The U.S. Flag Code
        The United States Flag Code is a law passed by the U.S. Congress.  The Flag Code tells  when, where, and how the U.S. flag should be displayed and cared for.  The Flag Code is a federal law, but people who break this law are seldom arrested or punished.  In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that acts such as burning the flag are protected by the First Amendment right to freedom of speech. 

When to display the flag

If outside, the flag should be flown from sunrise to sunset.  However, it can be displayed  24 hours if it is properly lit.  The flag should be flown every day, especially on national holidays such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day.  

How to display the flag  (Images courtesy of the American Legion)


When carried in a procession with other flags, the American flag should be on the marching right, that is, its own right. 

If there is a line of other flags, it should be in front of the center of that line.





When the American flag is flown with flags of  Illinois, other states, or American cities, the American flag should be at the center of any group and also at the highest point.




When the American flag is flown on the same pole and halyard (rope) with flags of other  states or cities, the American flag should always be at the top.




When flags of two or more countries  are displayed, they should be  flown from separate staffs (poles) and should be the same height.  Also the  flags should be about the same size.


When displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs (poles),  the American flag should be on the right, its own right.  Its staff should be in front of the staff of the other flag. 



Respect for the flag

No disrespect should be shown to the American flag.  This includes:  
  • The flag should never be flown upside down except as a signal of extreme danger of distress.  
  • The flag should never touch the ground, the floor, or water. 
  • The flag should never be used as clothing, bedding, drapery, or covering for a ceiling.  

Take a quiz over Lesson 6

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