How to Carry a Flag during a Parade

Image of military members carrying flags during a parade.

As you know, the U.S. flag can be displayed in a number of ways. There is also different flag etiquette depending on the specific occasion. There is general display, half-staff, and even parade etiquette on how to display the U.S. flag.

Here are a few guidelines to follow when marching with a U.S. flag during a parade.

  • The flag should be held to the marcher’s right side during a parade (observers left).
  • If there is a line of flags, the U.S. flag should appear in front of the center of the line.
  • If the U.S. flag is grouped together with other flags, it should appear furthest to the right side (observers left).
  • All nearby military members (in uniform or not in uniform) should perform the military salute to the flag.
    • All other people should give the flag their undivided attention by removing their hats and placing their right hand over their heart – similar to National Anthem etiquette.

There are also rules for displaying a flag on a vehicle or float during a parade.

  • The flag should not be displayed on a float except when hung from a staff.
  • The flag should not be draped over the top, hood, sides, or back of a vehicle or boat. When the flag is displayed on a vehicle, the staff should be attached to the frame or clamped to the right fender.

Keep in mind that there are also parade podium flag sets that are used to properly display a flag when the parade is finished.

Why do the American people treat their flag with so much respect? The U.S. flag is a symbol of our country’s patriotism and a reminder of the men and women who fought and died to protect our country.

Next time you watch a parade, take note of the signs of respect shown to the U.S. flag. Here are some of the largest and most well known parades in the United States – with dates for 2014.

  • Patrick’s Day Parade – Tuesday, March 17
  • Thanksgiving Day Parade – Thursday, November 27
  • Christmas Parade – Thursday, December 25
  • Tournament of Roses Parade – Thursday, January 1

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2 Replies to “How to Carry a Flag during a Parade

    1. This would be the order as we understand it:
      1. American flag
      2. POW/MIA flag
      3. State flags
      4. US territories (Washington DC, Puerto Rico, etc.)
      5. Military (in order of establishment: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard)
      6. Other

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