Flag Pole Rules

Flag Pole Rules

The United States flag is a symbol of our nation and its ideals. It is to be flown from the flag pole with proper respect and honor following the rules and regulations set by the U.S. government.

1 Flag Pole Size

The size of the flag pole determines the size of the flag to fly from the pole. The following measurement ratios are taken from the Federal Citizen Information Center Home Page on flag presentations:

Flagpole Height (ft) Flag Size (ft)
20 4 x 6
25 5 x 8
40 6 x 10
50 8 x 12
60 10 x 15
70 12 x 18
90 15 x 25
125 20 x 30
200 30 x 40
250 40 x 50

2 Number of Flags on Pole

The U.S. flag is always the first flag up the pole if more than one flag is to be flown from the same flag pole in the United States. A second flag from the state, community, society or scout unit may be flown under the U.S. flag. Commercial banners should not be flown from the same flag pole as the U.S. flag. It is never permissible to put another country's flag above the United States flag on a pole.

3 Flying Flags

Flags should be raised up the flag pole quickly and lowered ceremoniously. The United States flag should be raised each morning and lowered each night. If the flag is to be flown through out the night, there needs to be proper lighting to keep the flag visible through the night.

4 Flag Pole Dispay Rules

When displaying a series of flags on individual poles In the United States, the U.S. flag is always placed in a position of honor. Any other flags flown in line should be placed to the left of the U.S. flag. The flags may all be the same size or smaller than the U.S. flag, but no other flag should be larger. No other flag should be placed on a taller pole than the pole that flies the U.S. flag. The flag of the United States should be the first flag raised up the pole and the last flag down.

The flag of the United States of America should be flown on the highest pole in the center when there are a number of flags displayed in a circle or group,

5 Flying a Flag at Half Staff

To place the flag on the flag pole at half staff, hoist it to the peak of the pole for an instant and then lower it to a position half way between the top and bottom of the flag pole. The flag is to be raised again to the top of the pole for a moment before it is lowered and removed from the pole. On Memorial Day the flag is displayed on the flag pole at half staff until noon. After noon the flag is displayed at full staff until sunset.

The flag of the United States of America is to be flown from the flag pole at half staff during times of national mourning or in honor of significant government leaders upon presidential or gubernatorial order.

6 Top of the Flag Pole

According to the USA Flag Site commentator, eagles should not be used to top outside flag poles since the wind may wrap the flag around the eagle and tear the flag. The gold or silver ball on top of the pole is preferred for outside flag poles. Indoors, an eagle is allowed. While there is no official statement about the direction the eagle should face on the flag pole, many believe that the eagle should face as if it were flying toward Washington, D.C. In times of war the eagle is sometimes turned to face the direction of our troops on foreign soil. The eagle on the pole that is with the deployed troops faces back home, in the direction of the United States. The eagle on top of the flag pole should be gold or silver in color.

7 Attaching and Removing Flag from Pole

Be sure to learn the appropriate way to hook the flag to the rope before raising the flag. It is inappropriate for the flag to touch the ground in the process. If you are by yourself when raising the flag, place the flag over your shoulder to keep it from touching the ground.

It is best if there are two people to remove the flag and fold it properly in the triangle fold. If you are taking the flag off the pole by yourself, lay the flag on a flat surface in order to properly it. If the flag does touch the ground, however, you do not--despite popular belief--have to destroy the flag.

Tama Shepard has 22 years of teaching experience with a Bachelor of Arts in special education and a Master of Arts in professional development. She has worked extensively with second language learners. She also has a pastoral license and a Master of Arts in Christian counseling. She enjoys traveling and learning about other cultures.