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Carrying the Flag

Carrying an American Flag is a great way to pay tribute to flag and to the United States, but carrying it improperly can be disrespectful. The Flag Code specifies the rules and regulations of handling and displaying the flag in an appropriate manner.

Proper Procedure

  • Unless the flag is folded, it should be carried on a handheld staff, so it can fly freely. It should never be carried flat, horizontally or vertically.
  • The only time a flag can be carried flat is when it is draped over a casket at a funeral.
  • You can tilt the staff forward, allowing the flag to fly in front of you or you can rest the staff on your right shoulder allowing the flag to fly behind you.
  • If you tilt the staff forward, you should hold the base of the staff in your left hand at your waist. Place your right hand about two feet up the staff. You can also purchase a flag holder which ties around the waist and holds the base of the staff.
  • Do not hold the flag at an angle where it falls over the staff.
  • Never allow the flag to touch the ground or any object below it.
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    In Parades

  • In a parade or procession with other flags, the American Flag should be located to the flag's own right. In a line of flags, the American Flag should be in the front and center of the other flags. These are both positions of prominence.
  • As the flag passes in a parade, you should face the flag and place your right hand over your heart. Men and women in uniform should perform a military salute to the flag.
  • The flag shouldn't be draped over a vehicle or float.
  • It can be secured to a float or slow-moving vehicle on a staff. The flag must be far enough away that it can fly freely.
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    References

    U.S. Code, Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 7, Section 8 & Section 9.

    The Care and Display of the American Flag by the Editors of SharpMan.com 2004.



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