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Policies and Procedures

Finance & Administration

4-OP-B-7 United States Flag Etiquette

Responsible Executive:​ Finance and Administration
Approving Official: Vice President for Finance and Administration
Effective Date: January 1, 2014
Last Revision Date: Unrevised at this time

 

SPECIFIC AUTHORITY

Florida Statutes, Section 1005.06, 255. 05. 06
Title 4, United States Code
See also, Florida Department of State, Flag Protocol.
Office of the Governor of Florida, Flag Protocol.

OBJECTIVE

To provide an official University policy on the proper etiquette and protocol in the handling, displaying and disposal of the United States flag.

OVERVIEW

A combination of custom and law governs the use of the United States flag. While a number of "Authorities" differ in the interpretation of the rules of flag etiquette, this policy comports with generally accepted procedures and ensures a proper respect for the flag.

A. HANDLING/RESPECT OF THE NATIONAL FLAG [4 U.S.C & 8]

The flag of the United States should never be handled in a manner that would indicate an attitude of disrespect. The following should be observed. The United States flag should:

  • Never be displayed with the union down except as a signal of dire distress;
  • Never be dipped to any person or thing;
  • Never touch anything beneath it such as the ground, floor or water or merchandise;
  • Never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery, festooned, drawn back or up in folds;
  • Never be fastened, used or stored in a manner that allows it to be easily torn, soiled or damaged;
  • Never be used as a covering for a ceiling;
  • Never have placed upon it or attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure design, picture or drawing of any nature;
  • Never be used for receiving, holding, carrying or delivering anything;
  • Never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever or be embroidered on such items as cushions, handkerchiefs, costumes or athletic uniforms and should not be printed on napkins, boxes or other items for temporary use and subsequent disposal.

B. DISPLAY OF THE NATIONAL FLAG [4 U.S.C &7]

It is appropriate to fly the United States flag in a variety of ways. The following, however, must be observed:

  • When flown from a stationary flagstaff, the United States flag may be flown twenty-four hours per day, provided that the flag is properly illuminated during the hours of darkness;
  • When two or more flags are flown from the same staff, the United States flag should always be at the peak of the staff;
  • When flags of the State or University are displayed in front of a building from separate staffs alongside the United States flag and the staffs are of equal height, the United States flag should be placed in the honor position to the right of the other flags as observed while standing directly in front of the building and facing out towards the flags. If the staffs are of unequal height, the United States flag should be displayed from the tallest staff, which should be placed in the center of the three staffs;
  • When the United States flag is carried in a procession with another flag, the United States flag should be carried on the marching right or in front of the center of the line;
  • When the United States flag is displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, it should be on the United States flag's right with the staff of the United States flag in front of the staff bearing the other flag;
  • When the United States flag is displayed with a number of flags of states, localities or pennants of societies and displayed from staffs, the United States flag should be at the center of the group and at the highest point;
  • When the United States flag is displayed from a staff projecting from a building, the union of the flag should be placed at the peak of the staff;
  • When the United States flag is displayed on a staff on a speaker's platform, the flag is to be placed on the speaker's right. If the flag is with the audience, it is on their right and the speaker's left;
  • When the United States flag is displayed flat against a wall on a speaker's platform, it should be placed above and behind the speaker with the union in the upper left-hand corner as the audience faces the flag.

C. DISPLAY OF THE NATIONAL FLAG AT HALF-STAFF

There are a number of occasions upon which the United States flag is displayed at half-staff as a symbol of mourning.

  • The flag is traditionally flown at half-staff from sunrise until noon on Memorial Day then hoisted to full-staff for the remainder of the day;
  • The flag is flown at half-staff upon the issuance of a Presidential Proclamation declaring a period of National mourning;
  • The flag is flown at half-staff for a period of thirty days following the death of a President of the United States;
  • The flag is flown at half-staff for a period of ten days following the death of the Vice President of the United States, the Chief Justice or a retired Chief Justice of the United States, or the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives;
  • The flag shall be flown at half-staff from the day of death until interment in the case of an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, a member of the Cabinet, a former Vice President of the United States, the President pro tempore of the United States Senate, the Majority Leader or Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives.

In the case of public employees or officials, or former employees or officials ranking below those specified in preceding portions of this procedure, it is not deemed appropriate to display the United States flag at half-staff as a symbol of mourning. The display of the University flag and the flag of the State of Florida are more appropriately displayed at half-staff upon such an occasion as a symbol of a select group united in common association.

It shall be the responsibility of the Director of Public Safety to ensure at all times, the proper display of the flags of the United States of America, the State of Florida and Florida State University.

D. CLEANING OR DISPOSAL OF THE NATIONAL FLAG

When the United States flag has become soiled, it may be either hand washed or dry cleaned, depending upon the material from which the flag is constructed. When the flag is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, it should be destroyed as a whole, privately, preferably by burning.