The American Flag may be displayed with other flags as long as its display follows the rules specified by the Flag Code. These rules were set to make sure the American Flag is in a position of prominence over other flags. The flag represents the government of the United States, and on American soil, the government is the highest authority. The American flag is even displayed above church flags, except in rare instances.
- When displayed with other flags, the size of the American Flag should be larger than the other flags or relatively equal to the size of the largest flag. Other flags should not overshadow the American Flag in any way.
- The American Flag should be flown higher than lesser flags. If the flags are displayed on the same level, the American Flag should be flown to the (flag's own) right of all other flags. The right is a position of prominence.
- If the flags of other nations are displayed with the American Flag, they should be of equal size and at equal heights on separate staffs at a time of peace. The American Flag should be displayed to the (flag's own) right but not higher than other national flags.
- In a group of state, local and/or society flags, the American Flag should be flown highest and in the center.
- The American Flag should be hoisted first and lowered last, when flown with other flags on adjacent staffs.
- When the American Flag is displayed against a wall with another flag, it should be on the (flag's own) right with its staff in front of the other flag.
- Another nation's flag shouldn't be displayed on the same halyard as the American Flag.
- If a state, local or society flags are flown on the same halyard with the American Flag, the American Flag should be at the top.
- If the American Flag is carried in a procession with other flags, it should be to its own right or in the center of a line of flags.
Exceptions to the Rules:
- In any nation the national flag must be placed in a place of prominence. The flag code only applies to flags flown on American soil.
- In foreign waters or to salute a foreign country, the U.S. Navy may fly the country's national flag on the masthead of the ship. This is not a violation of the flag code because the code only applies to civilians (not the Navy), and also because the stern and gaff of a ship are more prominent positions to fly a flag.
- A church pennant may be flown above the American Flag if a church service is done by naval chaplains at sea for personnel of the Navy. After the service is over, the American Flag must again be placed in the prominent position.
- The United Nations' headquarters may fly the flags of all 188 member nations in alphabetical order. Although it is technically located within the United States (banks of the East River in Manhattan), the headquarters is owned by all the members of the United Nations, so it is not considered to be American soil.
U.S. Code, Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 7
The Care and Display of the American Flag by the Editors of SharpMan 2004.
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