How to Honor the Fallen With Your Flag



Victory does not come without sacrifice. Over the nearly two and a half centuries the United States has existed, millions of men and women and have fought for the right to a prosperous and free nation. Even though the stories of America’s victories are still told to this day, the pages are held together by the lives of those who can no longer speak. Honoring the fallen service members who risked their souls for this country is not an easy feat. It can’t be done in simple performative acts, but rather gestures that show that you understand what they fought for and why. One of the best ways to show your support for the fallen is to raise your American flag. Raising your flag can give those who passed away proper respect, but making the most of this occasion requires dedication to your flag and how you treat it. By completing the following tips, you’ll be prepared to honor fallen service members with dignity and poise.

Understanding the Flag Code

Before you purchase a new American flag to honor the fallen, it’s important to understand what the Flag Code is and how it will affect your flying, especially if this is to be customary. After all, flying the flag shouldn’t be treated as a mundane activity but rather a significant event. The U.S. Flag Code is a set of advisory rules set aside for the display and handling of the American flag. Although they are not legally binding and do not levy any punishments for incorrectly following them, the guidelines are nevertheless distinguished for proper patriotism. The Flag Code covers everything from:

  • Proper positioning: Never horizontally or upside down
  • Where to display it: Any place above the ground in proper position
  • What times of day to raise and lower it: Sunrise to sunset
  • How to properly dispose of the flag after longtime use: Folded into a triangle and burned with dignity
  • And more

Researching the Flag Code will ensure that your respect for the fallen will not have any mishaps that would take away from the moment. Once you’re well-versed in these set of rules, you’ll be ready to take your next step: getting your American flag.

Purchasing Your American Flag

American flags come in many retail sizes, but two main styles have captivated everyday households. Most people are familiar with the 3 ft. by 5 ft. flag that’s predominantly used in front yards. This flag is fastened onto an aluminum, fiberglass, or steel pole measuring between 15 ft. - 20 ft. If you want your support for fallen soldiers to resonate with a large part of your community, this would be the flag set to get. If you’re looking for a more personal flag, there are wall-mounted flag options to consider. For a 6 ft. wall-mounted poll, you can also use a 3’x5’ flag or scale down to 2.5 ft. x 4 ft. This flag will need to be fastened with the Union part (blue with white stars) at the top left. Your pole should also have a spinning feature to prevent the flag from getting twisted during windy days.

Handling Your American Flag

The American flag is one of the most iconic symbols in our country’s history. As such, you need to treat it with the utmost respect, especially while you’re honoring those who are no longer with us. The first thing to factor in is what time of day your flag should be raised. Your American flag should be raised at sunrise and lowered at sundown in accordance with the U.S. Flag Code. With that said, having a proper flag light to keep it illuminated will allow you to keep it raised. Your American flag should also never touch the ground. When assembling your flag pole or raising it each day, take precautions to ensure that it stays above the ground properly. Displaying your flag on your car is also a popular method, but it too must be held to the same standards, especially with the possibility of it falling off or being affected by inclement weather.

Finding the Right Days to Fly Your Flag

The best time to raise your flag is anytime, but there are actually specific days put aside for more customary flag flying. These days are called Flag Days, the holidays and special occasions where flying your flag is expected. Naturally, the 4th of July and Presidents’ Day are prime days to raise your flag, but you can also raise your flag on Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and many other U.S. holidays. There are certain flag days where you will need to adjust how you fly your flag, especially in remembrance for the fallen. These days include Memorial Day, Peace Officers Memorial Day, and Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. For these flag days, your flag must be flown at half-staff all day (unless it is Memorial Day, which only flies at half-staff until noon). Doing so will properly show reverence for those who are no longer with us.

Getting Your Community Involved

Showing respect for the fallen does not have to be a solo moment. You can bring this awareness to your community in a variety of ways. Keeping your flag in a prominent position, especially if you’re using a 20 ft. flag pole in your yard, will let your neighbors honor the ones in their lives who have lost their lives in combat as well. You can also talk to your neighbors and see if they would be interested in getting a flag of their own. Go the extra mile and help them set up their flag pole if they’ve never done it before and inform them of the Flag Code for proper use. There are also options available to donate American flags to various organizations, such as Stars For Our Troops. If you have a flag from a military funeral, it can be donated to a national cemetery or for a funeral home for reuse.

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