Thursday, April 26, 2007

Flying the Flag at Half Staff (Half Mast)

Flying the Flag at Half Staff (Half Mast)

The American Flag is flown at half staff, or half mast in a nautical setting, on four designated days during the year.

  • May 15 - Peace Officers Memorial Day
  • May - last Monday - Memorial Day (raised at noon)
  • September 11 - Patriot Day
  • December 7 - Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

It is also flown at half staff on occasions designated by the President of the United States or by the Governor of a State. ONLY those people may give the order to fly flags at half staff. However, city mayors often declare this, they do not have authority under the Federal Flag Code to do so.

Presidents will order the flag to be flown at half staff on occasions of national mourning (such as the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech), the death of a former President, Vice President, Supreme Court Justice, Associate Justice, member of Congress or national dignitary.

Governors will order the flag to be flown at half staff when the state has a resident in the military or a police officer or fireman killed in the line of duty, or for former Governors or state dignitaries.

Flying flags at half staff is a high honor of respect and remembrance and mourning.

The ceremony of putting the flag at half staff is to raise the flag, briskly, to the top of the flag pole and then to slowly lower it to half staff. To lower the flag, it should be raised back to the top of the pole and then lowered.

When the flag is flown at half staff, other flags around it should be lowered, as well, or removed. No flag is to fly higher than the flag of the United States of America.

Whenever you see a flag at half-staff, you know someone important in service to our country has lost their life.


Ron Simpson said...

Most people do not know the part about the raising it fully, then lowering it. Followed by raising it fully before taking it down.

I also see people keeping their flags up at night or in the rain. That is only permissable if it is lighted.

Also, most people do not realize a screen printed flag is not a real flag. For it to be a real flag it must be sewn and stitched. If it is not sewn and stitched it cannot retired properly.

It offends me greatly to see a tattered flag.

see my post here.

Sarge Charlie said...

good service gazer

Amazing Gracie said...

Our local paper ran an article by a veteran not long ago on flag ettiquette. Since fewer kids are in scouts, or are taught this in school anymore, fewer people know (OR CARE!!!) how our flags are treated. Thanks for printing this!

Flag Gazer said...

My sadness is that fewer people honor the flag anymore.

Todd48182 said...

My flag pole is fixed to my house
it 's length is 52 inches
w2 clips on it 1 at the top by the brass eagle the other is 36 " from the tip What is the proper way to fly this type of flag at half staff

Flag Gazer said...

Todd -
I reread the flag code and find no mention of doing this in your situation... wish I could be more helpful.