TITLE 4 - FLAG
SEAT OF GOVERNMENT,
AND THE STATES
CHAPTER 1 - THE FLAG
Sections in Chapter
Section 1 Flag;
stripes and stars on.
Section 2 Same;
Section 3 Use
of flag for advertising purposes; mutilation of flag.
Section 4 Pledge
of allegiance to the flag; manner of delivery.
Section 5 Display
and use of flag by civilians; codification of rules and customs;
Section 6 Time
and occasions for display.
Section 7 Position
and manner of display.
Section 8 Respect
Section 9 Conduct
during hoisting, lowering or passing of flag.
Section 10 Modification of
rules and customs by President.
Laws in effect as of January 2, 2001. Document
not affected by Public Laws enacted
Sec. 1. Flag; stripes
and stars on.
between January 2, 2001 and January 28, 2002.
The flag of the United States shall be thirteen horizontal
stripes, alternate red and white;
and the union of the flag shall be forty-eight stars, white in
a blue field.
Executive Order No. 10798
Ex. Ord. No. 10798, Jan. 3, 1959, 24 F.R. 79, which prescribed
proportions and sizes of
flags until July 4, 1960, was revoked by section 33 of Ex. Ord.
No. 10834, set out as a
note under this section.
Ex. Ord. No. 10834. Proportions and Sizes of Flags and
Position of Stars.
Ex. Ord. No. 10834, Aug. 21, 1959, 24 F.R. 6865, provided:
WHEREAS the State of Hawaii has this day been admitted into the
WHEREAS section 2 of title 4 of the United States Code provides
as follows: ``On the
admission of a new State into the Union one star shall be added
to the union of the flag; and such
addition shall take effect on the fourth day of July then next
succeeding such admission.''; and
WHEREAS the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act
of 1949 as amended
authorizes the President to prescribe policies and directives
governing the procurement and
utilization of property by executive agencies; and
WHEREAS the interests of the Government require that orderly
and reasonable provision
be made for various matters pertaining to the flag and that appropriate
the procurement and utilization of national flags and union jacks
by executive agencies be
NOW, THEREFORE, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President
of the United States
and as Commander in Chief of the armed forces of the United States,
and the Federal Property
and Administrative Services Act of 1949, as amended, it is hereby
ordered as follows:
Part I--Design of the Flag
Section 1. The flag of the United States shall have thirteen
horizontal stripes, alternate red and
white, and a union consisting of white stars on a field of blue.
Section 2. The positions of the stars in the union of the flag
and in the union jack shall be as
indicated on the attachment to this order, which is hereby made
a part of this order.
Section 3. The dimensions of the constituent parts of the flag
shall conform to the proportions set
forth in the attachment referred to in section 2 of this order.
Part II--Regulations Governing Executive
The following sizes of flags are authorized for executive agencies:
Dimensions of Flag
Size Hoist Fly (width)
(3)............................................. 8.95 17.00
(4)............................................. 7.00 11.00
(5)............................................. 5.00 9.50
(6)............................................. 4.33 5.50
(7)............................................. 3.50 6.65
(8)............................................. 3.00 4.00
(9)............................................. 3.00 5.70
Flags manufactured or purchased for the use of executive agencies:
(a) Shall conform to the provisions
of Part I of this order, except as may be otherwise authorized
pursuant to the provisions of section 24, or except as otherwise
authorized by the provisions of
section 21, of this order.
(b) Shall conform to the provisions
of section 21 of this order, except as may be otherwise
authorized pursuant to the provisions of section 24 of this order.
The exterior dimensions of each union jack manufactured
or purchased for executive agencies shall
equal the respective exterior dimensions of the union of a flag
of a size authorized by or pursuant to
this order. The size of the union jack flown with the national
flag shall be the same as the size of the
union of that national flag.
(a) The Secretary of Defense in
respect of procurement for the Department of Defense (including
military colors) and the Administrator of General Services in
respect of procurement for executive
agencies other than the Department of Defense may, for cause
which the Secretary or the
Administrator, as the case may be, deems sufficient, make necessary
minor adjustments in one or
more of the dimensions or proportionate dimensions prescribed
by this order, or authorize
proportions or sizes other than those prescribed by section 3
or section 21 of this order.
(b) So far as practicable,
(1) the actions of the Secretary of Defense
under the provisions of section 24(a) of this order, as
they relate to the various organizational elements of the Department
of Defense, shall be
(2) the Secretary and the Administrator
shall mutually coordinate their actions under that section.
Subject to such limited exceptions as the Secretary of Defense
in respect of the Department of
Defense, and the Administrator of General Services in respect
of executive agencies other than
Department of Defense, may approve, all national flags and union
jacks now in the possession of
executive agencies, or hereafter acquired by executive agencies
under contracts awarded prior to
the date of this order, including those so possessed or so acquired
by the General Services
Administration, for distribution to other agencies, shall be
utilized until unserviceable.
Part III--General Provisions
Section 2. Same;
The flag prescribed by Executive Order No. 10798 of January 3,
1959, shall be the official flag of
the United States until July 4, 1960, and on that date the flag
prescribed by Part I of this order
shall become the official flag of the United States; but this
section shall neither derogate from
section 24 or section 25 of this order nor preclude the procurement,
for executive agencies, of
flags provided for by or pursuant to this order at any time after
the date of this order.
As used in this order, the term ``executive agencies'' means
the executive departments and
independent establishments in the executive branch of the Government,
Government corporations. Section Executive Order No. 10798 of
January 3, 1959, is hereby
revoked. Dwight D. Eisenhower
On the admission of a new State into the Union one star
shall be added to the union of the flag;
Sec. 3. Use of
flag for advertising purposes; mutilation of flag.
and such addition shall take effect on the fourth day of July
then next succeeding such admission.
Any person who, within the District of Columbia, in any
manner, for exhibition or display, shall
place or cause to be placed any word, figure, mark, picture,
design, drawing, or any advertisement
of any nature upon any flag, standard, colors, or ensign of the
United States of America; or shall
expose or cause to be exposed to public view any such flag, standard,
colors, or ensign upon which
shall have been printed, painted, or otherwise placed, or to
which shall be attached, appended,
affixed, or annexed any word, figure, mark, picture, design,
or drawing, or any advertisement of
any nature; or who, within the District of Columbia, shall manufacture,
sell, expose for sale, or to
public view, or give away or have in possession for sale, or
to be given away or for use for any
purpose, any article or substance being an article of merchandise,
or a receptacle for merchandise
or article or thing for carrying or transporting merchandise,
upon which shall have been printed,
painted, attached, or otherwise placed a representation of any
such flag, standard, colors, or ensign,
to advertise, call attention to, decorate, mark, or distinguish
the article or substance on which so
placed shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished
by a fine not exceeding $100
or by imprisonment for not more than thirty days, or both, in
the discretion of the court. The words
"flag, standard, colors, or ensign'', as used herein, shall
include any flag, standard, colors, ensign,
or any picture or representation of either, or of any part or
parts of either, made of any substance
or represented on any substance, of any size evidently purporting
to be either of said flag, standard,
colors, or ensign of the United States of America or a picture
or a representation of either, upon
which shall be shown the colors, the stars and the stripes, in
any number of either thereof, or of any
part or parts of either, by which the average person seeing the
same without deliberation may
believe the same to represent the flag, colors, standard, or
ensign of the United States of America.
1968--Public Law 90-381 struck out "; or who, within
the District of Columbia, shall publicly
mutilate, deface, defile or defy, trample upon, or cast contempt,
either by word or act, upon any
such flag, standard, colors, or ensign,'' after ``substance on
which so placed''.
Sec. 4. Pledge
of allegiance to the flag; manner of delivery.
The Pledge of
Allegiance to the Flag
"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States
of America, and to the Republic for which it
Sec. 5. Display
and use of flag by civilians;
stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice
The pledge should be rendered by standing at attention facing
the flag with the right hand over the
heart. When not in uniform, men should remove their headdress
with their right hand and hold it at
the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in
uniform should remain silent, face the
flag, and render the military salute.
codification of rules and customs; definition.
The following codification of existing rules and customs
pertaining to the display and use of the flag
of the United States of America is established for the use of
such civilians or civilian groups or
organizations as may not be required to conform with regulations
promulgated by one or more
executive departments of the Government of the United States.
The flag of the United States for
the purpose of this chapter shall be defined according to sections
1 and 2 of this title and Executive
Order 10834 issued pursuant thereto.
Executive Order 10834, referred to in text, is set out
as a note under section 1 of this title.
Sec. 6. Time and
occasions for display.
(a) It is the universal custom to display the flag only
from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on
stationary flag staffs in the open. However, when a patriotic
effect is desired, the flag may be
displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours
(b) The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
(c) The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather
is inclement, except when an all
weather flag is displayed.
(d) The flag should be displayed on all days, especially
New Year's Day, January 1;
Inauguration Day, January 20;
Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, third Monday in January;
Lincoln's Birthday, February 12;
Washington's Birthday, third Monday in February;
Easter Sunday (variable);
Mother's Day, second Sunday in May;
Armed Forces Day, third Saturday in May;
Memorial Day (half-staff until noon), the last Monday in May;
Flag Day, June 14;
Independence Day, July 4;
Labor Day, first Monday in September;
Constitution Day, September 17;
Columbus Day, second Monday in October;
Navy Day, October 27;
Veterans Day, November 11;
Thanksgiving Day, fourth Thursday in November;
Christmas Day, December 25;
and such other days as may be proclaimed by the President of
the United States;
the birthdays of States (date of admission); and on State holidays.
(e) The flag should be displayed daily on or near the main
administration building of every public
(f) The flag should be displayed in or near every polling
place on election days.
(g) The flag should be displayed during school days in
or near every schoolhouse.
In subsection (d) above, the words "Veterans Day''
are substituted for "Armistice Day" because
Sec. 7. Position
and manner of display.
of the Act of June 1, 1954. Amendments 1999--Subsec. (d).
Pub. L. 106-80 inserted "Martin Luther
King Jr.'s birthday, third Monday in January;'' after "January
The flag, when carried in a procession with another flag
or flags, should be either on the marching
right; that is, the flag's own right, or, if there is a line
of other flags, in front of the center of that line.
(a) The flag should not be displayed
on a float in a parade except from a staff, or as provided in
subsection (i) of this section.
(b) The flag should not be draped
over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle or of a railroad
or a boat. When the flag is displayed on a motorcar, the staff
shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or
clamped to the right fender.
(c) No other flag or pennant should
be placed above or, if on the same level, to the right of the
of the United States of America, except during church services
conducted by naval chaplains at sea,
when the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church
services for the personnel of
the Navy. No person shall display the flag of the United Nations
or any other national or
international flag equal, above, or in a position of superior
prominence or honor to, or in place of,
the flag of the United States at any place within the United
States or any Territory or possession
thereof: Provided, That nothing in this section shall make unlawful
the continuance of the practice
heretofore followed of displaying the flag of the United Nations
in a position of superior prominence
or honor, and other national flags in positions of equal prominence
or honor, with that of the flag of
the United States at the headquarters of the United Nations.
(d) The flag of the United States
of America, when it is displayed with another flag against a
from crossed staffs, should be on the right, the flag's own right,
and its staff should be in front of the
staff of the other flag.
(e) The flag of the United States
of America should be at the center and at the highest point of
group when a number of flags of States or localities or pennants
of societies are grouped and
displayed from staffs.
(f) When flags of States, cities,
or localities, or pennants of societies are flown on the same
with the flag of the United States, the latter should always
be at the peak. When the flags are flown
from adjacent staffs, the flag of the United States should be
hoisted first and lowered last. No such
flag or pennant may be placed above the flag of the United States
or to the United States flag's
(g) When flags of two or more nations
are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the
same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size.
International usage forbids the display
of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time
(h) When the flag of the United
States is displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at
from the window sill, balcony, or front of a building, the union
of the flag should be placed at the peak
of the staff unless the flag is at half-staff. When the flag
is suspended over a sidewalk from a rope
extending from a house to a pole at the edge of the sidewalk,
the flag should be hoisted out, union
first, from the building.
(i) When displayed either horizontally
or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and
to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left. When
displayed in a window, the flag should be
displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the
left of the observer in the street.
(j) When the flag is displayed over
the middle of the street, it should be suspended vertically with
union to the north in an east and west street or to the east
in a north and south street.
(k) When used on a speaker's platform,
the flag, if displayed flat, should be displayed above and
behind the speaker. When displayed from a staff in a church or
public auditorium, the flag of the
United States of America should hold the position of superior
prominence, in advance of the audience,
and in the position of honor at the clergyman's or speaker's
right as he faces the audience. Any other
flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the clergyman
or speaker or to the right of the
(l) The flag should form a distinctive
feature of the ceremony of unveiling a statue or monument, but
it should never be used as the covering for the statue or monument.
(m) The flag, when flown at half-staff,
should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then
lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again
raised to the peak before it is lowered for
the day. On Memorial Day the flag should be displayed at half-staff
until noon only, then raised to
the top of the staff. By order of the President, the flag shall
be flown at half-staff upon the death of
principal figures of the United States Government and the Governor
of a State, territory, or
possession, as a mark of respect to their memory. In the event
of the death of other officials or
foreign dignitaries, the flag is to be displayed at half-staff
according to Presidential instructions or
orders, or in accordance with recognized customs or practices
not inconsistent with law. In the event
of the death of a present or former official of the government
of any State, territory, or possession
of the United States, the Governor of that State, territory,
or possession may proclaim that the
National flag shall be flown at half-staff. The flag shall be
flown at half-staff 30 days from the death of
the President or a former President; 10 days from the day of
death of the Vice President, the Chief
Justice or a retired Chief Justice of the United States, or the
Speaker of the House of
Representatives; from the day of death until interment of an
Associate Justice of the Supreme
Court, a Secretary of an executive or military department, a
former Vice President, or the Governor
of a State, territory, or possession; and on the day of death
and the following day for a Member of
Congress. The flag shall be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers
Memorial Day, unless that day is
also Armed Forces Day. As used in this subsection...
(1) the term ``half-staff'' means the
position of the flag when it is one-half the distance between
top and bottom of the staff;
(2) the term ``executive or military
department'' means any agency listed under sections 101 and
102 of title 5, United States Code; and
(3) the term ``Member of Congress'' means
a Senator, a Representative, a Delegate, or the
Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico.
(n) When the flag is used to cover a casket, it should
be so placed that the union is at the head and
over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the
grave or allowed to touch the ground.
(o) When the flag is suspended across
a corridor or lobby in a building with only one main entrance,
it should be suspended vertically with the union of the flag
to the observer's left upon entering. If the
building has more than one main entrance, the flag should be
suspended vertically near the center of
the corridor or lobby with the union to the north, when entrances
are to the east and west or to the
east when entrances are to the north and south. If there are
entrances in more than two directions,
the union should be to the east.
Display of Flag at Half-Staff Upon Death
of Certain Officials and Former Officials
Proc. No. 3044, Mar. 1, 1954, 19 F.R. 1235, as amended
by Proc. No. 3948, Dec. 12, 1969, 34 F.R.
Sec. 8. Respect
for the Flag
WHEREAS it is appropriate that the flag of the United States
of America be flown at half-staff on
Federal buildings, grounds, and facilities upon the death of
principal officials and former officials of
the Government of the United States and the Governors of the
States, Territories, and possessions
of the United States as a mark of respect to their memory; and
WHEREAS it is desirable that rules be prescribed for the uniform
observance of this mark of respect
by all executive departments and agencies of the Government,
and as a guide to the people of the
Nation generally on such occasions:
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, President of the United
States of America
and Commander in Chief of the armed forces of the United States,
do hereby prescribe and proclaim
the following rules with respect to the display of the flag of
the United States of America at half-staff
upon the death of the officials hereinafter designated:
1. The flag of the United States
shall be flown at half-staff on all buildings, grounds, and naval
of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout
the United States and its
Territories and possessions for the period indicated upon the
death of any of the following-designated
officials or former officials of the United States:
President or a former President: for thirty days from the day
of death. The flag shall also be
flown at half-staff for such period at all United States embassies,
legations, and other facilities abroad,
including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.
Vice President, the Chief Justice or a retired Chief Justice
of the United States, or the
Speaker of the House of Representatives: for ten days from the
day of death.
(c) An Associate
Justice of the Supreme Court, a member of the Cabinet, a former
the President pro tempore of the Senate, the Majority Leader
of the Senate, the Minority Leader of
the Senate, the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives,
or the Minority Leader of the
House of Representatives: from the day of death until interment.
2. The flag of the United States
shall be flown at half-staff on all buildings, grounds, and naval
of the Federal Government in the metropolitan area of the District
of Columbia on the day of death
and on the following day upon the death of a United States Senator,
Delegate, or the Resident Commissioner from the Commonwealth
of Puerto Rico, and it shall also be
flown at half-staff on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels
of the Federal Government in the State,
Congressional District, Territory, or Commonwealth of such Senator,
Representative, Delegate, or
Commissioner, respectively, from the day of death until interment.
3. The flag of the United States
shall be flown at half-staff on all buildings and grounds of
Government in a State, Territory, or possession of the United
States upon the death of the Governor
of such State, Territory, or possession from the day of death
4. In the event of the death of
other officials, former officials, or foreign dignitaries, the
flag of the
United States shall be displayed at half-staff in accordance
with such orders or instructions as may be
issued by or at the direction of the President, or in accordance
with recognized customs or practices
not inconsistent with law.
5. The heads of the several departments
and agencies of the Government may direct that the flag of
the United States be flown at half-staff on buildings, grounds,
or naval vessels under their jurisdiction
on occasions other than those specified herein which they consider
proper, and that suitable military
honors be rendered as appropriate.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the
Seal of the United States of
America to be affixed.
DONE at the City of Washington this 1st day of March in the year
of our Lord nineteen hundred and
fifty-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America
the one hundred and seventy
eighth. [seal] Dwight D. Eisenhower.
No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United
States of America; the flag should not be
Sec. 9. Conduct
during hoisting, lowering or passing of flag.
dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags,
and organization or institutional flags
are to be dipped as a mark of honor.
(a) The flag should never be displayed
with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in
instances of extreme danger to life or property.
(b) The flag should never touch
anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or
(c) The flag should never be carried
flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
(d) The flag should never be used
as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be
festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to
fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and
red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle,
and the red below, should be used
for covering a speaker's desk, draping the front of the platform,
and for decoration in general.
(e) The flag should never be fastened,
displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to
be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
(f) The flag should never be used
as a covering for a ceiling.
(g) The flag should never have placed
upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark,
insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of
(h) The flag should never be used
as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering
(i) The flag should never be used
for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should
be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs
and the like, printed or otherwise
impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed
for temporary use and discard.
Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard
from which the flag is flown.
(j) No part of the flag should ever
be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch
may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen,
policemen, and members of patriotic
organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself
considered a living thing. Therefore,
the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left
lapel near the heart.
(k) The flag, when it is in such
condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display,
destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.
During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or
when the flag is passing in a parade or in
Sec. 10. Modification
of rules and customs by the President.
review, all persons present except those in uniform should face
the flag and stand at attention with the
right hand over the heart. Those present in uniform should render
the military salute. When not in
uniform, men should remove their headdress with their right hand
and hold it at the left shoulder, the
hand being over the heart. Aliens should stand at attention.
The salute to the flag in a moving column
should be rendered at the moment the flag passes.
Any rule or custom pertaining to the display of the flag
of the United States of America, set forth
herein, may be altered, modified, or repealed, or additional
rules with respect thereto may be
prescribed, by the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of
the United States, whenever he
deems it to be appropriate or desirable; and any such alteration
or additional rule shall be set
forth in a proclamation.
The Flag of the United States.
Proclamation No. 2605, Feb. 18, 1944, 9 F.R. 1957, 58 Stat.
The flag of the United States of America is universally representative
of the principles of the justice,
liberty, and democracy enjoyed by the people of the United States;
and People all over the world
recognize the flag of the United States as symbolic of the United
The effective prosecution of the war requires a proper understanding
by the people of other countries
of the material assistance being given by the Government of the
NOW, THEREFORE, by virtue of the power vested in me by the Constitution
and laws of the United
States, particularly by the Joint Resolution approved June 22,
1942, as amended by the Joint
Resolution approved December 22, 1942 [now sections 4 to 10 of
this title], as President and
Commander in Chief, it is hereby proclaimed as follows:
1. The use of the flag of the United
States or any representation thereof, if approved by the Foreign
Economic Administration, on labels, packages, cartons, cases,
or other containers for articles or
products of the United States intended for export as lend-lease
aid, as relief and rehabilitation aid, or
as emergency supplies for the Territories and possessions of
the United States, or similar purposes,
shall be considered a proper use of the flag of the United States
and consistent with the honor and
respect due to the flag.
2. If any article or product so
labeled, packaged or otherwise bearing the flag of the United
any representation thereof, as provided for in section 1, should,
by force of circumstances, be diverted
to the ordinary channels of domestic trade, no person shall be
considered as violating the rules and
customs pertaining to the display of the flag of the United States,
as set forth in the Joint Resolution
approved June 22, 1942, as amended by the Joint Resolution approved
December 22, 1942 (U.S.C.,
Supp. II, title 36, secs. 171-178) [now sections 4 to 10 of this
title] for possessing, transporting,
displaying, selling or otherwise transferring any such article
or product solely because the label,
package, carton, case, or other container bears the flag of the
United States or any representation