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How to Display and Fold the American Flag


Folding and displaying a flag, particularly the United States flag, is a sign of respect and tradition. The proper way to fold and display a flag can vary depending on the country and its flag code. I'll provide instructions for folding and displaying the U.S. flag, as it's a common reference point.

Folding the U.S. Flag

  • Begin with two people: Folding the flag is typically done by two people, but it can be done by one if necessary.

  • Lay the flag flat: Spread the flag out on a clean, flat surface with the union (the blue field with stars) on top.

  • Fold in half: Fold the flag lengthwise, bringing the stripes over the union. The union should be on the outside.

  • Fold in half again: Take the flag and fold it in half lengthwise once more, so the union is on the outside.

  • Triangle fold: Begin folding the flag into a triangle by bringing the striped corner (opposite the union) to the open edge. This should form a triangle shape.

  • Continue folding: Continue folding the flag in a triangular pattern until you reach the end. Tuck any excess fabric into the final fold to secure it.

  • Complete the triangle: When finished, only the blue field with stars should be visible, with the flag neatly folded into a triangle.


Raising and Lowering the United States Flag


Flag Raising

  • The flag should be hoisted quickly.

  • The flag should be flown at the top of the flagpole, unless the flag is being flown at half staff.

  • Salute the flag while it is being raised.

  • If you are flying the flag at half staff, raise the flag all the way to the top of the pole and then lower it to halfway between the top and the bottom of the flagpole.

Flying Multiple Flags

  • If flying the US flag with other flags, raise the US flag first. That means if you’re standing next to the flag and looking out at an audience or away from a building, the U.S. flag should always be on the right. The American flag should be the first hoisted and the last lowered.

  • Flying the flag at half-staff shows sorrow after a national tragedy or the death of a national or state figure. It also honors those who have sacrificed their lives for our country, like on Memorial Day. On that holiday, fly the flag at half-staff until noon and then hoist it to full-staff.

Flag Lowering

  • The flag should be lowered slowly, with dignity and ceremony.

  • Salute the flag while it is being lowered. Hold your salute until the flag is removed or, if there is music, until the music stops.

  • If the flag was flying at half staff, raise the flag all the way to the top of the flagpole and then lower it.

  • If you are displaying multiple flags, lower the US flag last.

  • Fold the flag correctly before storing it.


Notes for Flag Raising and Lowering

  • If you are in uniform, salute the flag with a formal right hand salute. Otherwise, place your right hand over your heart.

  • Don’t let the flag touch the ground.

  • Normally the flag is flown from sunrise to sunset. If flown at night, it must be illuminated.

  • On Memorial Day, fly the flag at half staff until noon and at full staff from noon to sunset.


When to Fly The Flag


You can fly the American flag every day, but there are certain national and state holidays that call for its display. Some of those include:

  • New Year’s Day (Jan. 1)

  • Inauguration Day (every four years on Jan. 20)

  • Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday (third Monday in January)

  • Lincoln’s Birthday (Feb. 12)

  • Presidents Day (third Monday in February)

  • National Vietnam War Veterans Day (March 29)

  • Easter Sunday (on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25)

  • Armed Forces Day (third Saturday in May)

  • Memorial Day (last Monday in May)

  • Flag Day (June 14)

  • Independence Day (July 4)

  • National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day (July 27)

  • Labor Day (first Monday in September)

  • Patriot Day (Sept. 11)

  • Constitution Day (Sept. 17)

  • Columbus Day (second Monday in October)

  • Navy Day (Oct. 27)

  • Veterans Day (Nov. 11)

  • Thanksgiving Day (fourth Thursday in November)

  • Christmas Day (Dec. 25)

The U.S. flag can be carried on a staff in parades, at Scout meetings and during other ceremonies and events.

Learn How to Display and Fold the American Flag

Fun Fact About US Flag
History of the United States Flag-2.jpg
Opening Flag Ceremony Script

“Color guard, attention. Will the audience please rise?” Pause to give the audience time to stand up.

“Color guard, advance. Scout salute.”  Color guard walks to the front of the room and stands near the flag stands. Remember, the color guard members don't salute. The pack flag is lowered a bit so that the U.S. flag is taller.

“Please join me in the Pledge of Allegiance.” Everyone except the color guard says the Pledge.

“Two.” Everyone drops their salute.

“Color guard, post the colors.” Color guards place the flags in the stands and salute the American flag.

“Color guard, dismissed.” Color guard walks to the back of the room.

Closing Flag Ceremony Script

“Color guard, attention. Will the audience please rise?” Pause to give the audience time to stand up.

“Color guard, advance. Scout salute.”  Color guard walks to the front of the room.

“Color guard, retire the colors.” Color guard removes the flags and walks toward the back of the room. The American flag is on its “marching right.”


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