What’s the Proper Etiquette for Carrying the American Flag?

Consisting of 13 stripes and 50 stars, the American flag symbolizes our country’s origins. The stripes represent the 13 original colonies, whereas the stars represent the 50 states. Because it’s important symbolism, there are certain rules that citizens and businesses alike must follow when carrying it. So, what’s the proper etiquette for carrying the American flag?

Don’t Carry Flat or Horizontally

According to the U.S. Flag Code, the American flag should never be carried flat or horizontally. Doing so is considered poor etiquette and, therefore, should be avoided. That doesn’t mean you have to leave your American flag in the same static position forever. Rather, you’ll need to use a different method rather than carrying the American flag flat or horizontally.

Carry on a Flagstaff

While you shouldn’t carry the American flag flat or horizontally, you can carry it on a flagstaff. In parades, ceremonies and other events, you’ll often see people carrying the American flag on a flagstaff. The American flag is mounted on a flagstaff, after which it’s carried. When mounted on a flagstaff, the American flag will fly freely in the wind.

The U.S. Flag Code states that when carrying the American flag on a flagstaff, it should be positioned to the right. In other words, you should carry the flagstaff-mounted American flag on your right and not on your left.

Fold and Carry

In addition to using a flagstaff, you can carry the American flag by folding it. How do you fold the American flag exactly? As you may have guessed, there’s a right way and a wrong way to fold it. The proper method involves folding the American flag into the shape of a triangle.

For step-by-step instructions on how to fold the American flag, check out this article. When properly folded, the American flag will feature the shape of a triangle. Not only does this make it easy to carry, but it’s the proper etiquette as described in the U.S. Flag Code.

Don’t Let It Touch the Ground

Whether you carry it on a flagstaff or fold it, you shouldn’t let the American flag touch the ground. Allowing the American flag to touch the ground is a sign of disrespect. Countless men and women have died while protecting our country and the values for which it stands. Therefore, they should be honor by treating the American with respect and not allowing it to touch the ground.


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