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Displaying the US Flag with Other Flags

Displaying the US Flag

The US Flag is the symbol of our country. Scouts should know how to fold it, fly it, and handle it.  Flag etiquette is part of many of the Scout requirements. In many cases, the rules are pretty straightforward. But in other cases, you just need to know the rules. For example, it gets more complicated when you are displaying the US flag with flags from other nations.

The United States flag is an important symbol of our country and represents the values and principles that make our nation great. However, there may be times when the US flag needs to be displayed alongside other flags, such as during international events or ceremonies. In such situations, it is important to follow proper flag protocol to show respect and honor to all flags being displayed. In this article, we will discuss the protocol for displaying the US flag with other flags.

Displaying the US Flag with Other Flags

Order of Display

The US flag should always be displayed in a position of honor, which means it should be given the place of prominence and displayed above all other flags. When displaying the US flag with other flags, the order of display is important. According to the US Flag Code, the order of display should be:

  1. US flag
  2. Flags of other nations (in alphabetical order)
  3. Military flags (in order of establishment)
  4. State flags (in order of admission)
  5. Other flags (in order of importance)

When raising and lowering flags, the US flag should always be higher than the other flags. Another nation’s flag must never be flown on the same halyard as the United States flag.

Size of Flags

When displaying the US flag with other flags, it is important to make sure that the size of the flags is in proportion to each other. The US flag should be the largest flag displayed and should be at least the same size as the other flags.

Flags on Same Pole

When displaying the US flag with other flags on the same pole, the US flag should always be at the top.

Flags on Separate Poles

When displaying the US flag with other flags on separate poles, the US flag should be displayed on the right (the viewer’s left) of all other flags. If there are an odd number of flags, the US flag should be in the center.

Half-Staff Display

When the US flag is displayed at half-staff, it should be lowered first and then raised to full staff before any other flags are raised. The US Flag should always be above any other flags. When the US flag is displayed with other flags at half-staff, the other flags must also be flown at half-staff.

On Foreign Soil

In another nation, that nation’s flag may be given a place of honor. But on US soil, the United States flag must hold the place of honor.

In conclusion, displaying the US flag with other flags is an important responsibility and should be done with respect and honor. Following proper flag protocol ensures that all flags are displayed in a dignified and appropriate manner. By teaching our Scouts about the proper protocol for displaying the US flag with other flags, we can instill in them a sense of patriotism and respect for the symbols of our country.


10 responses to “Displaying the US Flag with Other Flags”

  1. Gary Avatar

    If three poles, in a line, separately display the U S, a state and an organization flags, respectively, is the U S flag pole (tallest) to be north or other specified orientation to the others? Or, does only the height matter?

  2. William Mayes Avatar
    William Mayes

    when the American flag is lowered to half mast does the other flags of other countries i.e. UK and Canada on separate poles get lowered to half mast as well, so as to satisfy the ” no other flags to fly higher than the American Flag”

  3. mike keele Avatar
    mike keele

    this is a very passive description of flag protocol. words like “should be” have no place in a description of flag protocol.

  4. Eric Avatar

    Former USCG here, and if it wasn’t complicated enough already, there is always an exception to every rule – aboard ships equipped with a gaff (“a spar rising aft from a mast”) the position of honor is the gaff, and is not higher than the top of the mast – this applies on land as well, if the flag pole is so equipped. This is not a very common occurrence outside of land stations of sea going services (USCG, Navy, USMC) and yacht clubs, but you should never mistake the lower position for disrespect. Trust me, if anyone is the authority on flag etiquette it’s the military, particularly the sea services (land based flag etiquette is based on shipboard flag protocol). There are also a host of other guidelines for what flag goes where dependent upon whether the flag pole is fitted with a gaff, yardarm or both and which flags are being flown, this gets so complicated that it is an entire chapter in “Chapman’s piloting and seamanship” (the universally accepted reference for most things nautical)
    (I’ve spent hours explaining the gaff being the position of honor despite being lower to confused, sometimes downright irate and offended, but generally well meaning people who complained about it, since the station I was at had a flag pole that was equipped with a gaff and yardarm and was very visible to the public

  5. Patricia Avatar

    There are three separate poles, same high, same line. From left to right, first pole; with the American Flag, 2nd pole (in the middle) with the German Flag, 3rd pole, with the State Flag. All three flags of the same size. Is this display correct??

  6. Rob Avatar

    My neighbor flys an American Flag on top and a much larger Trump 2020 campaign under it on the same pole, same halyard. Seems wrong to me. Correct? It shouldn’t be bigger than USA flag, and it’s advertising a campaign. Am I right?

    1. Scott Ponczocha Avatar
      Scott Ponczocha

      Found this in another page:

      According to the Flag Code, it is never acceptable to fly a company flag, corporate banners or other form of branding/advertising on the same pole as the US Flag; you will need to have a separate flagpole to display both flags at one time.

      1. Rob Avatar

        Thanks. If you see anything about size of flags on the same pole, please reply again. I find it disrespectful to fly our flag with campaign flags…I’d feel the same way if it were an Obama, Clinton, or Abraham Lincoln campaign flag.

  7. David Evans Avatar
    David Evans

    When you are in a stadium and there is a stadium flag, but there are also uniformed personnel that are presenting the flags< which one do you address when the National Anthem and the Pledge of allegiance is performed?

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