How to Properly Honor and Fold the American Flag

Those who realize the significance of the United States flag will naturally want to honor it with proper treatment. America is a land of freedom and opportunity, but “freedom isn’t free.” Our liberties come at a costly price.

Ways the Flag of the USA Should Be Honored

Here are some of the ways American citizens honor “Old Glory.”

  • Those in uniform salute the flag as it passes by, others place the right hand over the heart
  • The flag is lowered to half mast on national days of mourning, but it is first hoisted fully, then lowered. In the evening, the cycle is reversed. The flag is first taken to the peak, then brought down for folding.
  • Flags may be draped over caskets, with the stars at the head and over the left side. It should never touch the ground, nor enter the grave with the casket.
  • When used on a stage, the American flag should be placed to the right of the speaker, all other flags should go on the left.
  • The stars always go to the peak of the staff. The flag is never flown upside-down.
  • The flag should be taken down from flagpole at sunset and properly folded. It should be raised at sunrise.
  • During inclement weather, the flag should not be flown. That helps avoid damage from the environment. Flags made especially to withstand severe weather aren’t subject to this rule.
  • The flag should be hoisted quickly and lowered with care and ceremony.
  • The flag should never be dipped, it should never touch the ground, and nothing should be placed on it. It should never be used for clothing.

These rules are not in place to make an idol of the flag. They exist to help maintain the dignity the flag deserves. Many have given their lives in defense of our country.

How to Properly Fold the Flag of the United States of America

When the flag is taken down from the flagpole at sunset, it should be folded in a specific way. Done correctly, there are 13 separate folds resulting in a triangular shape.

Here are the steps, courtesy of the United States Veteran’s Administration:

Proper folding of the flag requires teamwork by at least two people. One stands on the stars side of the flag lengthwise, the other stands where the stripes are pointing (to the right of the illustration below).

> The first fold brings the bottom edge of the flag up to match the top edge.

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> The second fold is the same. The bottom edge is again folded up to match the top edge.

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> The third fold is the first of the triangular folds. The bottom left corner of the flag is folded over to greet the top open edge.

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> The fourth fold occurs along the vertical fold just created. Flip straight over from the line perpendicular to the stripes to form another triangle.

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> Repeat the previous two steps nine more times, until there is a single triangle with the stars and blue background showing.

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> Once the final fold is completed, the flap is tucked up inside, and the flag is ready for safe storage until dawn.

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Here’s a video of the process, including the tucked flap at the end. If you have any questions at all, contact The Flag Makers.

Statistics say 94% of American flags sold in the USA are imported. Let’s change that!