Texas Living

Four Tips for Waving Stars and Stripes Forever

By Valirie Morgan 6.13.16

From purple mountain majesties to fruited plains, our patriotism runs deep all year long. Texans love to let the stars and stripes wave freely. Liberty and freedom; loud and proud.

June 14 is Flag Day, and the perfect time for a few tips on making your display a respectful one. Follow these guidelines for a star-spangled showcase of the American flag that would make Betsy Ross proud.

Hanging in There

Whether you choose to fly it from a pole or hang it up, the union (also known as the stars) should always be on top (an upside-down flag is a universal sign of distress). And if it’s being displayed next to another flag, Old Glory goes on the left (from the viewer’s perspective) — at the same height as the other flag, but never lower.

Leave It Up or Take It Down?

It’s customary to raise and lower the flag at sunrise and sundown, but U.S. Flag Code says you can leave it up all the time as long as it’s illuminated and in good condition (meaning you should probably take it down during instances of severe weather — unless it’s an all-weather flag).

Retirement Plans

If your flag becomes ripped, worn, or dirty to the point that you can’t clean it, take it down and retire it. This involves disposal “in a dignified way, preferably by burning,” according to U.S. Flag Code. Some local groups such as Boy Scout troops and the American Legion will take your older flags for ceremonial retirement.

Know Your Myths

A common legend is that if a flag drags or touches the floor, it has to be retired. This isn’t true, but the stars and stripes are not meant to fall or hang on anything while being displayed. And while proper American flag handling is written into code, there isn’t any punishment for breaking these rules. However, not following them can be viewed as disrespectful to the kind of honor Old Glory deserves.

Bring out the red, white, and blue this Flag Day and share your photos with us on Instagram using #THFLWantsToSee!