A three-day weekend! We all love them.
But this is both special and somber.
Memorial Day does not just "mark the start of summer," it provides us a time to reflect as communities and a nation on the sacrifices made by brave men and women to secure and defend our freedoms and the lives and freedoms of many around the world.
It also allows us to show respect for those who made the ultimate sacrifice. We can do so by honoring the flag - a symbol of the nation for which they served.
As you plan to post the colors on your home or prepare to attend a local Memorial Day parade, make sure you know the applicable sections of the U.S. Flag Code.
The flags you will see
You can also take this opportunity to learn more about what you will see as the color guard passes you by at a parade.
Along with the American Flag, the flags of the branches of service will be on display. They are always carried in a specific order to acknowledge the formation dates of each of our now six branches. At the far left you will see the U.S. Army flag, emblazoned with a replica of the War Office Seal. At far right will be the newest flag representing the U.S. Space Force.
In addition, you will likely see the presentation of the official POW/MIA flag that reminds us of those members of our military held as Prisoners of War or listed as Missing in Action. Nearly 82,000 service members' are listed as missing as of May 2021.
How to show your respect
So how can you make sure to show your respect for those who have died or gone missing in service to our nation?
Be prepared to respond as the color guard brings the flag toward where you are sitting, starting with ending a conversation you are having or putting down your phone.
As the flag passes, you should be on your feet, if able, and standing respectfully or at attention and place their right hand over their heart. Men wearing hats or women wearing sport-style caps should remove them and hold them over their hearts. You may see veterans salute the flag, which is at their discretion.
You are not required or expected to salute every flag as it passes and should not salute or rise for small hand-held flags carried by spectators or those involved in the parade.
Any flag pins should be worn on the left lapel area.
Flying the Flag
Should you decide to place a flag outside of your home, note that it is appropriate only to fly it from sun-up to sun-down only in fair weather (unless it is made of all-weather material). It should only be flown at night if it is illuminated.
Make sure to always be careful when handling the flag so that it never touches the ground, floor or water and that it is stored neatly and well as to avoid damage. The flag should always be flow right-side up with the blue union at the top - not upside down which signals distress. If you are raising the flag, do so briskly, but when lowering it, do so slowly.
If you choose to post it instead of flying the flag, make sure it is hung flat against the wall or side of your home, not tucked, pinched or draped.
You can learn more by checking out the infographic below.