Flag Status

Flag Protocol

It is proper flag protocol to raise the flag at sunrise each morning and lower it at sunset each evening. However, the flag may be displayed at night, if properly illuminated. The flag shall be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.

The flag, when flown at half-staff, should first be hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day.

When to lower the flag to half-staff

By order of the President, the U.S. flag should be flown at half-staff upon the death of principal figures of the United States government and the governor of any state as a mark of respect to their memory. In the event of the death of a present or former official of state government, the governor of that state may proclaim that the U.S. flag be flown at half-staff.

The U.S. Flag Code authorizes a governor to lower the U.S. flag to half-staff upon the death of a member of the Armed Forces from that state who dies while serving on active duty.

Additionally, the governor may lower the flag to half-staff in the event of the death of a first responder who dies while serving in the line of duty.

The flag is always lowered to half-staf on the following days:

  • Peace Officers Memorial Day: May 15 – half-staff from sunrise to sunset; except when Peace Officers Memorial Day falls on Armed Forces Day (third Saturday in May)
  • Memorial Day: Last Monday in May – the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon
  • Patriot Day: September 11 – half-staff from sunrise to sunset
  • National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day: December 7 – half-staff from sunrise to sunset

The Flag Code serves as a guide to be followed on a purely voluntary basis to insure proper respect for the flag. The Flag Code has no provision for enforcement – i.e. there no fines or penalties – and the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that politically motivated violations of the Flag Code are protected by the First Amendment.


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