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Flag & Poles FAQ

Flag Care

How Do I care for my flag?

  • If you see the ends fraying, you can trim and re-hem the flag, which will help it last longer.
  • If it is an extremely windy day, or heavy rain or snow, take the flag in. Take down flags when wind exceeds 20 mph.
  • Don't drive at any speed over parade speed with your flag attached to your automobile.
  • Make sure you do not store a wet flag. Let it dry before folding and storing.
  • Take extra precautions during the winter, learn more from our article on winter preparedness.

how do i fold my flag?

how long will my flag last?

It depends on the weather and how the flag is cared for, but at minimum, it is expected to last 90 days. Well-taken care of flags can last longer though. Our Lock-Stitched American Flags are known to last longer than the industry average, sometimes exceeding one year. Polyester flags will last longer than nylon flags, but without enough wind they won't fly as spectacularly.

are there any requirements for flying the flag at night?

The flag must be illuminated if it is being flown after sunset or before sunrise. Check out our Solar Micro Light if you need to illuminate your flag.

how is the flag disposed of when it is worn out?

The star field is cut out from the flag and then the two pieces are burned together. Local VFWs, American Legions, Girl Scout Troops, and Boy Scout troops usually have flag retirement ceremonies, just make sure to check with the one in your area. If you would like to save yourself a trip, we offer a free flag disposal service.

Pole vs. Flag Size

How Do I determine what size flag would fit my pole?

Outdoor Pole Height Outdoor Flag Size*
6' Free Spin Pole 2' x 3' or 3’ x 5’
 20’ 3’ x 5’ or 4' x 6'
25’ 4’ x 6’ or 5' x 8'
30’ 5’ x 8’ or 6' x 10'
35’ 6’ x 10’
40’ 8’ x 12’
45’ 8’ x 12’
50’ 10’ x 15’
60’ 12’ x 18’
70’ 15’ x 25’
80’ 20’ x 30’
90’ 20’ x 38’
100’ 30’ x 50’
110’ 30’ x 50’
120’ 30’ x 50’
130’ 30’ x 50’

 

Indoor Pole Height Indoor Flag Size
7’ 3’ x 5’
8’ 3’ x 5’
9’ 4’ x 6’
12’ 5’ x 8’

 

*As a rule of thumb, when flying one flag on a pole, the flag length should be a quarter the height of the flagpole. These are recommended sizes without any obstruction to flagpoles. If you have trees, gutters, light poles, fences, or any other object that might block the sight line to your flag, please use your best judgment to the size that would best fit your pole. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us by email or phone 800-858-8776.

how long should the flag be at half-staff?

Usually the flags should be at half-staff from sunrise to sunset, but on Memorial Day it is sunrise to noon.

What is the proper way to raise and lower the flag to half-staff positioning?

When raising and lowering the flag, bring it to the top of the pole for just a moment before bringing it into position or taking it in for the night.

what if i cant fly my flag at half-staff?

You can buy a mourning bow or mourning streamer for the top of your pole and that will represent half-staff.

When do I salute the flag?

The flag is saluted if:

  • It is passing in a parade
  • It is being hoisted or lowered
  • The National Anthem is playing
  • The Pledge of Allegiance is being said

What are the important flag flying holidays?

Flag Flying Holiday Date
New Year's Day January 1st
Martin Luther King's Birthday 3rd Monday in January
Inauguration Day January 20th (every 4 years)
Lincoln's Birthday February 12th
Presidents Day 3rd Monday in February
Washington's Birthday February 22nd
Army Day April 6th
Easter Sunday Varies
VE Day May 8th
Mother's Day 2nd Sunday in May
Peace Officers Day (Half-Staff All Day) May 15th
Armed Forces Day 3rd Sunday in May
Memorial Day (Half-Staff Until Noon) Last Monday in May
D-Day June 6th
Flag Day June 14th
Father's Day 3rd Sunday in June
Independence Day July 4th
Purple Heart Day August 7th
Labor Day 1st Monday in September
VJ Day September 2nd
Patriot Day (Half-Staff All Day) September 11th
Constitution Day September 17th
National POW/MIA Recognition Day September 19th
Columbus Day 2nd Monday in October
National Fallen Firefighter Memorial Day (Half-Staff All Day) October 7th
Navy Day October 27th
Presidential Election Day 1st Tuesday following 1st Monday in November
Marine Corps Day November 10th
Veterans Day November 11th
Thanksgiving Day 4th Thursday in November
Pearl Harbor Day (Half-Staff All Day) December 7th
Christmas Day December 25th

Why is the flag header stamped?

According to the Flag Manufacturers Association of America, the header is not a part of the actual flag. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission mandates any flag 12" x 18" and larger have some sort of attachment to the header listing the origin of manufacturing. It is part of the business principles and practices for the flag industry to label flags to make re-ordering an easier process for customers. Disclosure of stamps are not listed on the websites of any National Independent Flag Dealer Association member, for a complaint arises once in a blue moon. Any customer choosing to forgo branded stamps on their flag's header may request so.

Can i use the American flag as decoration?

Avoid using the American flag for decorative purposes. The American flag is not considered a decoration when displaying it respectfully on a flagpole. If you are looking for American flag decorations, we offer bunting, pleated fans, and pull downs as an alternative.

Can I Use The American Flag As Clothing, such as Part Of A Costume Or Uniform?

No, the flag code specifies that the American flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs. It should not be printed or otherwise impressed on anything that is designed for temporary use. The flag should never be used as a costume or athletic uniform. A flag patch may only be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations.

How Do I Properly Salute The Flag?

People in uniform, members of the armed services, and veterans should do the military salute. Non-military and non-uniformed persons should remove any head-wear and hold their right hand over their heart while facing the flag.

Am I Allowed To Write On A Patriotic Slogan Or Attach An Image To The Flag?

No, you should never mark the flag in any way. This includes writing words on the flag, drawing numbers or symbols, or attaching any kind of image to the flag. You are allowed to mark on the header of flag, seeing as it is not considered part of the flag, itself.

Flag Placement

how should the american flag be displayed with other flags?

The America flag should always be to the left in the eye of the viewer.

When flying a flag underneath the American flag, on the same pole, it should be at least one size smaller.

If flying next to state and company flags, the American should be the left.

When you are flying the American flag with other nations, the American flag should be first. The nations following should be in alphabetical order.

If you are putting the American flag between other flags, it must be in the middle or the highest point.

If you are crossing poles, the American flag should be on the right (the flag's own right), and its pole should be in front of the pole of the other flag.

what is the proper order of display for armed forces flags?

Viewing them from an observer point-of-view, left to right, they should fly Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and POW/MIA.

Respecting The Flag

Using An American Flag For Memorial & Funeral Services

What Is The Meaning Of Each Fold During A Flag Folding Ceremony?

The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.

The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.

The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks, and who gave a portion of his or her life for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.

The fourth fold represents our weaker nature; as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace, as well as in times of war, for His divine guidance.

The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, “Our country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right, but it is still our country, right or wrong.”

The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

The seventh fold is a tribute to our armed forces, for it is through the armed forces that we protect our country and our flag against all enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.

The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor our mother, for whom it flies on Mother’s Day.

The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood, for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great have been molded.

The 10th fold is a tribute to father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since he or she was first born.

The 11th fold, in the eyes of Hebrew citizens, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The 12th fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost.

When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, “In God We Trust.”

After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it has the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under Gen. George Washington and the sailors and Marines who served under Capt. John Paul Jones and were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the U.S. Armed Forces, preserving for us the rights, privileges and freedoms we enjoy today.

Can You Fly A Flag That Was A Casket Cover?

Yes.

Flag Terms

Garrison Flag

20 ft by 38 ft American Flag

Post Flag

8 ft 11.75 in x 17 ft American flag

Storm Flag

5 ft by 9 ft 6 in American flag

Hoist End

The side of the flag that has either a header or sleeve. This is the side that is raised or hoisted up a flag pole.

Fly End

The side of the flag that is opposite of the hoist end. This side flaps end the wind and gets frayed after time.

Header

A strip of canvas or canvas like material on hoist end of a flag. Flags with a header can be used indoors or outdoors. If you would like to fly a flag with a different configuration, just ask us and we can customize the location of the header.

Pole Sleeve

Primarily for use with indoor flagpoles, the hoist end of the flag is folded over, and sewn to itself, to create a sleeve. If you would like to customize the sleeve configuration, just contact us for a quote.

Grommets

Brass rings, usually in the header, used to secure the flag to the flagpole accessories required to mount the flag to the pole.

G-Spec

A type of flag compliant with government specifications as required in the U.S. Flag Code, Title 4. These flags have a ratio of 1:0 and are most often flown on military bases and other government properties.

Flagpole Terms

Ornament

A flagpole ornament sits atop the pole and is mainly decorative. They can be made using different types of metal and usually either a ball or eagle.

Truck

The truck is the part of the in-ground flagpole that covers the top, holds the ornament in place, and includes the pulley to which the halyard is attached.

Halyard

A flagpole halyard is a rope or a stainless steel cable that provides the ability to fasten a flag on the outside of the pole. The halyard also allows the flag to move up and down the flagpole.

External Halyard Flagpole

This type of flagpole features a rope that goes from the truck at the top of the flagpole to the cleat where it is secured. External halyard ropes are made of diamond-braided polyester. This pole also has an exposed pulley.

Internal Halyard Flagpole

This type of flagpole has a hidden halyard inside. This internal halyard is made of wired polyester rope or stainless steel. While internal halyard flagpoles are more expensive, they offer a cleaner look and added security. The halyard is only accessible through a door, locked with a key or winch.

Telescoping Flagpole

The fact that these poles can quickly be shortening in case of inclement weather make them an economical option for high-wind areas.

Sectional Flagpole

This type of flagpole is an affordable alternative to external halyard flagpoles because most of them ship for free. They are not recommended for high-wind areas, but can be disassembled to prevent damage to flagpole and surrounding area.

Nautical Flagpole

A flagpole that is equipped with yardarms and/or a gaff. Freight charges apply to this kind of flagpole.

Gaff

A rig, used on nautical flagpoles, that extends from of the flagpole and rises at an angle. The extension gives the option to have additional flag arrangements and flags. The gaff represents the mast of a ship.

Yardarm

A horizontally mounted, tapered pole that is attached to a vertical flagpole, creating a lower case “t” or a cross. These are usually found in nautical applications, but can be used anywhere.

Snaps

These are hooks that attach the halyard to the grommets of the flag. Snaps can be made of nylon or zinc. Nylon snaps are used with sectional flagpoles. Zinc snaps come with vinyl covers, preventing that obnoxious clinking sound.

Cleat

This is a hook-type fastener on the side of a flagpole typically used on external halyard flagpoles. Cleats can be attached directly to a flagpole, a wall, or another sturdy place. The halyard is tied around the cleat to keep the flag at the desired height. Internal flagpoles have cam cleats, named after the rotating or sliding piece in a mechanical linkage used for them to function.

Wall Thickness

This refers to the thickness of the tubing used to construct the flagpole. It can be simplified to the amount of aluminum used in the flagpole’s construction and is determined according to height and wind requirements.

Butt Diameter

The butt diameter is the width of the bottom of the flag pole. This measurement helps you decide if you should buy a flash collar or a shoe base.

Flash Collar

This is a decorative ring that goes on the ground, separating the exposed and unexposed sections of the pole. A sealant keeps the flash collar in place and water away from the base of the flagpole.

Shoe Base

A shoe base is an alternative support option to a flash collar that usually includes a set of anchoring bolts fastened to a slab of concrete. The shoe base also uses a welded casting situated over the anchoring bolts. The welded base casting is held in place with nuts, lock washers, and flat washers.

Ground Sleeve

A tube made of PVC or steel that rests underground and is used to stabilize an in-ground flagpole. The ground sleeve also keeps the area around the base of the flagpole protected from the elements. Steel ground sleeves, with lightning spikes, are most common. The lightning spike acts to distribute any electrical charges into the ground, protecting the pole and the people around it. The product description for each flagpole tells you which ground sleeve is included.