How to Respect the American Flag

The American Flag is an important symbol of the American nation. It is considered to be very important by patriots to learn what it is and how to respect it properly. Below are some rules and guidelines so you can get the most out of respecting the American flag and America.


  1. Image titled Respect the American Flag Step 1
    Study the United States Flag Code . Many people do not understand that this is a legal issue. Specific Federal laws regulate the display, maintenance, and disposal of the flag.
    • The American flag stands for freedom. Burning the flag is a major sign of disrespect, and is seen as intolerable by many Americans. However, burning damaged flags to retire them in a manner allowed by the United States flag code, as mentioned in a later step, is acceptable.
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    Learn about the history of the flag. From it's origin, believed to have been designed by Francis Hopkinson, a Congressman from New Jersey and patriot, to the present day flag, it has seen the development of this nation through many dark and perilous times, as well as good times.
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    Learn about the flag itself, what each element means and how it has changed over the years. The flag is made up of three elements, the red and white stripes, which represent the original thirteen colonies, and the canton or union with white stars on the blue background, numbering fifty, which represents the current fifty states.
  4. Image titled Respect the American Flag Step 4
    Understand flag etiquette. How do you salute it, and when. Military persons in uniform, Boy and Girl Scouts in uniform, and military veterans salute it with a military salute when it is paraded, when the Pledge of Allegiance is said, or when the National Anthem is played. Civilians remove their hat with their right hand and hold it over their left shoulder, or if they are not wearing a hat, they hold their right hand over their heart.
  5. Image titled Respect the American Flag Step 5
    Display the flag properly. When flown in the United States, the flag of the United States of America flies higher than other flags, and it is the largest flag of any group it is in. If the flag is flown at night, there needs to be a light to illuminate the flag.
    • Notice if there has been an Executive Order to fly the flag half-staff, and do so.
    • At governmental buildings, the flag is flown near the center front in a position of prominence.
    • On military bases, the Commanding Officer's Headquarters Building will have the highest flagpole.
    • When the flag is displayed hanging from a wall, the Union (the blue field with stars) is at the upper left side.
    • When draped on a coffin for a military burial, the Union is at the head of the casket over the left shoulder of the departed.
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    Observe Flag Day, June 14th.
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    Raise and lower the flag properly. When raising the flag, it is hoisted quickly, as if it were charging an enemy, when lowering, go slowly, as if reluctant to retreat.
  8. Image titled Respect the American Flag Step 8
    Never allow a United States flag to touch the ground. If it does touch the ground, simply clean it and continue to use it.
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    When handling a flag, fold it so that it can be carried compactly and held securely. Fold the flag according to the prescribed folding procedures.
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    Never dip the flag to another flag as a salute to any organization, person, or thing.
  11. Image titled Respect the American Flag Step 11
    Keep the flag in good condition. It is considered disrespectful of the flag to display it when it has become damaged, faded, or otherwise worn.
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    Dispose of a retired flag by burning it. The idea is that a flag should not be seen in a trash heap or mixed with garbage. Contact your local fire department or the Boy Scouts of America to have your worn out flag retired in a proper ceremony.


  • An interesting fact about the stars on the US flag is that each time a state is added to the Union, a star is added on the following Fourth of July.
  • Flags are posted at schools, churches, buildings, home and work to showcase the importance of the American flag and our Country.
  • Be very careful not to make fun of the flag while saying, the Pledge of Allegiance or when singing the National Anthem, because it is disrespectful.
  • Even though there is not longer a threat of criminal penalties for breaking the U.S. Flag Code, it is still illegal to do so.

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Categories: Flags