It’s a flag and symbol instantly known around the world; here at home it’s known by names such
as The Star Spangled Banner, The Stars and Stripes, Old Glory, and Red, White and Blue. The
flag of the United States of America has for centuries been a symbol and rallying point for
The American national flag has an exact set of specifications as to how it is used, how and when
it is displayed, how it is folded when not in use, even how it is honorably destroyed when soiled
When amongst other, lesser flags, the flag is always displayed in the position of honor, either at
the top of a flagpole above other flags such as a state flag, in the most prominent position on
other displays, or, when hung alone vertically, so the field of stars is always in the upper left hand
The design concept of the modern flag was first adopted June 14, 1777, but at the time with a
field of 13 stars only, representing the original 13 colonies/states. Through the years, as each
state has been added to the nation, so has an additional star been added to the flag, with the flag
being officially modified 26 times since 1777. Enduring unchanged has been the 13 red and
white horizontal stripes, each representing one colony/state.
The flag has remained unchanged since July 4, 1960 when the 50th star was added representing
Hawaii. The current 50 star flag has been in service the longest period of time, followed by the
48 star flag which saw service during World War II, and was used for 47 years.
American flags come in all sizes, from tiny hand-held sizes to gigantic and majestic fortress
Flags are flown at half-staff to denote the mourning of prominent Americans.
When the flag is flown upside down, it indicates danger and is a call for immediate help.
There are a number of specific times the flag should be displayed, including New Year’s Day,
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, presidential inauguration day, Lincoln’s birthday,
Presidents’ Day, Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day (half-staff until noon), Flag Day,
Independence Day, labor Day, Constitution Day, Columbus Day, Navy Day, Veterans Day,
Thanksgiving Day, and other times as designated by the president.
Proper flag etiquette dictates the flag should never be used for commercial purposes or as part of