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Why You Shouldn’t Fly the American Flag Upside Down

The U.S. Flag Code allows the American flag to be flown at half-staff for certain occasions. On days of mourning, for instance, you may notice the American flag being flown at half-staff throughout the country. Memorial Day is another day on which it’s acceptable to fly the American at half-staff. From sunrise to noon, the American flag is commonly flown at half-staff on Memorial Day. With that said, you should typically avoid flying the American flag upside down.

What the US Flag Code Says About Upside-Down Flags

According to the U.S. Flag Code, the American flag should never be flown or otherwise displayed upside down. Flying the American flag upside down is a sign of disrespect. The proper way to fly it, of course, is to raise the American flag to the top of the flagpole. Assuming there’s no Presidential proclamation –and it’s not Memorial Day — the American flag should be flown at the top of the flagpole right side up.

The only exception in which it’s accessible to fly the American flag upside down, as per the U.S. Flag Code, is to signal danger or distress. The U.S. Flag Code says that flying the American flag upside down signals dangers or distress. When flown upside down, the American flag is recognized as a signal of danger or distress. But reports of people using an upside-down American flag to get rescued are few and far between.

Of course, this isn’t limited to the American flag. In many other countries, flying their respective flag upside down signals danger or distress. Upside-down flags have been recognized as a signal for danger or distress for centuries. Even today, dozens of countries recognize upside-down flags as a signal for danger or distress.

Double-Check Your American Flag When Raising It

Always double-check your American flag when raising it. You don’t wait to finish raising it to the flagpole, only to discover that it’s upside down. Flying the American flag upside down is a sign of disrespect.  Unless you are trying to seek rescue, you should fly it right side up.

Double-checking your American flag when raising it will ensure that it’s right side up. If you accidentally slide it on the flagpole upside down, you can adjust it. The only time when it’s acceptable to fly the American flag upside down is to signal danger or distress. Even then, you may not have an American flag nearby to seek rescue.

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