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How To Correctly Fly The American Flag

Four easy steps to save you from pulling a Benedict Arnold

Image Via CC (Credit: Bruce Tuten)

If you grew up in one of those household that flew the flag year round, the following advice might seem as useful as sippy cup lessons. Then again, how many of us have internalized the Federal Flag Code? Here are the do-or-die rules you’ll need to impress that special someone this long weekend, not to mention save yourself the quiet shame of dissing your country on its birthday.


  1. No flying blind. If the sun’s up—even behind clouds—you’re cool. The minute sunset’s over, though, shine a light on that flag.
  1. You’re not in an ad. Models and celebs might look nice hawking premium beer as flags flutter from the back of the SUV or the yacht. Not us. Put the flag on a staff and put the staff on the right side of your car or boat.
  1. Right side up. On a wall or a window, don’t get cute. If the blue part with the stars isn’t in the upper left hand corner, take it down, take a minute, and try again. (If you’re running low on BBQ small talk, take note: that part’s called the union.)
  1. Don’t stop halfway. Unless we’re in national or regional mourning, or you want people to mourn your sense of decency, keep hoisting the flag until it’s all the way to the top.

If you haven’t broken a sweat yet, make sure you hit up the Code for advanced flag training. It’s probably easier than you think to ruin your porch, office, or street presentation with a major faux pas. Fly responsibly.

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