Flag Etiquette
From the U.S. Code Online via GPO Access
[wais.access.gpo.gov]
[Laws in effect as of January 3, 2006]
[CITE: 4USC7]
 
       TITLE 4--FLAG AND SEAL, SEAT OF GOVERNMENT, AND THE STATES
                           CHAPTER 1--THE FLAG
Sec. 7. Position and manner of display
 
    The flag, when carried in a procession with another flag or flags, 
should be either on the marching right; that is, the flag's own right, 
or, if there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that 
line.
    (a) The flag should not be displayed on a float in a parade except 
from a staff, or as provided in subsection (i) of this section.
    (b) The flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back 
of a vehicle or of a railroad train or a boat. When the flag is 
displayed on a motorcar, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis 
or clamped to the right fender.
    (c) No other flag or pennant should be placed above or, if on the 
same level, to the right of the flag of the United States of America, 
except during church services conducted by naval chaplains at sea, when 
the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services 
for the personnel of the Navy. No person shall display the flag of the 
United Nations or any other national or international flag equal, above, 
or in a position of superior prominence or honor to, or in place of, the 
flag of the United States at any place within the United States or any 
Territory or possession thereof: Provided, That nothing in this section 
shall make unlawful the continuance of the practice heretofore followed 
of displaying the flag of the United Nations in a position of superior 
prominence or honor, and other national flags in positions of equal 
prominence or honor, with that of the flag of the United States at the 
headquarters of the United Nations.
    (d) The flag of the United States of America, when it is displayed 
with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, should be on the 
right, the flag's own right, and its staff should be in front of the 
staff of the other flag.
    (e) The flag of the United States of America should be at the center 
and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of States 
or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from 
staffs.
    (f) When flags of States, cities, or localities, or pennants of 
societies are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the United 
States, the latter should always be at the peak. When the flags are 
flown from adjacent staffs, the flag of the United States should be 
hoisted first and lowered last. No such flag or pennant may be placed 
above the flag of the United States or to the United States flag's 
right.
    (g) When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be 
flown from separate staffs of the same height. 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.
    (h) When the flag of the United States is displayed from a staff 
projecting horizontally or at an angle from the window sill, balcony, or 
front of a building, the union of the flag should be placed at the peak 
of the staff unless the flag is at half-staff. When the flag is 
suspended over a sidewalk from a rope extending from a house to a pole 
at the edge of the sidewalk, the flag should be hoisted out, union 
first, from the building.
    (i) When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, 
the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to 
the observer's left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be 
displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the left of 
the observer in the street.
    (j) When the flag is displayed over the middle of the street, it 
should be suspended vertically with the union to the north in an east 
and west street or to the east in a north and south street.
    (k) When used on a speaker's platform, the flag, if displayed flat, 
should be displayed above and behind the speaker. When displayed from a 
staff in a church or public auditorium, the flag of the United States of 
America should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of 
the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman's or 
speaker's right as he faces the audience. Any other flag so displayed 
should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker or to the right 
of the audience.
    (l) The flag should form a distinctive feature of the ceremony of 
unveiling a statue or monument, but it should never be used as the 
covering for the statue or monument.
    (m) The flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to 
the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The 
flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the 
day. On Memorial Day the flag should be displayed at half-staff until 
noon only, then raised to the top of the staff. By order of the 
President, the flag shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of 
principal figures of the United States Government and the Governor of a 
State, territory, or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory. 
In the event of the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries, the 
flag is to be displayed at half-staff according to Presidential 
instructions or orders, or in accordance with recognized customs or 
practices not inconsistent with law. In the event of the death of a 
present or former official of the government of any State, territory, or 
possession of the United States, the Governor of that State, territory, 
or possession may proclaim that the National flag shall be flown at 
half-staff. The flag shall be flown at half-staff 30 days from the death 
of the President or a former President; 10 days from the day of death of 
the Vice President, the Chief Justice or a retired Chief Justice of the 
United States, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives; from the 
day of death until interment of an Associate Justice of the Supreme 
Court, a Secretary of an executive or military department, a former Vice 
President, or the Governor of a State, territory, or possession; and on 
the day of death and the following day for a Member of Congress. The 
flag shall be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day, unless 
that day is also Armed Forces Day. As used in this subsection--
        (1) the term ``half-staff'' means the position of the flag when 
    it is one-half the distance between the top and bottom of the staff;
        (2) the term ``executive or military department'' means any 
    agency listed under sections 101 and 102 of title 5, United States 
    Code; and
        (3) the term ``Member of Congress'' means a Senator, a 
    Representative, a Delegate, or the Resident Commissioner from Puerto 
    Rico.
 
    (n) When the flag is used to cover a casket, it should be so placed 
that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag 
should not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground.
    (o) When the flag is suspended across a corridor or lobby in a 
building with only one main entrance, it should be suspended vertically 
with the union of the flag to the observer's left upon entering. If the 
building has more than one main entrance, the flag should be suspended 
vertically near the center of the corridor or lobby with the union to 
the north, when entrances are to the east and west or to the east when 
entrances are to the north and south. If there are entrances in more 
than two directions, the union should be to the east.
 
(Added Pub. L. 105-225, Sec. 2(a), Aug. 12, 1998, 112 Stat. 1495.)
 
                                          Historical and Revision Notes
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           Revised  Section                    Source (U.S. Code)               Source (Statutes at Large)
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7.....................................  36:175.                          June 22, 1942, ch. 435, Sec.  3, 56
                                                                          Stat. 378; Dec. 22, 1942, ch. 806,
                                                                          Sec.  3, 56 Stat. 1075; July 9, 1953,
                                                                          ch. 183, 67 Stat. 142; July 7, 1976,
                                                                          Pub. L. 94-344, (6)-(11), 90 Stat.
                                                                          811; Sept. 13, 1994, Pub. L. 103-322,
                                                                          title XXXII, Sec.  320922(b), 108
                                                                          Stat. 2131.
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  Proc. No. 3044. Display of Flag at Half-Staff Upon Death of Certain 
                     Officials and Former Officials
 
    Proc. No. 3044, Mar. 1, 1954, 19 F.R. 1235, as amended by Proc. No. 
3948, Dec. 12, 1969, 34 F.R. 19699, provided:
    WHEREAS it is appropriate that the flag of the United States of 
America be flown at half-staff on Federal buildings, grounds, and 
facilities upon the death of principal officials and former officials of 
the Government of the United States and the Governors of the States, 
Territories, and possessions of the United States as a mark of respect 
to their memory; and
    WHEREAS it is desirable that rules be prescribed for the uniform 
observance of this mark of respect by all executive departments and 
agencies of the Government, and as a guide to the people of the Nation 
generally on such occasions:
    NOW, THEREFORE, I, DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, President of the United 
States of America and Commander in Chief of the armed forces of the 
United States, do hereby prescribe and proclaim the following rules with 
respect to the display of the flag of the United States of America at 
half-staff upon the death of the officials hereinafter designated:
    1. The flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff on all 
buildings, grounds, and naval vessels of the Federal Government in the 
District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its 
Territories and possessions for the period indicated upon the death of 
any of the following-designated officials or former officials of the 
United States:
    (a) The President or a former President: for thirty days from the 
day of death.
    The flag shall also be flown at half-staff for such period at all 
United States embassies, legations, and other facilities abroad, 
including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.
    (b) The Vice President, the Chief Justice or a retired Chief Justice 
of the United States, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives: 
for ten days from the day of death.
    (c) An Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, a member of the 
Cabinet, a former Vice President, the President pro tempore of the 
Senate, the Majority Leader of the Senate, the Minority Leader of the 
Senate, the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, or the 
Minority Leader of the House of Representatives: from the day of death 
until interment.
    2. The flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff on all 
buildings, grounds, and naval vessels of the Federal Government in the 
metropolitan area of the District of Columbia on the day of death and on 
the following day upon the death of a United States Senator, 
Representative, Territorial Delegate, or the Resident Commissioner from 
the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and it shall also be flown at half-
staff on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels of the Federal 
Government in the State, Congressional District, Territory, or 
Commonwealth of such Senator, Representative, Delegate, or Commissioner, 
respectively, from the day of death until interment.
    3. The flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff on all 
buildings and grounds of the Federal Government in a State, Territory, 
or possession of the United States upon the death of the Governor of 
such State, Territory, or possession from the day of death until 
interment.
    4. In the event of the death of other officials, former officials, 
or foreign dignitaries, the flag of the United States shall be displayed 
at half-staff in accordance with such orders or instructions as may be 
issued by or at the direction of the President, or in accordance with 
recognized customs or practices not inconsistent with law.
    5. The heads of the several departments and agencies of the 
Government may direct that the flag of the United States be flown at 
half-staff on buildings, grounds, or naval vessels under their 
jurisdiction on occasions other than those specified herein which they 
consider proper, and that suitable military honors be rendered as 
appropriate.
    IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal 
of the United States of America to be affixed.
  DONE at the City of Washington this 1st day of March in the year of 
                our Lord nineteen hundred and fifty-four, and of the 
                Independence of the United States of America the one 
                hundred and seventy-eighth.
[seal]
                                                   Dwight D. Eisenhower.