Flag Day is June 14: Brush Up on Flag Etiquette

Published on NewsOK Published: June 12, 2013
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A sometimes forgotten holiday, Flag Day is June 14th. Quite a few folks have probably thought about flying an American flag at their houses, but have never tried it. Where does a person even buy a flag?  In what ways is it acceptable to decorate with the American flag? We've answered common flag etiquette questions to help you to prepare for Flag Day and Independence Day.

Q. Where can I fly a flag at my house?

A. According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, it is proper to fly a flag at home either on a staff, or displayed flat. By "displayed flat", we mean hanging vertically, rather than horizontally or on an angled staff. The proper way to hang a flag flat is to position the flag so that the stars are on the upper left corner. Whether you fly the flag on a staff or if you display the flag flat, it should be free to move in the wind. It is not considered proper etiquette to, for instance, bolt down the corners of the flag.

Q. Can I use a flag as decoration, such as a tablecloth?

A. According to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, no, you can't use an American flag as decoration. They recommend using a "bunting" as decoration, with the blue stripe at the top (not the red stripe). If you want to have a patriotic tablecloth, the flag authorities advise using a patriotic-print tablecloth, not an actual flag. Using a an actual flag as a tablecloth is considered to be disrespectful, as is using an American flag as drapery or bedding.

Q. Can I fly my flag at home at night?

A. According to the flag experts, the flag must always be illuminated. So yes, you can leave it up at night, but it must have a light pointed at it. If you fly a flag flat, hung from windows, the best place to fly it would be above the porch light. That way, it will be illuminated at night. Just remember to turn on the porch light at sundown! Or go big: Have an electrician install a custom floodlight for your flag.


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by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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