Manner Monday: Memorial Day and Flag Etiquette

Every Sunday Blogging4Jobs invites our resident Etiquette Expert, CareySue Vega (@Etiquette101), to share tips when it comes to etiquette in the workplace during our own preview of Manner Monday.

Memorial Day weekend in the States – most employees look at it as a three-day weekend.  Time to head to the lake/beach/mountains, unplug and get away from the office!  When pressed, not too many actually know what the holiday is all about. ‘Decoration Day’ (Memorial Day) dates back to the mid 1800’s as an opportunity for family and friends to pay respect to their loved ones who died during the battle of the Civil War.  Memorial Day weekend has grown into a National Holiday and an opportunity for Americans to reflect and honor family and friends who are no longer with us.  It is also a great occasion to enjoy the company of family and friends who play an important part in our lives.

According to Wikipedia, the word respect comes from the Latin word respicere, which means look behind.

Respect… take a few minutes to ‘look behind’ this Memorial Day and honor those who paved the way for you.  It could be family, or it could be a former (or current) boss or colleague who made a difference.

Many companies display a United States Flag outside their offices on a regular basis.  And many individuals feel the patriotic spirit during holidays such as this and are moved to post a flag outside of their home or apartment.

I thought it would be helpful to share some tips on American Flag Etiquette.  In my research, I stumbled upon a very detailed and helpful resource. If utilizing a flagpole, when flying your flag on Memorial Day, it should be at half-staff until noon.

Flag Etiquette Tips

“It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.”

“When the flag of the United States 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 should be placed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half-staff. When the flag is suspended over a sidewalk from a rope extending from a house to a pole at the edge of the sidewalk, the flag should be hoisted out, union first, from the building.”

“The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed.”

“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.”

For Americans, if you have a flag that has seen better days and is ready to be replaced. Please contact a local Cub or Boy Scout.  They would be happy to dispose of it properly at their next official scouting ‘Flag Retirement’ ceremony.

For those of you from other countries, what are your patriotic celebrations?  Are your rules for Flag Etiquette similar?  On that same note, what unique rules do businesses follow when displaying your countries flag?

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CareySue Vega

Carey Sue Vega is a business and youth etiquette expert. For ten years, she honed her skills with an international audience as Cruise Director for the Norwegian Cruise Line. Vega has been featured in numerous radio and television shows and magazine articles, sharing her etiquette expertise.  She’s also social savvy with social media. Connect with CareySue.


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