As one of the most recognizable across the country and the world, the American flag provides hope and boosts morale for many. With the Fourth of July approaching, here are some facts about flags and the proper etiquette surrounding them.

Proper display

A flag should be displayed only from sunrise to sunset unless it is properly lit during the night. It should not be displayed in inclement weather unless it is an all-weather flag. When the flag is displayed, the stars should always be presented in the upper left corner whether the flag is displayed horizontally or vertically.

If the flag is displayed with those from other countries, it should be placed on the flag’s own right compared to the other flags. The U.S. flag (and any other country’s flag) should be on its own pole. If two countries’ flags are displayed on the same pole, it is seen as an act of aggression. When displayed with flags of the states or other societies, the U.S. flag should be hoisted higher, while also placed at the center.

The flag is to be flown at half-mast only for certain holidays, for the loss of principal figures as determined by the President, or in the event of great tragedy as determined by the President. When hoisting the flag to half-mast, it should be hoisted all the way to the top for an instant and then lowered to half-mast. Right before the end of the day, the flag should be hoisted back to the top of the pole before being taken down. For Memorial Day, flags should be flown at half-mast only until noon.

Proper care and discharge

A flag can be washed or dry-cleaned if it is dirty. While it is not supposed to touch the ground, the flag does not need to be destroyed if it does. According to the U.S. Flag Code, a flag can be used until “it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display.”

Sometimes a flag can be repaired. Larger flags are typically less expensive to repair than their smaller counterparts.

When a flag has served its use and is ready to be decommissioned, it must be disposed of in a dignified manner. The common method to achieve this is burning.

Local Boy Scout Troop 6 holds a flag retirement ceremony every November and people can drop off their flags for disposal. For more information, contact Troop 6 Scoutmaster Steve Radonich at

602-717-3006 or steve@scoutwm.com.

Historical flags

The Arizona Capitol Museum has two historical flags on display. One was salvaged from the USS Arizona and the other is from the Rough Riders, which has been on display for more than a century.

The Arizona Capitol Museum also has an exhibit of the Arizona flag made out of Legos (above). It is seven feet long and is composed of 114,006 Legos – one for each square mile in Arizona. The creators used trigonometry equations to create the “waves” in the flag. The museum is located at 1700 W. Washington St. in downtown Phoenix. For more: azlibrary.gov/azcm.

The Hall of Flame Fire Museum in Phoenix has a flag with the name of every person who died on 9/11 stitched in it. The flag is displayed in its National Firefighting Hall of Heroes, which contains pictures of firefighters and police officers who gave their lives as well as honoring all firefighters who have been recognized for bravery. The Hall of Flame Fire Museum is located at 6101 E. Van Buren St. in Phoenix. For more: hallofflame.org.