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
- May 15 — Peace Officers Memorial Day: half-staff from sunrise to sunset; except when Peace Officers Memorial Day falls on Armed Forces Day (third Saturday in May)
- Last Monday in May — Memorial Day: the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon
- September 11 — Patriot Day: half-staff from sunrise to sunset
- December 7 — National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day: half-staff from sunrise to sunset
Section 7m of the U.S. Flag Code authorizes a governor to half-staff the U.S. flag upon the death of a member of the Armed Forces from that state who dies while serving on active duty.
Kentucky will lower the U.S. flag and the Kentucky flag on the day of a fallen soldier’s interment. Those who will be honored include the following:
- Native Kentuckians who have died in the line of military duty.
- Any member of the military who is not a native Kentuckian, but has chosen the Commonwealth as his or her official place of residence who has died in the line of duty.
- All members of the Kentucky National Guard who have died in the line of military duty.
- Any member of the military who has deployed from a Kentucky military base into a combat zone and is killed in action.
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 a state as a mark of respect to their memory. In the event of the death of a present or former official of the government of any state, the governor of that state may proclaim that the U.S. flag be flown at half-staff.
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 – no fines or penalties. The Supreme Court has ruled that politically motivated violations of the Flag Code are protected by the First Amendment.