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Honoring Half-Staff Proclamations at your Business on Holidays and Weekends


As we already know, flags flown at half-staff indicate a time of mourning. Presidents can declare national days of mourning, while governors can announce local state observances. Whether at a state or national level, government buildings, grounds, and navy vessels are instructed to lower their flags in honor of the occasion. Although it is not required, many commercial and private facilities will partake in these observances and lower their flags to half-staff in a show of support for their country or state.

Seems pretty straightforward, right? Well, sometimes, it’s not always easy for a business to partake in a half-staff observance. Sometimes a proclamation will occur over the weekend or on holidays when a company is closed. What should you do when you want to show unity with your country or state, but the half-staff alert is happening outside of business hours? Don’t worry; we are here to guide you.

1. Is the half-staff occasion especially meaningful to you or your organization?

While all half-staff occasions are significant, leaving your flag up all weekend or for multiple days can confuse onlookers. So, before deciding what to do, the critical question is whether it will be more impactful if you leave it up at half-staff extra long or do not observe the proclamation at all.

2.Is your flag properly illuminated for night flying?

Before you even consider moving on to the next step, you must ensure that your flag is adequately illuminated for night flying. While the US Flag Code doesn’t say anything about keeping your flag lowered longer than necessary, it does say something about flying it at night in the dark. Make sure you use a solar light or some other form of illuminating light to ensure you’re American flag is recognizable by an onlooker.

3. The 3-Day Rule

If you answered yes to the first two questions, the next step is easy: follow the three-day rule. Since the US Flag Code does not indicate what to do in this scenario, this has always been our policy.

How does the 3-day rule work? It’s simple. Lower your flag to half-staff on Friday evening and raise it back to full-staff on Monday - leaving your flag at half-staff for three days. The same applies to federal holidays. Lower your flag to half-staff the day before, then raise it back the morning after the holiday.

At the end of the day, you have no obligation as a civilian to fly your flag at half-staff. While the thought is nice, you shouldn’t beat yourself up if you missed an alert because you left work already. And remember, if you feel passionate about showing your support, you can always observe the half-staff proclamation at home with a mourning bow or ribbon.

Nov 02, 2022 Alexis C.

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