On Flag Day, don’t forget your U.S. flag etiquette

Reporter: Lauren Sweeney
Published: Updated:

FORT MYERS, Fla. Flag Day, celebrated every June 14, commemorates the adoption of the United States flag by the Second Continental Congress in 1777.

While not an official federal holiday, Flag Day serves as a time to celebrate the stars and stripes while remembering the flag code. Established in 1923, the code is a guideline for proper handling and display of the United States Flag.

Here’s some of the proper etiquette:

  • Display from sunrise to sunset on building and stationary flagstaffs in the open.
  • The flag may be displayed 24 hours of the day if properly illuminated.
  • Place the U.S. flag above all other flags.
  • On Memorial Day, the flag is flown at half-staff until noon and then raised.
  • Do not let the flag touch the ground.
  • Do not carry the flag flat, or carry things on it.
  • Do not use it as a cover, or store it where it can get dirty.
  • Do not fly the flag upside-down, unless there is an emergency.
  • Do not use the flag as clothing.
  • Do not use the flag as decoration; use bunting with the blue on top, then white, then red.
  • The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all weather flag is displayed.
  • Weathered, tattered or torn flags should be retired and burned. Do not throw the flag in the trash.
American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars organizations will take retired flags to ceremoniously burn them.
Here’s a history of the holiday, as provided by the very first state, Delaware:


In 1885, school teacher BJ Cigrand encouraged his students to observe June 14 as the ‘Flag Birthday’ in Waubeka, Wisconsin. Throughout the years, he sent several proposals to Congress to have the day recognized.


Then, in 1889, George Bolch, a kindergarten teacher for impoverished students in New York, planned Flag Day exercises. Bolch inspired the New York Board of Education and his ceremonies were adopted thereafter.


In 1893, the Superintendent of Philadelphia Public Schools endorsed a request to hold Flag Day ceremonies in the center of Independence Square. A year later, Philadelphia was followed by Chicago Public Schools.


In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson established Flag Day as a national holiday in the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson. While Flag Day was celebrated for years after the proclamation, President Truman signed an Act of Congress in 1949 that designated June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.

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