Know your flag etiquette

Published 12:13 pm Saturday, December 9, 2017

Wherever there are Americans living, you’ll almost always find somebody flying the country’s flag. Take Thursday, for example, which was the 76th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. While there were no reported local services to commemorate the event, the flags should have been hung at half-mast, just as they were at the American Legion Post 73 on Armory Drive.

We did get word, though, that some places in Western Tidewater evidently did not follow procedure and that’s not been the only occasion. Perhaps such individuals or agencies were unaware of the requirement, or some other incident prevented the proper display. That happens.

Nevertheless, it brings to mind that a brief refresher course on some flag etiquette is required. Our source for a few instances can be found at

  • When the flag is to be flown at half-staff, first put it to the top for a moment and then lower it to the midway point. Raise it to the top before lowering for the day. Other occasions for half-mast: May 15, Peace Officers Memorial Day; Memorial Day; July 27, Korean War Veterans Armistice Day; and Sept. 11, Patriot Day. Other occasions are ordered by the President, such as for the death of a state governor or major person in federal government.
  • If the flag can be flown at night, it should be properly illuminated.
  • The U.S. flag goes either above or before any other flag, such as for a state, city, locality or even an organization with its own pennant. Raise the nation’s flag first and lower it last.

As our country is debating about how respect should be shown during the playing of the National Anthem, the least we can do is be clear on presenting the emblem wherever we are working, living or playing.

Your country will thank you.