Guide to Flag Flying Holidays in America

When it comes to flying the American flag it is important to know how to fly your flag and when you should fly it at half-staff. We've assembled a list of patriotic holidays in America, with an overview of each, along with notes on when and how to fly your American flag.

How & When to Fly Your Flag at Half-Staff

Ravenox flag flown at half-staff or half mast

  • Most half-staff days suggest that the American Flag is at half-staff from sunrise until sunset on the days of the order. Memorial Day is the exception where the American flag is flown at half-staff from sunrise until noon.
  • When raising the American flag to half-staff on a vertical pole, always raise it briskly to the top of the flagpole for a moment before lowering it. When taking it down for the night, raise it to the top of the flag pole again and lower it to the bottom.
  • With a telescoping pole it is acceptable to put the American flag on the second set of rings instead of the top set. In this case the top set would be left empty.
  • When the American flag is flown at half-staff, state and other flags should be removed or flown at half-staff too.

If Your Flag Can't Fly at Half-Staff

  • For flags that can't be lowered, such as those on many homes, the American Legion recommends attaching a black ribbon or streamer to the top of the flag. The ribbon should be the same width as a stripe on the flag and the same length as the flag. 
  • For a wall-mounted flag, three black mourning bows should be attached to the top edge of the flag, one at each corner and one in the center.

Duration of Flag at Half-Staff

  • Thirty days after the death of a President or former President
  • Ten days after the death of a Vice President, the Chief Justice or a retired Chief Justice, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives
  • Until the burial of an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, secretary of a military department, a former Vice President, or the governor of a state, territory, or possession.
  • On the day of, and the day after, the death of a Member of Congress.
  • On Memorial Day, the day set aside to honor and mourn the military personnel who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. The flag is flown at half-staff until noon, then raised to full staff until sundown.

Flying The American Flag at Half-Staff for Other Citizens

  • Only the President of the United States and State Governors may order the flag to be at half-staff to honor the death of a national or state figure. On May 21, 2020, President Trump ordered flags to be flown at half-staff on Federal Buildings and National Monuments for three days in memory of the Americans we have lost to the Coronavirus. 

 Notable Flag Flying Holidays in America

Ravenox Flag Flying on House - Flagpole Rope

Washington's Birthday or President's Day

When: February 15 to 21 (third Monday in February).

Washington's Birthday is a federal holiday in the United States celebrated on the third Monday of February in honor of George Washington, the first President of the United States, who was born on February 22, 1732. 

Armed Forces Day

When: Third Saturday in May.

Many nations around the world observe some kind of Armed Forces Day to honor their military forces. Armed Forces Day is a joint celebration of all six branches of the U.S. military: Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Space Force, and the Coast Guard. The day honors all people currently serving in the U.S. armed forces. This includes the men and women who have served or are serving in the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Space Force, and Coast Guard, including the National Guard and Reserve components. It is celebrated on the third Saturday in May. It falls near the end of Armed Forces Week, which begins on the second Saturday of May and ends on the third Sunday of May (the fourth if the month begins on a Sunday).

Peace Officers Memorial Day

When: May 15th.

  • Flags are flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset, unless this day is also Memorial Day.

Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week is an observance in the United States that pays tribute to the local, state, and federal peace officers who have died, or who have been disabled, in the line of duty. 

For every purchase made of Thin Blue Line products on our website Ravenox donates 10% of the proceeds to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Memorial Day

When: Last Monday in May.

  • Flags are flown at half-staff from sunrise to noon. 

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for honoring and mourning the military personnel who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Many people visit cemeteries and memorials on Memorial Day to honor and mourn those who died while serving in the U.S. Military. Many volunteers place an American flag on graves of military personnel in national cemeteries.

Memorial Day is also considered the unofficial start of summer in the United States, while Labor Day, the first Monday of September, marks the unofficial start of autumn.

Flag Day

When: June 14th. 

Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. The United States Army also celebrates the U.S. Army birthday on this date.

Independence Day

When: July 4th.

Also known as the Fourth of July or July 4th, Independence Day is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the Declaration of Independence of the United States, on July 4, 1776. 

Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, political speeches, and ceremonies, in addition to various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States. Independence Day is the national day of the United States.

Patriot Day

When: September 11th.

  • Flags are flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset.

Americans are asked to observe a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 AM EST to honor the innocent victims who lost their lives as a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11th. Flags are flown at half-staff.

Constitution Day

When: September 17th.

Constitution Day is an American federal observance that recognizes the adoption of the United States Constitution and those who have become U.S. citizens. It is normally observed on September 17, the day in 1787 that delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the document in Philadelphia.

National Firefighters Memorial Day

When: First Sunday in October

  • Flags are flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset.

National Firefighters Memorial Day is a tribute to American fire service and to memorialize career and volunteer Fallen Firefighters from around the nation. Ravenox's Thin Red Line collection is both a tribute and a reminder of the sacrifice—and the difference—made by our first responders. 

Columbus Day

When: Second Monday in October.

Columbus Day is a federal holiday celebrating and honoring Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas in 1492. It is also a day that recognizes the contributions of Americans of Italian descent.

Election Day

When: The Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month of November or the first Tuesday after November 1. The earliest possible date is November 2, and the latest possible date is November 8.

Election Day is the annual day set by law for the general elections of federal public officials.

Veterans Day

When: November 11th.

Veterans Day (originally known as Armistice Day) is a federal holiday in the United States observed annually on November 11, for honoring military veterans. It coincides with other holidays including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day which are celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I. At the urging of major U.S. veteran organizations, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.

Pearl Harbor Day

When: December 7th.

  • Flags are flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset.

Also referred to as Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day or Pearl Harbor Day, it is observed annually in the United States on December 7, to remember and honor the 2,403 United States citizens who were killed in the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on December 7, 1941 which led to the United States declaring war on Japan the next day and thus entering World War II. 

Bill of Rights Day

When: December 15th.

Bill of Rights Day commemorates the ratification of the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution. These amendments protect our most fundamental rights—freedom of speech, protest, and conscience, and guarantees our equal protection under the law.

Flagpole Rope

Flagpole Ropes Lengths:

When choosing your flag pole rope length get twice the above ground length of your flagpole. If your cleat is mounted at eye level, you will have extra for rope making knots and wrapping the halyard off around the cleat. We offer rope by the foot in 50 Feet, 100 Feet, 500 Feet and 1,000 Feet lengths. Most flagpoles use 3/16-in,1/4 inch, 5/16 inch and 3/8 inch ropes. Make sure you measure the rope thickness you currently have or the pulley thickness to order the correct size rope.

Ravenox offers a cut proof flagpole halyard rope with a reinforced galvanized steel aircraft cable core for tamper-proof flag flying.


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