A Conversation for The Star-Spangled Banner
DickieP Started conversation Apr 3, 2001
Help! I've been trying to find out how the American flag is displayed on a pole. I know the blue square sits next to the pole when flying the normal way, but does it also sit next to the pole on the reverse side? There's a long story behind this question...
Anyway, sorry to come off track from the article which was nice and pithy.
Barton Posted Apr 3, 2001
The flag is constructed so that the blue square is next to the pole on both sides of the flag. Furthermore, the blue square is flown at the top edge.
To fly it with the blue square at the bottom edge is considered a distress warning.
Administrator-General (5+0+9)*3+0 Posted Apr 3, 2001
Yes, the reverse side of the American flag looks like the forward side, only reversed. Therefore, the blue square is always next to the pole.
(I thought this was a silly question at first. But I suppose it isn't, if one grew up with only Union Jacks to look at, since the Union Jack looks the same from any direction.)
Barton Posted Apr 3, 2001
Additionally, if the flag is displayed without a pole, it is hung so that the blue square is to the left when viewed for the first time. (If hung in the center of the room, it should be higb enough that it is fully overhead and seen with the blue field to the left as one enters the room.)
In the States, no flag may be hung higher than the Stars and Stripes on the same pole or on nearby poles which are part of the same display. Hanging other flags on the same pole is frowned on though often done.
Interestingly, many communities have regulation that prevents or severly limits the size of signage. There is no such limitation on display of the Stars and Stripes. The result is that many gasolene stations have taken to displaying battleship sized USA flags as a way to attract business. (The laregest size flags made are designed to be flown from masts on battleships.
BuskingBob Posted Apr 3, 2001
The Union flag is not symmetrical, as you hint; if you look at the white parts of the diagonals you will see that they have a thick bit and a thin bit. The thick bit on the edge of the flag nearest the pole should be uppermost.
Still, even the military, who should know better, occasionally get it wrong.
Shea the Sarcastic Posted Apr 3, 2001
There are also rules about when the American flag can be flown.
Unless illuminated, the flag is to come down at night. It also has to be taken in inclement weather.
Barton Posted Apr 4, 2001
There doesn't seem to be any clear definition of what constitutes proper illumination.
Most commercial sized flags are made of materials that permit flying even in nasty weather. So, the rule about taking it in is ignored or bypassed.
Still more 'interesting' rules about hanging the US flag. If you hang it without a pole with the side of the flag that would normally be against the pole at the top, then the blue square goes to the right as you view the flag when you enter the room.
Administrator-General (5+0+9)*3+0 Posted Apr 4, 2001
I'd actually noticed that the white parts of the diagonal were different thickness... but I always thought this was a manufacturing flaw, not an intentional design.
DickieP Posted Apr 4, 2001
Thanks for the answers. I'd found out about the hanging from walls (it's a federal law or something) but not about flag poles.
This question was sparked off by the representation of the Stars and Stripes on the tail planes of aircraft. It is shown exactly as it would be if the leading edge of the tail was a flag pole. Have a look at American Airlines or similar...
And yes, although the Union Jack is not totally symmetrical, it is close enough that you don't really notice the difference when passing a flying flag.
Key: Complain about this post