How Long Should I Fly the Flag at Half-Staff?
The President may order the flag to be flown at half-mast, or half-staff, to mark the death of other officials, former officials, or foreign dignitaries. In addition to these occasions, the president may also order half-staff display of the flag after other tragic events. When a half-staff order is issued, it will state when and how long the American flag or any state flag should be flown at half-staff. In any event, the flag should be briskly run up to the top of the staff before being lowered slowly to the half-mast position.
During half-staff flag flying days, all flags should be lowered as stated. For flagpoles with multiple flags, remove any additional flags below the American flag that are suspended at or below the cleat on your flagpole for the duration of the half-staff order. This will eliminate the chance that one of your flags will be dishonored by touching the ground.
The flag is to be flown at half-staff at all federal buildings, grounds, and naval vessels in the Washington, D.C. area on the day and day after the death of a United States senator, representative, territorial delegate, or the resident commissioner from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. It should also be flown at half-staff on all federal facilities in the state, congressional district, territory, or commonwealth of these officials.
Click here for more information on Presidential Proclamations.
After the death of
After the death of a sitting
Vice-President, the Chief of
Justice, a retired Chief of Justice,
or the Speaker of the
House of Representatives
Day of and the day
after the death of
a member of Congress
Associate Justice of the
Supreme Court, secretary
of a military department,
former Vice President, or
the Governor of a state
If Your Flag Can't Fly at Half-Staff
If your flag cannot be lowered, such as a flag on a home, The American Legion says an acceptable alternative is to attach a black ribbon on top of the flag. The ribbon should be the same width as a stripe on the flag and the same length as the flag. In the case of wall-mounted flags, three mourning bows should be attached to the top edge of the flag, one at each corner, and one in the center.
POW/MIA Recognition Day
Congress designated the third Friday of September as National POW/MIA Recognition Day and ordered prominent display of the POW/MIA flag on this day and several other national observances, including Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day. The 1998 Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 105- 85) mandates that on these national observances, the POW/MIA flag is to be flown over the White House, the U.S. Capitol, the Korean and Vietnam Veterans War Memorials, the offices of the Secretaries of State, Defense and Veterans Affairs, offices of the Director of the Selective Service System, every major military installation (as directed by the Secretary of Defense), every post office, and all Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Centers and national cemeteries. The act also directs VA Medical Centers to fly the POW/MIA flag on any day on which the flag of the United States is displayed.
Click here for more information on POW/MIA Recognition Day.
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