When do we fly the U.S. flag? Flag fly dates

U.S. flag at Fort McHenry, near Baltimore, with fireworks – National Park Service photo

U.S. flag at Fort McHenry, near Baltimore, with fireworks – National Park Service photo

According to InfoPlease.com, the dates to fly the flag of the U.S.

When to Fly the Flag

The flag can be displayed on all days, but in particular it should be flown on these dates designated in the U.S. Flag Code:

  • 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
  • Other days as may be proclaimed by the President of the United States
  • The birthdays of States (date of admission)
  • State holidays

Though it’s not been added to the Flag Code, September 11 has been designated a national Patriot Day. Under the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, Public Law 111-13, the president should issue a proclamation, and government entities should, and private citizens are encouraged, to fly flags at half staff. [Updated on September 11, 2013.]

Replica of the 1814 flag, flying at Fort HcHenry in Baltimore Harbor, on the Fourth of July. NPS photo, perhaps

Replica of the 1814 flag, flying at Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor, on the Fourth of July. NPS photo, perhaps

See also 4 USC 1, sec. 6 Outside of the Flag Code Sections, or in a few cases duplicating the Flag Code, several laws designate recurring days and months of commemoration, celebration and remembrance.  Some of these days carry urgings to fly the flag.  From 36 USC Chapter 1:

*On Memorial Day, the flag should be hung at half-staff until noon, when it should be raised to the top of the staff. The U.S. flag also should be flown in each state on its statehood day, according to the Flag Code.  For the 50 U.S. states, the dates are listed below; the chart also tells the order of admission of each state.

Alabama Dec. 14, 1819
22nd state
Alaska Jan. 3, 1959
49th
Arizona Feb. 14, 1912
48th
Arkansas June 15, 1836
25th
California Sept. 9, 1850
31st
Colorado Aug. 1, 1876
38th
Connecticut Jan. 9, 1788
5th
Delaware Dec. 7, 1787
1st
Florida March 3, 1845
27th
Georgia Jan. 2, 1788
4th
Hawaii Aug. 21, 1959
50th
Idaho July 3, 1890
43rd
Illinois Dec. 3, 1818
21st
Indiana Dec. 11, 1816
19th
Iowa Dec. 28, 1846
29th
Kansas Jan. 29, 1861
34th
Kentucky June 1, 1792
15th
Louisiana April 30, 1812
18th
Maine March 15, 1820
23rd
Maryland April 28, 1788
7th
Massachusetts Feb. 6, 1788
6th
Michigan Jan. 26, 1837
26th
Minnesota May 11, 1858
32nd
Mississippi Dec. 10, 1817
20th
Missouri Aug. 10, 1821
24th
Montana Nov. 8, 1889
41st
Nebraska March 1, 1867
37th
Nevada Oct. 31, 1864
36th
New Hampshire June 21, 1788
9th
New Jersey Dec. 18, 1787
3rd
New Mexico Jan. 6, 1912
47th
New York July 26, 1788
11th
North Carolina Nov. 21, 1789
12th
North Dakota Nov. 2, 1889
39th or 40th
Ohio March 1, 1803
17th
Oklahoma Nov. 16, 1907
46th
Oregon Feb. 14, 1859
33rd
Pennsylvania Dec. 12, 1787
2nd
Rhode Island May 29, 1790
13th
South Carolina May 23, 1788
8th
South Dakota Nov. 2, 1889
39th or 40th
Tennessee June 1, 1796
16th
Texas Dec. 29, 1845
28th
Utah Jan. 4, 1896
45th
Vermont March 4, 1791
14th
Virginia June 25, 1788
10th
Washington Nov. 11, 1889
42nd
West Virginia June 20, 1863
35th
Wisconsin May 29, 1848
30th
Wyoming July 10, 1890
44th

How to fly the flag

Rules of flag etiquette are not many, but they have been subject to a lot of exaggeration over the years.  The U.S. Flag Code puts into law the general etiquette rules.   There are no penalties for violating the rules.  Even the clear language of the statue confuses many.
The Library of Congress’s Congressional Research Service provides a good summary of the law; a publication of the U.S. Senate gives the law and pictorial examples of proper flag display.  Other groups, like the Boy Scouts of America, have separate publications.  MFB recommends the U.S. Senate’s brochure and the Boy Scouts’ publication, Your Flag, both of which offer more history and illustrations of how flags should be displayed in a variety of different circumstances.

Please consult one of these sources if you are not sure how to display the flag.  If you do consult those publications, you will discover most Fourth of July parades display Old Glory “incorrectly.”  No flag police will ever ticket your local Lions Club or City Council.  Those Americans probably mean no disrespect to the flag or the nation, but are carried away with exuberance at the prospect of waving the flag.

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103 Responses to When do we fly the U.S. flag? Flag fly dates

  1. […] any case, per the guidelines in the U.S. Flag Code, West Virginians should fly the U.S. flag today in honor of their statehood, 154 years ago.  West […]

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  2. […] any case, per the guidelines in the U.S. Flag Code, West Virginians should fly the U.S. flag today in honor of their statehood, 153 years ago.  West […]

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  3. […] When do we fly the U.S. flag? Flag fly dates […]

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