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Displaying the Flag with other Flags

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.

United States Flag Code and Etiquette

The Rules:

  • Another nation's flag shouldn't be displayed on the same halyard as the American Flag.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

How to hang an American flag and hang it vertically?

The proper way to hang the American flag both traditionally and vertically is always with the union or blue field with the white stars in the top left from a visitor's perspective. The reason behind this is it places the importance on the union and the fifty states.

Can you hang other flags with the American Flag?

Yes, you absolutely can have other flags displayed along with your American Flag. Flag code and etiquette does dictate a couple rules of thumb to follow. So long as the flags are on American soil, the American Flag will always take precedence or importance over any other flag. This just means that when displaying one or more flags with the American flag, no other flags should be larger than the American flag in comparison. The American flag should be the furthest left in line or highest up from a visitor's perspective.

How do you display an American flag with other countries flags?

If you want to display your American flag with multiple countries flags or another country's flag, the same etiquette and flag code is in effect. On American soil, the American flag will take precedence or importance over the other countries or country's flag(s). This would just come down to that the other country's flag should not be larger than the American flag, nor should it be higher or on a higher flagpole. These two flags in a time of peace should be of the same size and at the same height. Ideally, the American flag should be to the left of the other country's flag from a visitor's standpoint. The American flag, when being raised and taken down for the day along with the other country's flag should also be the first to be raised and the last to come down.

When flying two flags which side does the American Flag go on? Position, Left, or Right?

The American flag will take precedence over any other flag that is being flown alongside it as long as it is on American soil. This typically means the American flag should be to the left of another flag when flying together from a visitor's perspective.

What order should flags be displayed?

The order of flags being displayed is going as follows; with the American flag on American soil, the American flag will always take precedence. This means that it must be displayed with other flags as the most prominent and important flag. This places the American flag largest amongst the group (unless displayed with another country's flag, they can be of similar size), furthest left and highest up. After the American flag (moving from left to right) you can put up another country's flag, state flags, military and public service flags, local flags and then finally company flag. It should also be said that while state flags, POW/ MIA flags can be displayed on the same flagpole as the American flag, under no circumstance should a company flag be on the same flagpole as the American flag. This falls under advertising and flag code specifically states that the American flag should never be used for any advertising purpose.

How to display American Flag with Marine Corps flag?

To display the American flag with the Marine Corps flag, you would need to have the American flag either to the left of the Marine Corps flag or on a higher flagpole. It should also be noted that the Marine Corps should not be larger than the American flag.

References

  1. U.S. Code, Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 7
  2. The Care and Display of the American Flag by the Editors of SharpMan 2004.

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