American Flag Etiquette for Veterans Day

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Pay proper respect to the U.S. flag on Veterans Day.
Pay proper respect to the U.S. flag on Veterans Day. (Image: USA flag image by MAXFX from Fotolia.com)

Veterans Day originally celebrated the armistice that ended World War I. Soon after, the U. S. Congress called for the display of the American flag on all government buildings on November 11th and for U.S. citizens to celebrate that day in public ceremonies. That time-honored resolution holds today, and the Flag Code provides us with proper instructions for displaying the U.S. flag.

General Guidelines for Display

Raise the flag briskly at sunrise and lower it ceremoniously at sunset. If you’re experiencing inclement weather and you’re displaying the flag outdoors, be sure the flag is all-weather. Display the flag freely on buildings, stationary flagstaffs and schoolhouses. If you’re flying the U.S. flag on a staff, make sure the union (the blue background and white stars) is at the peak of the staff.

Hanging the U.S. Flag

Display the U.S. flag flat if you’re not displaying it on a staff, whether you’re inside or outside. If you display the U.S. flag vertically, and flat against a wall or in a window, hang it so that the union is at the top and to your left when you view it from the front.

Wearing the Flag

Do not wear the flag as part of a costume or sports uniform. Military personnel, fire fighters, police officers and patriotic organization members may wear the flag on their uniforms. Wear the flag lapel pin on your left lapel, near your heart.

On Your Car

If you display the flag on your car for Veterans Day, attach the staff firmly to the chassis or clamp it to the right fender.

The Pledge of Allegiance

Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is usually part of Veterans Day celebrations. If you’re a civilian, say the Pledge while standing at attention, facing the flag, with your right hand over your heart. If you’re wearing a head covering, assuming it’s not religious, remove it with your right hand and hold it at your left shoulder, with your hand over your heart. If you’re in uniform, remain silent, face the flag and give the military salute.

The National Anthem

You’ll probably be singing the National Anthem sometime on Veterans Day. If you’re a civilian, face the flag and stand at attention with your right hand over your heart. Men who are wearing head coverings should remove them with their right hands and hold them at their left shoulders, with their hands over their hearts. If you’re in the military, render the military salute at the first note of the anthem and hold that position until the last note. Veterans and members of the Armed Forces not in uniform may give the military salute in the same manner as those in uniform.

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