Hanging flags is a great way to display patriotism and garner attention from passing pedestrians and drivers. However, there are certain protocols that need to be followed, especially if you are mixing national, state, and personal emblems. Use the following tips to help you avoid any unfortunate mistakes.


Display the right sizes.

When displaying the colors for the country, state, and business simultaneously, the national emblem should be the largest if possible. This is because no other flag should overshadow the American flag. There are no size requirements when comparing another flag to a state flag. However, both should be smaller or relative in size to the American one.  If you fly other flags the same size as the U.S. Flag, make sure they are flown lower, if on the same staff, or lower and/or to the observer’s right on a separate staff.

Display them in the correct order.

If you are displaying U.S., state, and business or other flags on the same staff, the U.S. flag must be on top. The state flag goes directly below it, and the company’s emblem or other flag, such as a POW/MIA, goes below that.

FlagsWhen displaying all three on separate staffs, if the U.S. Flag is centered between the others, it must be flown higher. If they’re being flown at the same height on different staffs, the American flag should be displayed to the observer’s left. The state flag will be in the center, followed by any other flag(s).

The one exception to the U.S. Flag holding prominence is at the United Nations, where the U.N. Flag takes the lead.


Fly the US flag overnight without lighting, or in bad weather.

It’s customary to only fly the American flag from sunrise to sunset, so you should always take it down at night and raise it in the morning. However, there are exceptions to this rule. It must be respectfully illuminated if left up throughout the night.

If at all possible, don’t leave flags out during inclement weather to prevent damage. “All weather” flags still can be damaged by severe weather. These same rules apply to most state flags.

Display a damaged flag.

Out of respect, only flags that are in good condition should be displayed. Fading, tears, tattered edges, or frays constitute poor condition. If your flag shows any signs of wear and tear, have it mended if it can be done while keeping within standard size guidelines. If the damage is so severe that it can’t be fixed properly, you need to retire it and replace it.

Find the perfect flag to fly on your home, business, boat, or car at Harbortown Flag, Inc. For almost 27 years, this Vermilion, OH, business has been providing local individuals, businesses, schools, and governments with a variety of flags designed from various materials. They also can educate you on the proper etiquette so you can avoid making mistakes while proudly displaying your ideals. Learn more online, or call (440) 967-FLAG (3524) to speak to a representative.