Many of us pause on Memorial Day to remember heroes who died serving our country. And, until noon, we fly our flag at half-staff. But, it’s not as simple as that. Here are seven things to know about proper flag etiquette on Memorial Day, and how to show respect as the colors are presented in local ceremonies.
From the Detroit Free Press:
- The flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon only on Memorial Day, and then should be raised to the top of the staff.
- When raising it to half-staff, it “should be hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position,” according to U.S. Code Title 4 Chapter 1, Section 7. “The flag should again be raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day.”
- During ceremonies when it is hoisted or raised, spectators who aren’t in military uniform should face the flag, stand at attention and place their right hands over their hearts.
- If you’re in uniform, give a proper military salute.
- A man who is not in uniform, but is wearing a hat should take it off with his right hand and hold it at his left shoulder with his palm resting on his heart.
- If you’re not a US citizen, stand at attention.
- When it advances in a moving column, it is appropriate to salute it as it passes.
Make sure the flag is in pristine condition and isn’t tattered and torn, and that its red and white bars and the union (the blue field of stars) are bright and vibrant. If yours is dingy, bring it to Flair Cleaners. We clean US flags for free all year long.
If the flag is no longer suitable for display, dispose of it properly, preferably in a ceremonial burning. American Legion posts and other veteran groups often have flag-disposal ceremonies.
From all of us at Flair, Happy Memorial Day and thank you to the heroes who gave their all, and to their families who still miss them.