AMERICAN FLAG ETIQUETTE AND CARE

With the summer months and holiday celebrations upon us, it’s a good time to brush up on the proper display and care of the American flag. Please share these tips with family and friends, and remember that Best offers free cleaning of any American flag throughout the year.

DISPLAY RULES

1. When the national flag is displayed flat, either horizontally or vertically, on a wall or in a window, the union (blue field) should be at the top and to the observer’s left when facing the flag.

2. When displayed from a staff projecting from a windowsill, balcony, or the front of a building, the union (blue field) should be at the staff’s peak (unless the flag is at half-staff).

3. The U.S. Flag Code, adopted in 1923 and amended by Public Law 94-344 in 1976, states “It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the darkness hours.

4. When displayed on a stage or platform, the national flag should be to the speaker’s right. Any other flag is on the speaker’s left.

5. When suspended, the flag should be vertical with the union to the north over an east-west street and to the east over a north-south street. The flag should be hoisted out union (blue field) first.

6. Flag decals and stickers may be correctly displayed on the inside of motor vehicle side windows.

PROPER CARE 

The American flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged. It should never be used as a covering for a ceiling. It should not be displayed on days when the weather is bad, except when an all-weather flag is used. Nylon, Polyester or Knit Polyester are all materials that can withstand the elements. For the best results, do not expose your flag to rain, snow or extremely high winds; these forces of nature can shorten it’s life considerably. If the flag becomes wet, it should be carefully spread out and allowed to dry completely. Never fold or roll-up a wet or damp flag.

Synthetic material flags such as nylon or polyester can be machine washed with cold water and a mild detergent. Do not let the flag stand in the wash water for extended periods of time or some color transfer may occur from the red stripes to the white stripes. Synthetic material flags should be placed flat to dry. Natural fiber flags such as cotton and wool should be handled with greater care. They can be spot cleaned or dry cleaned. Be sure flags are completely dry before correctly folding and sealing in a moisture-proof and bug-proof plastic bag. Store in a safe, cool, dry place.

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