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Display of the American flag is governed by the Federal Flag Code that explains, among other details, the rules for hanging a flag vertically. The regulations ensure that the flag is treated with respect as a symbol of national identity and pride. Most of the time, the flag is flown horizontally, but when it is practical or necessary to hang the flag horizontally, the union -- the blue corner that contains the stars -- should be positioned according to the instructions in the Flag Code.

Outside Vertical Display

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Ensure that the flag will clear any obstacles or moving vehicles and cannot catch or snag on anything that might damage it when hung outside.

Howard Jokela/Demand Media

Suspend an American flag over the middle of a street vertically, placing the union or blue area of the flag uppermost and to the north, if the street runs east and west. For streets running north and south, the union is positioned to the east.

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Hang a flag vertically against a wall with the union at the top and facing the observer's left. Over a sidewalk, ensure the union is at the top at the side farthest away from the nearest building.

Inside Display

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Display the flag in a window, where it is visible to the outside but protected from the elements. The grommets may be slipped over cup hooks or attached to nails or another support with carabiners. You may choose to hang the flag on a cord or rope stretched across the top of the window frame.

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Position a vertical flag in a window with the union at the top and on the flag's right -- that is, facing the left of the observer looking at it from outside.

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Suspend a flag vertically across a lobby or corridor in a building with the union uppermost and to the observer's left, if the building has one main entrance. In the event of more than one main entrance, hang the flag near the center of the lobby with the union to the north, if the entrances are to the east and west. Hang it with the union to the east when entrances are to the north and south. If there are entrances in more than two opposite directions, hang the flag with the union to the east.

Things Needed

  • ['flagpole', 'rope', 'hooks']


  • The only time a flag may be displayed with the union down, or on the bottom, is if it is being used to signal extreme distress or danger.

    Double check to be sure the hanging flag isn't touching the ground or the floor, dragging in the water or draping over an object.


  • Display the flag only from sunrise to sunset unless it is specially illuminated in the dark.

    Display only an all-weather flag during inclement weather.