Etiquette and History of the American Flag

The “Star Spangled Banner” was written in 1914 by Francis Scott Key and declared the national anthem in 1931. With both the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance, non-uniformed persons wearing a hat should place it over their heart with their right hand and face the flag. With the National Anthem, if no flag is displayed you should face the source of the music.

On Formal Occasions, in a procession, the flag should be to the right of the marchers. When other flags are included, the U.S. Flag should be centered in front of the others or carried to their right.

Folding the Flag should include two people facing each other. Stretch it horizontally at waist height and fold in half lengthwise. Fold the Flag in half lengthwise again. The union (blue field) should be on the outside with edges held together. Then one person holds the flag by the union while the other starts at the opposite end by making a triangular fold. Continue to fold in triangles until the flag resembles a cocked hat with only the blue field showing.
When possible, if not totally in tatters, the U.S. flag should also be folded prior to properly disposing it by burning it. See previous blog for the way to properly dispose of a flag.
June 14th was proclaimed Flag Day by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916. While very popular across the United States, it didn’t receive its Official Congressional designation until 1949.

Finally, a handbook reflects the United States Code, while it doesn’t contain any penalties or enforcement provisions for noncompliance, it is the National Flag Foundation’s explanation of the U.S. Flag Code in layman’s languare

Some information provided by Annin Flagmakers