Flag Etiquette

Flag etiquette and flags have been a symbol of human cultural and political identity since ancient times. Flags have been used to lead legions to victory and to claim ownership of territories and regions. Flags have also been used to represent the authority, history, and identity of peoples throughout history.

Flags have always played an important emotional and patriotic role in general, but also a practical role as in maritime signaling and identification on the high seas.

A flag is a piece of cloth with its own exclusive and unique design and colors of your nation or your state/province. Flags remind us not just of the nation that we are part of, but of the various nations that together make up the human family.


Flag Etiquette relating to the order of Precedence:

1. National(Official/State) flag of the country

2. State/Province flag of the country

3. Military flag of the country

4. Other flags of the country


Terminology & Flag Etiquette:

1. Hoist - the act of raising the flag, as on a rope by the flag's grommets.

2. Half Staff/Mast – the flag is hoisted to half of the height of the flag pole to represent mourning. The flag is first raised to the top, then lowered.

3. Distress - denoted by flying the flag upside-down. Some flags (UK, Puerto Rico, etc.) have a symmetrical design and may be difficult to distinguish distress.

4. Manner of Hoisting - flags should be hoisted quickly and lowered slowly.

5. Disrespect - no disrespect should ever be shown to the flag of any country. Certain defacement is considered disrespect.

6. Storage & Care - the flag should never be displayed, used, or stored in such a way as to allow the flag to be easily ripped, soiled, or damaged.

7. Order of Precedence - your country’s flag should be hoisted first and lowered last, if the event is in your country or at one of your country's overseas facilities.

8. Display Placement - international flag usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace.


For more information on Flag Etiquette, please visit the following resource.