Displaying the American Flag at Home


“The emblem of the brave and true,
Its folds protect no tyrant crew,
The red and white and starry blue,
Is freedom’s shield and hope.”

John Philip Sousa, from Stars and Stripes Forever

Independence Day is around the corner! A time for patriotism and celebration, the holiday is all but dipped in hues of red, white, and blue thanks to the colors of the American flag. Many of our homeowners choose to proudly display the Stars and Stripes on their properties year-round. But what’s the proper way to do so?

The US Flag Code, a 1942 Joint Resolution passed by Congress, governs how to honor Old Glory and how to grant this emblem of our nation’s freedom proper respect. Below are some key pointers from that legislation regarding displaying a flag at home.

General Rule #1

The flag is customarily flown from sunrise to sunset on all days of the year, except in the case of inclement weather, when the flag should not be raised.  If homeowners wish to fly their American flag in the evenings, the flag should be illuminated for patriotic effect.

General Rule #2

Whenever displaying a flag—on a flagpole or hung from a balcony, fence, or porch—ensure that the Union Stars (the blue quadrant) are always at the top left.  Should the flag be displayed with the Union Stars at the bottom it is considered a sign of dire distress.

General Rule #3

Within the US, no other flag should be placed above the American flag on a single mast or halyard—state flags, nautical flags, club pennants, etc must all be placed underneath.

General Rule #4

Once your flag is hung, take care to ensure it does not brush against anything beneath it. The bottom of a flag should not touch the ground, flooring, water, or furnishings, and should be lifted high enough such that even in a breeze it will be unencumbered.

General Rule #5

Last, flags must only be flown in good condition. When an American flag has become too worn to be a fitting symbol of the United States, it must be properly retired, and must not be thrown into the trash. Many American Legion posts conduct annual flag retirement ceremonies on Flag Day, June 14th, as a way to continue the dignified tradition of putting old flags to rest.

Should these rules have you reconsidering a place for a flag in your own home’s architecture, contact us to learn how we might approach the challenge. In the interim, we invite you to find meaningful inspiration in this Instagram Reel of flags displayed on our properties.