basic rules of etiquette concerning the American flag -- was enacted by the Congress on Dec. 22, 1942.
Among the do's and don'ts concerning care and display of the American flag:
* Never show disrespect for the flag.
* The American flag can be flown every day, weather permitting. It should not, however, be exposed to weather capable of damaging it or the pole on which it is displayed.
* It should be displayed only from sunrise to sunset, unless properly illuminated during hours of darkness.
* The flag should be unfurled, then hoisted briskly. It should be lowered slowly and with dignity.
* It never should be allowed to touch anything below it -- ground, floor, water -- or allowed to brush against objects.
* Objects never should be carried in or placed on the flag.
* The American flag always should be flown above any other flag flown on the same halyard or line. When flown with flags on adjoining masts or poles, the American flag should be raised and lowered first.
* When flown at half-mast, the flag first should be raised to the top of the pole briefly, then lowered to the half-mast position. It should be raised to the peak of the mast again at the time of lowering. (Flying flags at half-mast was a sign of mourning as early as 1627.)
* The flag never should be dipped to any person, thing or country.
* The flag should be flown upside down only as a signal of dire emergency, to indicate extreme danger to person(s) or property.
* The U.S. flag never should be used as part of a costume or sports uniform.
* When draped over a casket, the flag should be placed with the union (blue field and white stars) at the head and over the left shoulder. It should not be lowered into the grave.
* The flag never should be sewn or embroidered on pillows, handkerchiefs or used to repair worn clothing.
* Federal law prohibits registration of any trademark including "the flag, coat-of-arms or other insignia of the United States, or any simulation thereof."
* International tradition dictates that the flag of one nation never should be flown above the flag of another nation in time of peace.
* When displayed flat, horizontally or vertically, the flag is hung with the union uppermost and to the spectators' left.
* When carried with other flags, as in a parade, the American flag is carried on the marchers' right or, where there is a line of flags, the American flag should be carried in front of and centered on the others. When the flag is being hoisted or lowered, or when it passes by in a parade, spectators should stand at attention and salute: people in uniform with a military salute; civilians with right hands over their heart; people with hats, with hat held in the right hand and placed over the heart.
Folding the flag properly is an equally important part of etiquette. It requires two people:
1. One person holds each end.
2. Fold the flag in half lengthwise, then in half lengthwise again, keeping the blue field and stars on the outside.
3. From the fly (nonfield) end, fold the corner over to the opposite edge, forming a triangle.
4. Form repeated triangles until the entire flag is folded (tucking the small remainder in to the final fold.)