How To | Holiday

Fly It Proudly: Avoid These 10 Common U.S. Flag Mistakes

There's no better feeling than waking up early in the morning and raising the stars and stripes over your own backyard. Our flag is a symbol of liberty, freedom, and the other values that make our country the best in the world.

And that's why it's a symbol that deserves our respect. If you plan on raising one in your yard, or decorating your home with a flag, it's important to do it the right way.

The United States Flag Code (which you can read in full here) lays down the important rules that you should always follow when decorating. This year, make sure you do things the right way and follow the rules:

1. Don't display a flag in front of our own

When you cross a pair of US flags, keep the one pointing to the left (from the viewer's perspective) in front of the flag pointing right.

2. Always keep the blue field on the left

It's perfectly fine to hang a flag, either vertically or horizontally. But if you do, keep the flag flat, and make sure to keep the blue field on the viewer's left side.

3. Don't hang a flag in the dark

This is easy to overlook, but if you leave a flag out at night it should always be lit up. If you can't do that, just make sure you take the flag down when it gets dark.

4. Avoid these at all costs:

Always avoid wearing a flag like an outfit or cape (you don't want to be that guy), putting a number, mark or drawing on a flag, letting it touch the ground, or displaying a dirty or ripped up flag.

5. Learn how to raise a flag

You should raise a flag briskly, but lower it slowly when you take it down. Always fly it at the peak of the staff, except on Memorial Day when you should leave it at half-staff until noon.

Remember: when you raise a flag at half-staff, raise it to the peak then lower it slowly.

Click the next page for 5 more important tips!

6. Don't hang a "droopy" flag

You can display a flag from a window or a wall on a angled staff, as long as you remember to put the flag at the peak of that staff.

7. Don't put other flags before ours

Always display the US flag to the left of other flags (from the viewer's perspective) and don't display another country's flag on the same staff.

8. Don't use window flags or other displays on your car

The only place on a car you should attach a flag is the front, right fender. Sorry, window flags are a no-no.

9. Don't display a dirty flag

You can keep a flag looking bright by washing it in cold water with gentle detergent - if it's new. Older, fabric flags should be washed by hand with Woolite.

If you flag is still old and dirty, it's time to retire it.

10. Fold your flag when you're done

Share this list so everyone will know how to raise a flag!