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Flagpole Topper Rules: Choosing the Right Ornament

Published on
January 25, 2024 at 1:06:59 PM PST January 25, 2024 at 1:06:59 PM PSTth, January 25, 2024 at 1:06:59 PM PST

If you’ve purchased a flagpole, it probably included a flagpole topper called a finial. These ornaments provide the perfect finishing touch to your flag display, but they can become damaged or worn after prolonged use. When replacing the finial, you must ensure the new topper is compatible with your existing hardware and complies with proper flag etiquette rules. In this article, we will break down what you need to know when replacing your flag topper and discuss the rules of proper flag etiquette according to the U.S. Flag Code.


What Does the U.S. Flag Code Say About Flagpole Toppers?


The Flag Code doesn’t explicitly address flagpole toppers for civilian flagpoles. Each military branch has rules regarding which finials to use on top of a flagpole in specific situations, but those regulations don’t extend to civilians. For questions on what flagpole toppers to use, please fill out our Contact Us Form to speak with one of our Flag Pros. 


What Do Different Flagpole Toppers Symbolize?


While you may not need to worry about following specific United States code rules about flagpole toppers, it is important to consider their meaning. 


Eagle flagpole topper 


The bald eagle gained its status as America’s national bird in 1782 after Charles Thomson suggested the native bird. Viewed as a symbol of freedom, power, and majesty, the bald eagle is one of the most popular finial choices.

The United States Army only uses the eagle topper on presidential flagpoles, and it is the only finial used in the offices of the Vice President and President, making it one of the most prominent in Washington, D.C. If you’re looking for an eye-catching eagle flagpole topper, choose from our gold eagle ornament or our outdoor aluminum flagpole eagle


Spear ornament toppers 


Spear ornament toppers represent classic weapons used for hunting and war. They signify bravery and courage by showcasing strength at the top of the flagpole. Carrot-Top.com carries a wide selection of spear finials, including classic and spade spear toppers. Purchase a high-quality guidon spade to complete your indoor military flag displays. 


Ball Ornament Toppers 


Ball toppers give your flag display a classic and traditional appearance reminiscent of Christmas ornaments. Our aluminum ball flagpole ornaments come in a variety of sizes to match your commercial flagpole. 

Carrot-Top.com is proud to offer an extensive selection of indoor and outdoor flagpole toppers, including a cross, Star of David, maple leaf, battalion lance, and more. Explore our full line and create a custom flag display today. 


When Should I Replace My Flagpole Finial?


Flagpole finials can become damaged, cracked, and detach completely from your flagpole from exposure to the elements or following inclement weather. Even indoor finials can sustain damage, especially during transport. It’s important to inspect your flagpole ornament for signs of damage and order replacement parts when necessary. It can be challenging to spot damage on outdoor flagstaff. Be sure to remove it from the bracket occasionally and inspect the topper for damage. 


What Types of Flagpole Toppers Does Carrot-Top Sell? 


Every flagpole sold by Carrot-Top Industries includes a finial. You can find information about replacement parts on our product pages. However, if you need an ornament for a flagpole not purchased from Carrot-Top, please contact our helpful Flag Pros, as an adapter may be required. Flagpole toppers come in many shapes and sizes, so you want to be sure to choose the right one to fit your needs. 


Flagpole toppers for indoor flagpoles 


We proudly offer a variety of quality toppers for indoor flagpoles. Some of our most popular options include: 


Flagpole toppers for outdoor poles 


Explore our impressive selection of finials for freestanding and wall-mounted outdoor flagpoles. Our best sellers include:



What Are the Flagpole Topper Rules for Military Flags?


Every branch of the U.S. military has a specific finial they traditionally use, as outlined below. 

  • The Army = guidon spade 
  • The Marine Corps = guidon spade 
  • The Navy = battle axe 
  • The Air Force = guidon spade 
  • The Coast Guard = battle axe 

If you want to create a traditional military flag display, purchase a Brigadier™ Flagpole set for your preferred military branch. 


What Else Does Each Military Branch Say About Flagpole Toppers?


Each military branch has specific guides on which flagpole toppers they use. For example, the Navy has separate finials for flagpoles flying an American flag and those for an officer or official, depending on their rank. We will explore the finial guidelines for each branch below. 


The Navy 


  • A Spread Eagle - An eagle finial is used only for the President, Vice President, and officials receiving official salutes with 19 guns or more. On flagpoles of officers and civilian officials receiving an 11 to 19-gun salute, a halberd is the chosen topper. 
  • A Ball - The Navy uses a ball topper for diplomats like consuls and officers of equal rank to the Navy’s Captain. 
  • A Star - When an officer is of an equal rank to the Commander of the Navy, a star topper is used. 
  • A Flat Truck - All officers ranking under a commander must use a flat truck flagpole topper. 


The Marines 


The Marine Corps follows the same flag topper regulations as the Navy, and the following: 

  • A Brass Ball - Used on all U.S. flagpoles. 
  • A Spearhead - Used for colors, streamers, guidons, and standards. 
  • A Ball - A ball ornament is used when the display of the flag is done for recruiting or advertising purposes. 


The Air Force 


The Air Force is currently phasing out the majority of flagpole toppers aside from the ones listed below. 

  • An Eagle - All Presidential flagstaffs flying the flag of the United States of America must use an eagle finial. 
  • A Silver Spade - According to Air Force Instruction 34-1201, all Air Force flagpoles can use a silver spade. 
  • A Ball - The official U.S. flagpole on the installation uses a ball ornament. 


The Army 


The Army only recognizes four official finials as outlined in Section 8 of the Army Regulation 840-10. They include: 

  • An Eagle - Used on Presidential flagpoles when flying the national flag. 
  • A Spearhead - Used while flying all Army flags. 
  • An Acorn - Used when flying markers. 
  • A Ball - Used on installation flagpoles flying the U.S. flag and for wall-mounted outdoor advertising. 


Purchase a Flagpole Topper from Carrot-Top


Carrot-Top Industries is proud to offer a wide selection of quality flagpole toppers that accentuate any flag display. They are ideal for displaying your patriotism year-round or on meaningful holidays like: 

  1. Presidents' Day
  2. Armed Forces Day
  3. Memorial Day
  4. Flag Day
  5. Independence Day
  6. Labor Day
  7. Election Day
  8. Veterans Day


Discover our Extensive Selection of Quality Flags 


Pair your flag topper with a stunning flag from America’s most trusted flag distributor, Carrot-Top Industries. We stock numerous ensigns to accentuate any commercial space, including the POW/MIA flag, the American flag and more. Showcase your devotion to the U.S.A. and place the stars and stripes in a position of honor with a stunning flag from Carrot-Top Industries. 

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