Raising and Lowering the US Flag

These are some basic rules for raising and lowering the US flag. The most important rule to remember is to always treat the US flag with dignity and respect. It is the symbol of the United States of America. Remember that many men and women have given their lives defending the liberty and freedom it represents.

Raising and Lowering the United States Flag

Flag Raising

  • The flag should be hoisted quickly.
  • The flag should be flown at the top of the flagpole, unless the flag is being flown at half staff.
  • Salute the flag while it is being raised.
  • If you are flying the flag at half staff, raise the flag all the way to the top of the pole and then lower it to halfway between the top and the bottom of the flagpole.
  • If flying the US flag with other flags, raise the US flag first.

Flag Lowering

  • The flag should be lowered slowly, with dignity and ceremony.
  • Salute the flag while it is being lowered. Hold your salute until the flag is removed or, if there is music, until the music stops.
  • If the flag was flying at half staff, raise the flag all the way to the top of the flagpole and then lower it.
  • If you are displaying multiple flags, lower the US flag last.
  • Fold the flag correctly before storing it.

Notes for Flag Raising and Lowering

  • If you are in uniform, salute the flag with a formal right hand salute. Otherwise, place your right hand over your heart.
  • Don’t let the flag touch the ground.
  • Normally the flag is flown from sunrise to sunset. If flown at night, it must be illuminated.
  • On Memorial Day, fly the flag at half staff until noon and at full staff from noon to sunset.

Related Resources

How to Fold a US Flag

Folding a flag is not complicated, but if your Scouts don’t do it regularly, then practice it beforehand.

The US Flag Code

The Flag Code is written in legal language and can be difficult to read, but this is the source for how we treat flags.

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12 responses to “Raising and Lowering the US Flag”

  1. tony Avatar

    I’ve stepped up my game in my area trying to make sure local businesses and whatnot start honoring our flag, by calling them and asking them politely to remove and restore the flag they are flying, everyone has been completely willing to do so. Semper fi, America thanks you.

    1. Parker D. Nunn Avatar
      Parker D. Nunn

      Thank you for this information. I’m in boy scouts as a Tenderfoot and this is one of the three requirements I have left. Praise America!

  2.  Avatar

    this helped me understand the way our flag should be displayed

  3. Martha Avatar

    When lowering, should I remove the top (blue of flag) snap before the lower, or doesn’t it matter which is removed first? Thank you.

  4. Charles june Avatar
    Charles june

    Is there a proper way to take down the flag? Does it need to be folded while being taken down ? Or can it be carried inside and then folded ? What if only one person is taking the flag down ? Is he expected to fold it at the pole ?

  5. E. Nelson Avatar
    E. Nelson

    Keep in mind the words etiquette and respect. I lower my 3″ x 5″ flag myself. It goes over my shoulder so as not to touch the ground. No disrespect intended. I take it in the house to fold in a tri-corner fold. If someone is there we fold it together. If not, I place it on the table and fold it alone.

  6. James Johnstone Avatar
    James Johnstone

    IF you are Honorably discharged you may salute the our flag with the standard hand salute at any time you so desire.

  7. Bruce Wakeman Avatar
    Bruce Wakeman

    A homosexual flag should not be raised in any setting that a US flag associated. Homosexuality defiles and corrupts nations and their families. Our national flag flies to show we honor GOD and the God-given precepts that make nations strong in righteousness.

  8. Steve Avatar

    Order of flags at a yacht club. Is it American flag first up and last to take down? We have club burgees on the the nautical flagpole and other burgees on the ground. Some are saying American flag is first to be taken down.

    1. Guyle Langlois Avatar
      Guyle Langlois

      First up last down

  9. Bill Springston Avatar
    Bill Springston

    How does one person Post, Retire and Store the flag? I know how to fold the flag but find it a
    very difficult task to accomplish being only one person.

  10. richard grinavic Avatar
    richard grinavic

    thankyou all, this brought back a a lot of good memories from my scouting days im, 75 yrs young . and a us marine. please teach many people as you can on proper protical on us flags.

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