Flag Etiquette

Our great American flag symbolizes history, unity, sacrifices, and freedom...and we are committed to preserving and respecting Old Glory. Since we are most aware of our flag during this time of year, we thought it was a fine time to share the traditions of flag etiquette that we find most helpful.  We reference the Flag Code quite often here at the Mercantile - it's the formal listing that unifies the traditional ways in which we give respect to the flag.

Here are a few of the Flag Etiquette standards that we live by daily:

  • The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary, and when a flag is damaged or worn in a way that is not fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.
  • The flag should only be flown upside down only as a distress signal.
  • The flag should never be used  for any decoration or to cover a speakers desk. 
  • The flag should never be used as clothing. It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on any articles intended to be discarded after temporary use.
  • The flag should never be used for receiving, holding, or carrying, or delivering anything.
  • When a flag is lowered, it should not touch the ground.
  • When the flag is stored, it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously. Do not store it where it could get dirty. 
  • When hanging or displaying a flag against a wall, vertically or horizontally, the flag's union (stars) should always be hanging at the top and to the observer's left. 
  • The flag should always be at the center and highest point when a number of other flags of state, localities, or other societies are grouped together. 
  • The flag should be brought indoors during inclement weather. 
  • The flag should never be drawn or marked on.
  • The flag should never be tied back, but should be able to freely fall.

One standard that we abide by, which surprisingly isn't on this list, is for all American flags and items with the image of an American flag affixed to them should be made right here in the USA.  

We hope in the midst of all of the excitement and fun celebration this week, we all take a moment to reflect and give thanks - and vow to make a difference in our hometowns across the USA. It's as easy as checking the tags of the things you buy everyday to see where they are made. Support the items with those tiny American flags on the tag with the proud words “Made In USA” -  it's one of the finest ways to show respect to Old Glory.

Happy Fourth of July and God Bless America!