Flag Etiquette

The fundamental rule of flag etiquette is: treat all flags with respect and common sense.

The U.S. flag takes precedence over all other flags when flown within the United States. It should not be flown lower than another flag nor should it be smaller than another flag flown with it. Other flags may, however, be flown at the same height and in the same size. Other national flags should not be smaller or flown lower than the U.S. flag when displayed together. If it is not possible to display two or more national flags at the same height, it is not proper to display them together at all.

The point of honor is on the extreme left from the standpoint of the observer (the flag’s right). The order from left to right of flags flown together is: U.S. flag, other national flags in alphabetical order, state flags, county and city flags, organizational flags and personal flags.

It is not illegal or improper to fly any flag (state, ethnic group, organization, etc.) alone but it is always preferable to display the U.S. flag at the same time.

If one flag is at half-staff in mourning, other flags flown with it should be at half-staff. First raise the flags to their peaks, than lower to half-staff. The U.S. flag is raised first and lowered last.

It is proper to fly the U.S. flag at night, but only if it is spotlighted.

In a public gathering (lecture hall, church, etc.) the U.S. flag should be to the right of the speakers or on the wall behind them.

The U.S. flag should be in the center of a group of flags only when the center pole is taller than the others or when a fan-like arrangement makes the center pole higher than others.

Displaying the flag with the canton on the left (canton is the blue field with the 50 stars): the canton of the flag should always be to the observers left. Over a street - when the U.S. flag is displayed other than from a staff, it should be displayed flat or suspended so its folds fall free. When displayed over a street, place the union so it faces north or east, depending on the direction of the street.

Displaying a flag on a wall: 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. In a window, the union should be to flag’s right when viewed from outside.

Displaying the flag with the canton on the right (canton is the blue field with the 50 stars): display the canton facing right when displayed as a decal on the right side of a vehicle (bus, truck, plane, etc.) or when worn as a patch on the right arm (but use on left arm is preferable).

A salute (hand over heart for those not in uniform) should be rendered when the flag is raised, lowered, or carried by on parade; or when the Pledge of Allegiance is played (unless the flag is not present).


Valley Forge Flag is a manufacturer and wholesaler of flags, and as such, we do not sell directly to the general public and/or the end-user of our products. Rather, we do sell to flag dealers and wholesale outlets that re-sell our products. You can, however, visit the “Find a Local Flag Store” section of our website for a listing of dealers in your state who can help you obtain your requested items. You can also visit “Retailer List” to help you in your search.
Many people use flags for a variety of different purposes. Some flags are used for outdoor display, others for memorial purposes, and still others for indoor display. Depending on its use a flag can be made out of nylon, cotton, polycotton, polyester, or two-ply spun polyester. Common uses for these flags might be: Nylon – Perma-Nyl™ is the most durable and serviceable option. Nylon retains color well, flies nicely in a light breeze, dries well, and is easily cleaned. Cotton – Best™ is a traditional, and to many the most beautiful, material. This fabric has a natural feel. However, like anything made of cotton, it is less durable and should be used for decorative or ceremonial purposes. Polycotton blend or polyester – these materials are economical yet attractive. They are excellent for temporary use or where cost is an issue. Two-ply spun polyester - Koralex II™ is a premium material that holds up well in windy or harsh conditions. Because it is spun, it has the feel of cotton, but its synthetic nature gives it the durability of nylon. Remember to always treat a flag with common sense and respect. Never fold it when wet, regardless of material, and replace it whenever it reaches a condition not befitting the symbol of the country. A good rule is that if you wouldn’t wear it don’t fly it.
Valley Forge Flag does not add any date or mark to a flag when it is manufactured, so there is no way for us to determine the age of a flag. We believe that the value of a flag is a reflection of the emotions that are at the source of its ownership, and we can’t therefore guess at how valuable your flag is. You can visit this site, though www.vexman.net for further information, and possibly a written assessment, of your antique flag. We do not recommend their services, endorse or authorize their response to you.
When this occurs the consumer should refer to and click on the Customer Service link at the top right of our website, then select the appropriate link in the Consumer Portal.
You can visit the “Find a Local Flag Store” section of our website for a listing of dealers in your state, who can help you obtain your requested items.
Many 48-star flags were manufactured before, during and after World War II. These flags were usually made from either cotton or a cotton-wool blend. Some of the flags are casket flags, meaning that they measure 5’x9 ½’ instead of 5’x8’. These flags are made to be placed on a casket during a funeral. Since Valley Forge Flag does not add any date to a flag when manufactured; there is no way to determine just how old a flag is. It is perfectly acceptable to fly United States flags with fewer than 50 stars. 48-star United States flags rarely hold any monetary value, only sentimental value. Usually a flag only has monetary value if it can be directly linked to a major historical moment, such as the flag raised over Iwo Jima, or the flag used during John F. Kennedy’s funeral, both of which were made by Valley Forge Flag.
Synthetic material flags such as nylon or polyester can be machine washed with cold water and a mild detergent. These flags should be placed flat to dry. Natural fiber flags such as cotton and wool should be handled with greater care. Valley Forge Flag suggests spot cleaning or dry-cleaning. Please contact your local dry cleaners for their recommendation. A majority of dry-cleaners will dry-clean a U.S. flag at no charge.
Due to insurance requirements, we do not give tours of our facilities
Please see the Etiquette section of our website, under Flag Info, for a detailed description based on varying circumstances.
The U.S. Flag Code states that when a flag is in such a condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display it should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning. Many Veteran and Civic Organizations will properly dispose of a flag at no cost.
Fly Ends: Watch for the first signs of fraying. Flags can be trimmed and re-hemmed greatly prolonging the life of the flag. Windy Days: High winds are extremely rough on flags. If at all possible, take down the flag when winds exceed 30 mph. Rain or Snow: For best results, do not expose your flag to these elements. If exposed, after a heavy rain or snowstorm take down the flag and spread it out to dry. Do not fold or roll up a wet flag. Air Pollution: To minimize the effects of dirt, air, smoke, car emissions, etc. keep the flag clean. Having two flags and interchanging them is highly recommended to prolong the life of a flag.
Our U.S. Government customers have told us that they generally expect an outdoor flag to last approximately 90 days when flown from dawn until dusk in good weather. Sensible care may result in a flag that lasts longer and looks better over time.
The clear plastic rings that may have come with your sleeved flag kit allow versatility which gives you the option to mount a flag with grommets too. When mounting a flag with grommets adhere to the following: 1. Attach the upper left grommet of the flag to the metal hook at the top of the pole. 2. Slide the clear plastic ring up the bottom of the flagpole so that it meets with the lower left grommet of the flag. 3. Match the grommet with the hole in the ring. 4. Twist the thumb screw on just enough so that the ring can still rotate around the pole.
If you have a Federal ID Number and resell flags, please choose the appropriate option.

Helpful U.S. Flag Links

Flag Manufacturers Association of America (FMAA)
The Flag Manufacturers Association of America (FMAA) proudly sponsors the “Certified Made in the U.S.A.” certification program to ensure that the U.S. flags you purchase are homegrown with pride.


Flags of the World
The Internet’s largest site devoted to the study of flags. This site provides detailed information on all types of flags including states, territories, international, historical and military.


The National Flag Foundation
The National Flag Foundation has been America’s leading nonprofit patriotic organization devoted to promoting respect for our nation’s most important symbol: The flag of the United States of America.


The White House
This is the official web site for the White House. This site is a source for information about the President, White House news and policies, White House history, and the federal government.


North American Vexillological Association (NAVA)
NAVA promotes vexillology as the scientific study of flags by bringing into closer cooperation people interested in all aspects of flags such as their history, significance, specifications, use and manufacture.


Military, Veterans & Patriotic Service Organizations of America
This site will help you find military, veterans and patriotic service organizations that meet your interests, present information about their missions and programs, and link you to their web sites and/or email.


United States Department of Veterans Affairs (burial flags)
This site contains valuable information about burial flags available to veterans.


The Betsy Ross Homepage
Take a virtual tour of Betsy’s house. Learn what the red, white and blue represent. Download Betsy Ross photos and U.S. flag images.

Flag Flying Holiday

The U.S. flag may be flown every day, especially on the following:


  • 1st: New Year’s Day
  • 3rd: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday
  • 20th: Inauguration Day


  • 12th: Lincoln’s Birthday
  • 3rd Monday: Presidents' Day
  • 22nd: Washington’s Birthday

March / April

  • Easter Sunday


  • 3rd Saturday: Armed Forces Day
  • Last Monday: Memorial Day Observed
  • 30th: Memorial Day Traditional


  • 14th: Flag Day


  • 4th: Independence Day


  • 1st Monday: Labor Day
  • 11th: Patriot Day
  • 17th: Constitution Day


  • 2nd Monday: Columbus Day


  • 11th: Veterans Day
  • 4th Thursday: Thanksgiving Day


  • 7th: Pearl Harbor Day
  • 25th: Christmas Day


  • May 8th: V-E Day
  • 2nd Sunday in May: Mother’s Day
  • 3rd Sunday in June: Father’s Day
  • August 7th: Purple Heart Day
  • August 14th: V-J Day
  • August 19th: National Aviation Day
  • October 27th: Navy Day
  • 1st Tuesday after 1st Monday in November: Election Day
  • November 10th: Marine Corps. Birthday
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