The Flag In Mourning

Handling & Care

The Flag in Mourning

The term “half-staff” refers to a flag positioned one-half the distance between the top and bottom of the staff. Half-staffing is reserved in most cases for mourning.


When to Half-Staff the Flag

Upon the death of principal figures of the United States government or the Governor of a state or territory. The United States law gives the President of the United States authority to order a nation-wide half-staffing as a mark of respect.

The flag should also be flown half-staff for the following dates:

  • Memorial Day (May 15)
  • Korean War Veterans Day (July 27)
  • Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day (December 7)
  • September 11

We recommend that individuals and organizations find other ways to commemorate the deaths of loved ones, employees or officers. In general, stick to the parameters outlined above.

For How Long?

  • 30 days upon the death of the President or a former President
  • 10 days upon the death of the Vice President or the speaker of the House of Representatives
  • On the day of death and the following day for a member of Congress

For Burial Ceremonies

When used to cover a casket, the flag should be placed with the union over the head and left-shoulder. It should not be lowered in with the casket.