Why Displaying an American Flag is Essential for an Apartment Complex
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Displaying the American Flag as a sign of honor and reverence, was probably the primary reason for buying a flag and flying it. If we pause for a few minutes and think about all who are influenced by that decision, it’s a good policy for any property manager to fly the U.S. Flag on their property. This article will explore some of those other additional roles the American Flag can embrace.
In addition, we will cover American Flag Etiquette with specific requirements set by U.S. federal law. These requirements are mandatory for any federal facility but are good practice for any facility flying the U.S. flag on their property.
We also will cover proper care for your American Flag. Flags can be made from a variety of materials, and each material needs to be washed and dried as specified by the manufacturer. We’ll discuss these issues and how to honorably dispose of an American Flag once it needs to be replaced with a new one.
Additional Purposes of Flying an American Flag
Americans take comfort in seeing our flag. It’s symbolic of liberty, and the colors of the stars and stripes have long stood for valor and justice. We take pride in waving them at parades and even have small versions on our cars or our jacket lapels.
Most children learned the “pledge of allegiance” at a young age at school, and the proper way to raise and lower the flag with respect. So, it may not be too surprising to discover the following additional benefits of your property’s American Flag.
Some Community Residents Don’t Have Their Own Flag Pole
As you probably know, there has been a lot of debate, legislation, and lawsuits about community residents flying all types of flags, and in many different ways of displaying them. American flags were one type of flag but other types of flags were part of the issue as well.
It is outside of the scope of this article to give legal advice, but if a resident does not fly a flag of their own, then the community’s flag takes its place. For some residents who have strong feelings for the American Flag, this can be an important issue for them as they drive or walk past the flag multiple times every day.
Give the Community the Opportunity to Recognize the Death of an Armed Forces Member
In 2007, an amendment to the United States Flag Code states the American Flag be flown at half-staff in that State in the event of the death of a member of the Armed Forces from that State who dies while serving on active duty.
As you can imagine, this amendment is important to former members of the armed forces. Especially when you consider it represents a service member from their state, someone they might know. More information about proper procedures for half-staff flying will be covered later in the article in the Etiquette section.
Celebrating National Holidays by Displaying the Flag
We are all welcome to fly the flag every day, and at night if it’s properly illuminated. National Holidays are when the flags really start waving, and property managers should be ready on the following dates:
- New Year's Day, January 1
- Inauguration Day, January 20
- Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, third Monday in January
- Lincoln's Birthday, February 12
- Washington's Birthday, third Monday in February
- Easter Sunday
- Mother's Day, second Sunday in May
- Armed Forces Day, third Saturday in May
- Memorial Day (half-staff until noon), last Monday in May
- Flag Day, June 14
- Father's Day, third Sunday in June
- Independence Day, July 4
- Labor Day, first Monday in September
- Constitution Day, September 17
- Columbus Day, second Monday in October
- Navy Day, October 27
- Veterans Day, November 11
- Thanksgiving Day, fourth Thursday in November
- Christmas Day, December 25
- Other days as declared by the President of the United States
- State holidays
American Flag Etiquette
Displaying the flag is a sign of honor and reverence, with specific requirements set by U.S. federal law. These requirements are mandatory for any federal facility but are good practice for any facility flying the U.S. flag on their property. Styles of American flags and hardware for them can vary, so here are few guidelines to help you set up your American Flag proudly and properly.
When to Display the American Flag
- Display the American flag from sunrise to sunset, or illuminate the flag to fly overnight.
- Do not display the American flag during poor weather conditions.
- The American flag should be on display at public buildings, including schools, and in or near polling places on Election Day.
- Generally, the American flag should be on display every day, but in particular, please see the holidays listed above.
How to Display the American Flag
- The American flag should always be displayed with the union, or blue field of white stars, to the left.
- To hang multiple flags on one flag pole: Hang the American flag highest on the flag pole, then the state flag, and lowest, any corporate or local flags.
- To arrange multiple flags on several flag poles in a row: Hang the American flag to the observer’s left, then the state flag, and farthest to the right, any corporate or local flags.
- To display on crossed staffs against a wall, put the American flag forward with the union to the center and on the observer’s left.
- When hanging flags from more than one nation, all should be approximately the same size and hang on separate flag poles at the same height.
Check with your local city government to comply with any local ordinances.
Raising and Lowering the American Flag
When raising and lowering multiple flags, the American flag should be hoisted first and lowered last. In the event of flying the flag at half-staff, first raise the flag to its peak briefly, then lower to half-staff; at night, raise again to full height briefly before lowering. Show your Spirit!
Proper Care for the American Flag
The American flag should be flown in good condition. Flags made from synthetic materials, such as our nylon flag, can be washed in a washing machine on the delicate cycle with cold water and mild detergent. Do not soak the flag; remove from the washing machine immediately after washing to avoid color bleeding. Or, hand wash your flag with mild detergent. Hang from a clothesline or lay flat to dry. Cotton flags, suitable for indoor display, are more delicate. Spot clean or dry clean as needed. Do not clean in a washing machine or dry in a dryer. Inspect your flag frequently and replace it when it is faded, torn, or tattered. When it comes time for a replacement, the previous flag should be disposed of properly. Flags should be burned in a respectful, ceremonial manner. Please contact your local American Legion post or Boy Scout Troop for assistance disposing of your American flag.