When Should Your American Flag Fly at Half Staff
When the nation is in a period of mourning, the American flag is lowered on its pole as a sign of respect referred to as “half-staff.”
National periods of mourning are designated by a presidential proclamation and suggest the flag remain at half-staff from sunrise to sunset of that day unless otherwise noted. Memorial Day for instance, is an exception that calls for the flag to be briskly raised to full-staff at noon of that day.
During times when the American flag is flown at half-staff, state and local flags should follow suit until the flag is returned to full-staff. This period can last from one day for national days of remembrance, to 30 days in the event of the death of a sitting or former president.
It’s important to note that private citizens operating nonfederal facilities are not required to adhere to these guidelines.
On a state and local level, you may lower your flag in remembrance of prominent local citizens without a presidential proclamation.
The following days have been designated as national days of remembrance, and thus half-staff flag days.
- Peace Officers Memorial Day - MAY
(The exact date varies by year, but occurs annually during National Police Week)
- Memorial Day - MAY
(Observed on the last Monday in May)
- Patriot Day - SEPTEMBER 11
- National Firefighters Memorial Day - OCTOBER
(The exact date varies by year, but occurs annually during National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend)
- Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day - DECEMBER 7
For more helpful information on how to properly display your American flag refer to https://www.usa.gov/flag.