Postal Bulletin highlights Regulations for Proper Flag Display

The United States Postal Service® periodically reprints part 47 of the Administrative Support Manual (ASM), so postmasters can ensure that the American flag, the Postal Service™ flag, and the MIA-POW flag are properly displayed. To read all of the regulations concerning the display of flags at Postal Service facilities, see

Administrative Support Manual (ASM)

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47 Flags

471 Flags at Postal Facilities

471.1 Which May Be Displayed

Except as governed by host facilities as noted in 472.21, the only flags to be displayed at postal facilities are the flag of the United States of America, the Postal Service flag, the POW–MIA flag, and, when authorized by the vice president of Corporate Relations, flags directly related to the programs, missions, and activities of the United States Postal Service. Flags of states, commonwealths, or local governments must not be displayed.

471.2 Relative Placement

471.21 When Displayed on Flagstaffs

Other flags are flown below the U.S. flag if displayed on the same flagstaff and at the same level or lower if displayed on a separate flagstaff. When the U.S. flag is flown at half-staff, all other flags are to be at half-staff.

471.22 When Displayed on Speaker’s Platform

When the United States flag and the Postal Service flag are displayed on a speaker’s platform in an auditorium, the United States flag must occupy the position of honor and be placed at the speaker’s right as the speaker faces the audience, with the Postal Service flag at the speaker’s left.

472 U.S. Flag Display

472.1 Regulations for Proper Display

472.11 Placement

If the flag of the United States is not flown from a vertical flagstaff, the following regulations apply:

a. When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from the window sill, balcony, or front of a building, the union of the flag (blue field and stars) must be placed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half-staff.

b. When the flag is suspended over a sidewalk from a rope extending from a building to a pole at the edge of the sidewalk, the flag must be hoisted out, union first, from the building.

c. When the flag is displayed otherwise than by being flown from a staff, it must be displayed flat, whether indoors or out, or so suspended that its folds fall as free as though the flag were staffed.

472.12 Respect

No disrespect may be shown to the flag of the United States of America. It must never:

a. Be dipped to any person or thing.

b. Be displayed with the union down save as a signal of dire distress.

c. Be used as drapery of any sort whatsoever; never festooned, drawn back, nor up in folds, but always allowed to fall free.

d. Touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.

e. Be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as will permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.

f. Be used as a covering for a ceiling.

g. Have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.

h. Be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.

472.13 Raising and Lowering

472.131 Full Staff

As soon after sunrise as practicable, the flag must be hoisted briskly to the peak of the staff. Care must be taken that it not touch the ground. The flag must always be displayed with the union (blue field) at the peak of the staff (unless the flag is at half-staff). No later than sunset, the flag must be lowered ceremoniously and not allowed to touch the ground. It must be folded or rolled carefully and stored where it will not be soiled or otherwise damaged. If the flag is wet when taken down, it must be carefully spread out and allowed to dry thoroughly before being stored.

472.132 Half-Staff

Displaying the flag at half-staff means lowering the flag to half the distance between the top and bottom of the staff. The flag must first be hoisted to the peak of the staff and then slowly lowered to half-staff. When the flag is lowered for the day, it must be raised again to the peak and then lowered slowly before being stored for the night. When the flag is displayed at half-staff during a period of mourning, it must be so displayed on all days included in such period.

472.14 Bad Weather

During severe weather when it is probable that the flag will be damaged, it should not be flown.

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