Half Staff Us Flags

Written by Beth Hrusch
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Most people are aware that the U.S. flag is flown at half staff during times of national mourning, but few know that there are certain rules for this procedure that should be observed. For example, flag etiquette dictates that people fly their flags in this manner only when authorized to do so by the President of the United States or the head of a government department. When this authorization is given, all flags on government grounds as well as military bases will be flown at half-mast.

Flying the Flag at Half Staff

For the homeowner or business owner who is displaying the American flag, there are several occasions that call for flying the flag at half staff. Upon the death of the President or a former President, the flag will be flown at half-staff for 30 days. It is flown at half staff for 10 days upon the death of a Vice-President or Chief Justice. In the event of the deaths of prominent members of Congress or state governors, the flag is flown in this way from the day of death until internment.

When preparing to fly the flag at half mast, the flag should be run up the pole briskly, then lowered slowly to half staff. On Memorial Day, the flag should only be flown at half mast from daybreak until noon, then raised to the top of the pole until sunset in honor of all American battle heroes. Other days on which it is proper to fly the U.S. flag at half staff are Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, Peace Officers Memorial Day, Korean War Armistice Day, and Patriot Day.

Learning the proper way to fly the flag at half staff is one way to show respect for the flag. This, in turn, will demonstrate a respect for country that is the hallmark of true patriotism. In times of mourning and remembrance, it is appropriate to show that those who have served their country are appreciated and missed by those who reap the fruits of their sacrifices. It is a tradition that unites all Americans.


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