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The Flag and Patriotic Decorations


The Flag Code emphasizes that the American Flag is not a decoration but rather a symbol for the United States.

If you want to decorate with a patriotic theme, consider using red, white and blue bunting. You can also use other red, white and blue materials and stars and stripes to represent the flag without using its image.

The Rules:

  • The American Flag can't be draped over anything or used as a covering. It shouldn't touch anything beneath it. The only time the flag can be used as a covering is for a casket. This is common practice for the funerals of servicemen, veterans and government officials.
  • Don't draw the flag into folds. It should always be able to fall free.
  • Never use the flag or its image to advertise products or merchandise. The only instance where it may be used in advertisement is when the product advertised is an American Flag.
  • The flag can be displayed behind a speaker, but it cannot be used to decorate a platform or stage.
  • In a church or auditorium, if a flag is displayed on a staff, it should be located to the speaker's right as he/she faces the audience.
  • Don't wear the flag as clothing or use it as bedding or drapery.
  • A flag patch or pin may be worn by military personnel, policemen, firemen, and members of patriotic organizations. It should be placed near the heart.
  • Do not use the flag or its image to wrap a gift or to carry anything.
  • The flag shouldn't be marked with designs, drawings, letters, words or anything else.
  • It is acceptable to add gold or yellow fringe around the border of a flag as long as nothing is added to the body.
  • Representations of the flag shouldn't be printed or embroidered on paper products or anything else meant for temporary use and disposal.


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

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

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