Originally created 07/04/99

Flag rules ensure respect



Dear Readers: Each year I try to write something about flag etiquette to honor this holiday. The following rules are good in regard to displaying the U.S. flag:

Never let the flag touch or trail on the water or ground.

Never fly a flag upside down. That is a distress signal.

Flags of cities, states, or organizations should be flown beneath the U.S. flag when flown on the same staff.

Flags of other countries should be flown on separate staffs or masts when flown with the U.S. flag. They should be the same size as the U.S. flag and should be flown at the same height.

When a flag is affixed to a windowsill, balcony or building, it must be flown with the union or blue field at the peak of the staff and the field to the left of the viewer.

When a flag is displayed over the middle of a street it should hang vertically with the union to the north on an east-west street or the east on a north-south one.

When a flag is displayed on a speaker's platform, it should be placed behind and above the speaker, flat, with the union to observer's left-hand side.

A flag should be flown half-mast or half-staff only by official state, federal or city order and never to indicate loss to a family, business or organization.

When a flag is to be flown at half-mast or half-staff, it should be raised to its peak, then slowly and reverently lowered.

The proper hours for flying a flag outdoors are from sunrise to sunset. A flag may be properly flown at night only if it is lighted. It should be lowered if it rains.

A flag should be draped only over a casket and only for members of the armed services, cabinet officers of federal and state governments or anyone whom the president has so designated. The flag should be placed so that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder of the deceased. It should not touch the ground or be lowered into the grave. The casket should be carried foot first.

On Memorial Day the flag should be flown at half-mast or half-staff only from sunrise until noon, then fully raised until sunset.

The flag should be hoisted briskly but lowered slowly and reverently.

The U.S. flag should never be dipped to any person or thing.

No lettering of any kind should be placed on the flag.

Many transgressions against the flag are done without intentional disrespect. I hope this review of flag etiquette has helped you as much as it has helped me. Have a safe, patriotic and joyous July Fourth!

Write to Ask Carson, The Augusta Chronicle, P.O.Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903-1928. Send e-mail to askcarson@mindspring.com or call INFOLINE at 442-4444 and press 4422. Carson's Web site is at www.theproperthing.com.