Federal code describes proper way to display flag

September 15, 2001|By Jon Morgan

Millions of Americans have unfurled their flags in response to Tuesday's attacks and a Congressional resolution calling for flags to be flown for 30 days. But some have forgotten flag etiquette, leaving the banners up after dark without proper illumination, for example.

The rules for the use and care of the American flag are outlined in a federal law known as the "Flag Code" and can be found at www. legion.org/americanism/flagcode. htm.

Here are some highlights:

Half staff: Even homeowners are supposed to follow a presidential proclamation to lower the flag in times of tragedy (the current proclamation runs through sunset Sept. 22.) Modern flag kits sometimes make this impossible, in which case it is permissible to attach to the top of the staff a single, black ribbon the length and width of the flag's red and white stripes, said Mike Buss, an assistant director at the American Legion's headquarters.

Inclement weather: It's OK to leave the flag up during rain, as long as it is made of waterproof materials and the colors don't run.

After dark: Flags should be taken down at night unless illuminated. Buss said a porch light that lights up the entire flag is sufficient.

Window displays: Flags hung from walls or windows should have the stars in the upper left-hand corner as viewed by a passer-by.

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