Memorial Day Half-Staff Etiquette for Flying Flags

Memorial Day Half-staff Etiquette for Properly Honoring Our Nation’s Heroes.

Half-Staff Etiquette

While Memorial Day has largely become the “kickoff” to summer with outdoor celebrations and barbecues please take a moment to remember the men and women who died serving in the United States Armed Forces, the reason we celebrate Memorial Day each year. Also, as you prepare for the day’s festivities, keep in mind the proper protocol for flying a flag this (and all subsequent) Memorial Days to properly honor our nation’s heroes.

According to United States Code Title 4 Chapter 1, Section 7, “the flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day.

On Memorial Day the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon only, and then raised to the top of the staff.” An easy way to remember when to fly a flag at half-staff is think of when the entire nation is mourning or remembrance. A Presidential proclamation can also order the lowering of the American flag to half-staff at any given day when a military, political, or important public figure passes away.

Half-staff etiquette for memorial day

Proper flag etiquette also requires you to ensure the flag you are flying is in pristine condition. There should be no holes or tears, the flag should not be tattered, and the color should be vibrant – not faded. If the flag you plan to fly is not in good condition, properly dispose of the American Flag – preferably by burning the flag – and obtain a new one to properly display.

Now that you have your American flag flying properly, how are you going to celebrate the holiday? You could attend a parade, visit the grave of a loved one, or make some patriotic food and play flag-inspired games! Find a whole list of Memorial Day activities here.


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13 Replies to “Memorial Day Half-Staff Etiquette for Flying Flags

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  2. Is there a proper etiquette on placing the flag at Half-Staff if it is always flown at our Elks Lodge and illuminated. We want to place it at half staff for 9/11 and want to make sure it’s done properly.

  3. Know about half-staff on Memorial Day until noon, then up to full staff. I was just looking for the establishment of this rule. What is the reason for only “Half of Day”

  4. Wondering how someone complies with Memorial Day “half-staff until noon” flag etiquette if there is no possible way for the flag to fly at half-staff? In this situation, would you display the flag the entire day, or display the flag at noon (for the remainder of the day)? Apologies if this question has already been asked/answered via an older post. Thanks!

    1. Place a black ribbon on the top of the pole just below the ornament end or the ball at the tip of the flag pole. I hope this helps.

  5. It is my understanding that in lieu of flying the flag at 1/2 staff if it cannot be lowered (as with a house mounted flag pole) then a bereavement banner the same width as the flag stripes and of black material, can be attached to the top of the flagpole…

  6. While I dont have a hard wired light to fly flag at night, I do have a solar light for this purpose, is there any guidance on the amount of light on to the flag to fly at night?

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