Day - November 11
Thanksgiving Day - fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day - December 25
Other days as may be proclaimed by the President of the United States
Birthdays of States (date of admission)
(e) The flag should be displayed daily on or near the main
administration building of every public institution.
(f) The flag should be displayed in or near every polling place on election days.
(g) The flag should be displayed during school days in or near every schoolhouse.
175. Position and manner of display
The flag, when carried in a procession with another flag or flags,
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.
(a) The flag should not be displayed on a float in a parade except from a staff,
or as provided in subsection (i) of this section.
(b) The flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or
back of a vehicle or of a railroad train or a boat. When the flag
is displayed on a motorcar, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the
chassis or clamped to the right fender.
(c) No other flag or pennant should be placed above, or,
if on the same level, to the right of the flag of
the United States of America, except during church services
conducted by naval chaplains at sea, when the church pennant may
be flown above the flag during church services for the personnel of
the Navy. No person shall display the flag of the United Nations or
any other national or international flag equal, above, or in a position
of superior prominence or honor to, or in place of, the flag of the
United States at any place within the United States or any Territory
or possession of thereof: Provided, that nothing in this section shall
make unlawful the continuance of the practice heretofore followed of
displaying the flag of the United Nations in a position of superior
prominence or honor, and other national flags in positions of equal
prominence or honor, with that of the flag of the United States at
the headquarters of the United Nations.
(d) The flag of the United States of America, when it is displayed
with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, should be on
the right, the flag's own right, and its staff should be in front
of the staff of the other flag.
(e) 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
or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs.
(f) 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 United States flag's right.
(g) 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 sized. International usage forbids the display
of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace.
(h) When the flag of the United States is displayed from a staff projecting
horizontally or at an angle from the window sill, balcony, or front of a
building, the union of the flag should be placed at the peak of the staff
unless the flag is at half staff. When the flag is suspended over a sidewalk
from a rope extending from a house to a pole at the edge of the sidewalk,
the flag should be hoisted out, union first, from the building.
(i) 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, the flag should be
displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the left of
the observer in the street.
(j) 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.
(k) When used on a speaker's platform, the flag, if displayed flat,
should be displayed above and behind the speaker. When displayed from
a staff in a church or public auditorium, 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 or to the right of the audience.
(l) The flag should form a distinctive feature of the ceremony of unveiling a
statue or monument, but it should never be used as the covering for the statue or monument.
(m) The flag, when flown at half-staff, 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. On Memorial Day the flag should
be displayed at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff.
By order of the President, the flag shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of
principal figures of the United States Government and the Governor of a State,
territory, or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory. In the event of
the death of a present or former official of the government of any State, territory,
or possession of the United States, the Governor of that State, territory, or
possession may proclaim that the National flag shall be flown at half-staff.
The flag shall be flown at half-staff thirty days from the death of the President
or a former President; ten days from the death of the Vice President,
the Chief Justice or a retired Chief Justice of the United States, or the Speaker
of the House of Representatives; from the day of death until internment of an
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, a Secretary of an executive or military
department, a former Vice President, or the Governor of a State, territory,
or possession; and on the day of death and the following day for a Member of Congress.
(n) When the flag is 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.
(o) When the flag is suspended across a corridor or lobby in a building with only one main entrance, it should be suspended vertically with the union of the flag to the observer's left upon entering. If the building has more than one main entrance, the flag should be suspended vertically near the center of the corridor or lobby with the union to the north, when entrances are to the east and west or to the east when entrances are to the north and south. If there are entrances in more than two directions, the union should be to the east.
176. Respect for the Flag
No disrespect should be shown to the flag of
the United States of America;
the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing.
Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional
flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.
(a) The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
(b) The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
(c) The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker's desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.
(e) The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
(f) The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.
(g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
(h) The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
(i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkin or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.
(j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.
(k) The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.
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177. Conduct during hoisting, lowering or passing flag
During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the
flag is passing in a parade or in review, all persons present
except those in uniform should face the flag and stand at attention
with the right hand over the heart. Those present in uniform should
render the military salute. When not in uniform, men should remove
their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder,
the hand being over the heart. Aliens should stand at attention.
The salute to the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes.