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American Flag Folding & Etiquette

The American Flag is the symbol of our great nation. The 50 stars of the flag represent the fifty states of the United States of America. The 13 stripes stand for the 13 original colonies established by our ancestors over 200 years ago. The colors of the flag stand for our national ideals. The red is for valor and sacrifice. The white is for innocence, and purity. The blue is for perseverance and justice.

Parts of the American Flag

  • Hoist: The height of the flag along the edge that connects to the flag pole.
  • Fly: The length of the flag along the top edge.
  • Fly End: The end of the flag that’s not connected to the flag pole.
  • Canton: The upper left hand corner of the flag (the blue area with stars).
  • Field or Ground: The face area of the flag. Also defined as the background color or pattern of the flag (the red and white stripes).
American Flag
Blain’s Farm & Fleet will teach you proper flag etiquette and show you how to fold the American flag.

American Flag Code

The flag represents our country and its enduring ideals. It must be treated with respect and care. There are codes of etiquette for the handling of the American Flag:

1. The American flag should never be allowed to touch the ground or floor.

2. The American flag should never be stepped on.

3. A flag should never be used as “clothing apparel, bedding, or drapery”. Decorative flags may be used as decoration for coffins during funerals.

4. The flag should never be bunched up in any way.

5. The flag should never be used as a ceiling for a shelter.

6. The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.

7. The flag should never have any mark, insignia, letter, word, number, figure, or drawing of any kind placed on it or attached to it.

8. The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.

9. In a parade, the flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle, train, or boat. When the flag is flown on a car or truck, the staff should be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.

10. When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object. It should be received by waiting hands and arms.

11. The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary.

12. The flag should never be flown in inclement weather unless an all-weather flag is used.

13. When a flag is so tattered that it no longer fits to serve as a symbol of the United States, it should be destroyed in a dignified manner by ceremonial burning. The Veterans of  Foreign Wars, The American Legion, The Boy Scouts of America, all branches of the military, and other organizations regularly conduct dignified flag-burning ceremonies. Bring old flags to these organizations to be properly dispatched.

14. Wherever the American flag is hung or flown, it must be able to hang freely without touching anything beneath it.

16. To store the American flag, it must be folded properly and ceremoniously.

How To Fold an American Flag

There is a specific way to properly fold the American flag. Follow these instructions from USFlag.org:

1. Begin by holding the flag waist-high with another person. The field or face of the flag should be parallel to the ground. Remember to hold the flag tight throughout each step to keep it from touching the ground.

2. Fold the flag in half lengthwise so the stripes meet the stars. Now hold the flag waist-high again with the stars facing down, and the stripes facing up.

3. Fold the flag lengthwise again so the stars are on the outside.

4. Make a triangular fold on the striped end by bringing the corner up at a right angle to meet the open edge of the flag. The other person should be holding the striped end firmly in place throughout the rest of the steps.

5. Turn the outer tip of your first triangle inward, parallel to the open edge, to form a second triangle. flatten any wrinkles or creases you see before making the next fold.

6. Repeat step five until the flag is completely folded.

7. When the flag is completely folded, it should be a small triangle, with only blue and stars showing.

Take care of this precious symbol of our republic and fly it proudly throughout the year!


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