US Flag Code

The United States Flag Code establishes advisory rules for display and care of the flag of the United States. It is Section 1 of Title 4 of the United States Code (4 U.S.C. § 1 et seq). This etiquette is as applied within U.S. jurisdiction. In other countries and places, local etiquette applies.

Standards of respect

On the US Military combat uniforms, where the flag is put on the sleeve of the uniform, the flag patch is displayed with the stars facing forward, in the direction the wearer is facing. This is done to give the impression of the flag flowing in the wind while being carried forward across the battlefield. This is known as the "Reverse Field Flag."

Displaying the flag outdoors

Displaying the flag indoors

The canton is always in the upper left corner.

Parading and saluting the flag

Pledge of Allegiance and national anthem

(a) Designation.— The composition consisting of the words and music known as the Star-Spangled Banner is the national anthem. (b) Conduct During Playing.— During a rendition of the national anthem— (1) when the flag is displayed— (A) all present except those in uniform should stand at attention. (B) men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold the headdress at the left shoulder, (C) individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note; and (2) when the flag is not displayed, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed.

The flag in mourning

The flag, as draped over President John F. Kennedy's coffin at his state funeral.