Code Drafted by Representatives of Sixty-eight Organizations of National Scope Under Lead of American Legion.
National Flag Represents a Living Country and is Itself Considered a Living Thing
On Flag Day, June 14, 1923, representatives of 68 organizations, including the Bureau of Education, met in Washington for a conference, called by and conducted under the auspices of the American Legion, to draft an authentic code of flag etiquette. President Harding opened the conference with an address, which was followed by addresses by Theodore Roosevelt, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, John J. Tigert, United States Commissioner of Education, and others.
The code drafted by that conference is presented here. Although those rules have no official Government sanction, they represent the authoritative opinion of the principal patriotic bodies of the United States and of Army and Navy experts, and are binding on all of the organizations which took part in the gathering. School officers and teachers will find the rules worth calling to the notice of school pupils and citizens generally.
These rules have been published in a booklet by the Service Star Legion, and is for sale by that organization. The cautions on the use of the flag have been published in poster form, suitable for displaying in classrooms. Further information may be had from Mrs. William T. Davies, chairman of national patriotic education, 117 North Fourth Street, Martins Ferry, Ohio.
Fundamental Rules of Heraldry Observed
There are certain fundamental rules of heraldry which, if understood generally, would indicate the proper method of displaying the flag. The matter becomes a very simple one if it is kept in mind that the national flag represents the living country and is itself considered as a living thing. The union [white stars on a field of blue] of the flag is the honor point; the right arm is the sword arm, and therefore the point of danger and hence the place of honor.
1. The flag should be displayed only from sunrise to sunset, or between such hours as may be designated by proper authority. It should be displayed on National and State holidays and on historic and special occasions. The flag should always be hoisted briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously.
2. When carried in a procession with another flag or flags, the flag of the United States should be either on the marching right, i. e., the flag’s own right, or when there is a line of other flags the flag of the United States may be in front of the center of that line.
3. When displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, the flag of the United States should be on the right, the flag’s own right, and its staff should be in front of the staff of the other flag.
4. When a number of flags are grouped and displayed from staffs, the flag of the United States should be in the center or at the highest point of the group.
National Flag Above All Others
5. When flags of States or cities or pennants of societies are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the United States. the national flag should always be at the peak. When flown from adjacent staffs the Hag of the United States should be hoisted first. No flag or pennant should be placed above or to the right of the flag of the United States.
6. When flags of two or more nations are displayed they should be flown from separate staffs of the same height and the flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace.
7. When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from the window sill, balcony, or front of building, the union of the flag should go clear to the head of the staff unless the flag is at half staff.
8. When the flag of the United States is displayed in a manner other than by being flown from a staff it should be displayed flat, whether indoors or out. When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag’s own right, i. e., to the observer’s left. When displayed in a window it should be displayed the same way, that is, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street. When festoons, rosettes, or drapings of blue, white, and red are desired, bunting should be used, but never the flag.
Union to North or East
9. When displayed over the middle of the street, as between buildings, the flag of the United States should be suspended vertically with the union to the north in an east-and-west street or to the east in a northand-south street.
10. When used on a speaker’s platform, the flag should be displayed above and behind the speaker. It should never be used to cover the speaker’s desk nor to drape over the front of the platform. If flown from a staff it should be on the speaker’s right.
11. When used in unveiling a statue or monument, the flag should not be allowed to fall to the ground but should be carried aloft to wave out, forming a distinctive feature during the remainder of the ceremony.
12. When flown at half-staff, the flag is first hoisted to the peak and then lowered to the half-staff position, but before lowering the flag for the day it is raised again to the peak. On Memorial Day, May 30, the flag is displayed at half-staff from sunrise until noon and at full staff from noon until sunset, for the Nation lives and the flag is a symbol of the living Nation.
13. When used to cover a casket the flag should be placed so that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the grave nor allowed to touch the ground. The casket should be carried foot first.
14. When the flag is displayed in church it should be from a staff placed on the congregation’s right as they face the clergyman. The service flag, the State flag, or other flags should be at the left of the congregation. If in the chancel, the flag of the United States should be placed on the clergyman’s right as he faces the congregation and other flags on his left.
15. When the flag is in such a condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display it should not be cast aside or used in any way that might be viewed as disrespectful to the national colors, but should be destroyed as a whole, privately, preferably by burning or by some other method in harmony with the reverence and respect we owe to the emblem representing our country.
1. Do not permit disrespect to be shown to the flag of the United States.
2. Do not dip the flag of the United States to any person or anything. The regimental colors, State flag, organization or institutional flag will render this honor.
3. Do not display the flag of the United States with the union down except as a signal of distress.
4. Do not place any other flag or pennant above or to the right of the flag of the United States.
5. Do not let the flag of the United States touch the ground or trail in the water.
6. Do not place any object or emblem of any kind on or above the flag of the United States.
7. Do not use the flag as drapery in any form whatever. Use bunting of blue, white, and red.
8. Do not fasten the flag in such manner as will permit it to be easily torn.
9. Do not drape the flag over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle, or of a railroad train or boat. When the flag is displayed on a motor car, the staff should be affixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the radiator cap.
10. Do not display the flag on a float in a parade except from a staff.
11. Do not use the flag as a covering for a ceiling.
12. Do not use the flag as a portion of a costume or of an athletic uniform. Do not embroider it upon cushions or handkerchiefs or print it on paper napkins or boxes.
13. Do not put lettering of any kind upon the flag.
14. Do not use the flag in any form of advertising nor fasten an advertising sign to a pole from which the flag of the United States is flying.
15. Do not display, use, or store the flag in such a manner as will permit it to be easily soiled or damaged.
Proper Use of Bunting
[Bunting: patriotic and festive decorations made from such cloth, or from paper, usually in the form of draperies, wide streamers, etc., in the colors of the national flag.]
Bunting of the national colors should be used for covering a speaker’s desk, draping over the front of a platform, and for decoration in general. Bunting should be arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below.
Salute to the Flag
During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in a parade or in a review, all persons present should face the flag, stand at attention, and salute. Those present in uniform should render the right-hand salute. When not in uniform, men should remove the headdress with the right hand and hold it at the left shoulder.. Women should salute by placing the right hand over the heart. The salute to the flag in the moving column is rendered at the moment the Hug parses.
When the national anthem is played those present in uniform should salute at the first note of the anthem, retaining this position until the last note of the anthem. When not in uniform, men should remove the headdress and hold it as in the salute to the flag. Women should render the salute as to the flag. When there is no flag displayed, all should face toward the music.