Thursday, June 13, 2013

Flag Day etiquette for Girl Scouts

Many words are synonymous with Girl Scouting, like cookies and camping. One of the most important skills Girl Scouts learn, however, is how to care for our country’s flag. Girl Scouts are often asked to perform flag ceremonies in the community, so being well-versed in flag etiquette is a must.

Flag Day, celebrated annually on June 14, commemorates the adoption of the American flag. This holiday is a perfect opportunity for not only Girl Scouts but the entire community to learn how to honor one of the most recognizable American symbols.

To celebrate Flag Day 2013, GSSJC offers some “must know” guidelines in flag etiquette, taken from the United States Flag Code:

  • Display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. When patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed for 24 hours if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.
  • The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
  • The flag should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of States or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs. 
  • When flown at half-staff, the flag should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position.  The flag should be raised again to the peak before it is lowered for the day. 
  • The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water or merchandise.
  • The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.
  • The Flag Code does not specify how the flag should be folded, but a standard flag will require 13 folds. To specify there should be two lengthwise folds and eleven triangular folds, ending at the union.

Also, make sure your flag is dry prior to storing it, as mold can form in damp environments. For more in-depth information about flag etiquette, GSSJC recommends visiting To learn how to properly retire an American Flag, check out the June 2013 edition of Troop Program Ideas.