Many businesses and homes will be displaying the United States Flag on Memorial Day to honor the lives sacrificed in service to the United States of America. This is an important ritual, not just for those who have fallen, but for those who are alive and have served or are still serving. No matter what you believe in, the lives of serviceman matter and the appreciation we express for those who have passed reminds those that are alive that they matter as well.
On June 14, 1923 (Flag Day), the United States of America established a governing body and official code for how the United States Flag should be handled. For Memorial Day, there are specific instructions for displaying the flag. Here are the steps:
- After sunrise, hoist the flag briskly to the top of the staff and pause for a moment.
- Lower it to half-staff or to the top of one-half of the flag pole.
- At Noon, raise it to the top of the staff.
- At sunset, lower it slowly and remove from the staff (never let the United States Flag touch the ground).
The United States Flag can be left on display if the flag is properly illuminated at night. It’s a sign of disrespect to fly the flag:
A) In the dark,
B) In bad weather,
C) Upside down (unless in distress),
D) Below other flags.
Tattered and worn flags should never be flown. When they reach this state, they should be retired according to flag etiquette. This includes, folding the flag, saluting the flag/speaking the Pledge of Allegiance, and holding a moment of silent reflection as the flag burns. The flag should be burned completely and the ashes buried. If you require aid in this procedure, contact the local VFW Post. It’s also important to note that around Veterans Day, local military/veteran/Boy Scout organizations hold ritual flag burnings, so you may also want to keep an eye out for those.
All of the procedures for handling the United States flag can be found at the U.S. Flag website.