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U.S. Flag and Holidays

U.S. Flag and Holidays

Flying the U.S. flag is appropriate every day. The customary days to display the flag according to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the U.S. Army are as follows:

United States Navy Color Guard during Desert Storm Victory Parade

Half-Staff until Sunset

Half-Staff until Noon

New Years Day 01 January
Inauguration Day (every fourth year) 20 January
Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. 15 January
Lincoln's Birthday 12 February
Washington's Birthday (President's Day) 19 February
Easter Sunday 31 March
Loyalty Day and Law Day USA 01 May
Mother's Day 12 May
Peace Officer's Memorial Day 15 May
Armed Forces Day 20 May
National Maritime Day 22 May
Memorial Day (observed) 29 May
Flag Day (U.S. Army birthday) 14 June
Father's Day 16 June
Juneteenth National Independence Day 19 June
Independence Day 04 July
National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day 27 July
National Aviation Day 19 August
Labor Day 02 September
Patriot Day 11 September
Citizenship (Constitution) Day 17 September
POW/MIA Recognition Day 20 September
Gold Star Mother's Day 29 September
Columbus Day (observed) 14 October
Navy Day 27 October
Veterans Day 11 November
Thanksgiving Day 28 November
National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day 07 December
Christmas Day 25 December

Half-Staff

Keeping in the tradition of flying the American flag at half-staff until noon, Marines raise the national colors, alongside their French partners, to full-staff at one of the largest Memorial Day Event in Europe in Aisne-Marne Memorial Cemetery, France. The ceremony marked the 94th anniversary of the battle and embodied the legacy Belleau Wood has given to the Marine Corps and the brotherhood that unites an American-French friendship that has lasted from before the fields of World War I to the current operations in Afghanistan and was attended by Marines from commands all over Europe and the United States, to include: members of the 5th Marine Regiment, Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team, and Marine Forces Europe.When the flag of the United States is displayed at Half-Staff, it is first hoisted to the top of the staff for an instant, then lowered to the Half-Staff position. The flag should again be raised to the top of the staff before it is lowered for the day.

The flag is in a Half-Staff position when it is any position below the top of the pole. Generally the position of the flag is at Half-Staff when the middle point of the hoist of the flag is halfway between the top of the staff and the foot.

The flag may be flown at Half-Staff to honor a newly deceased federal or state government official by order of the president or the governor, respectively.

On Memorial Day, the flag should be displayed at Half-staff until Noon. Whenever the flag is displayed at Half-Staff, it should be first raised to the top. Lowering from Half-Staff is preceded by first raising it momentarily to the top. Immediately before Noon, the band, if one is available, will play an appropriate musical selection, and at 1200 hours the national salute (21 guns) will be fired at all installations provided with the necessary equipment for firing salutes. At the conclusion of the salute, the flag will be hoisted to the top of the staff and will remain there until retreat.

While the flag of the United States is being lowered from the staff and folded, no portion of it should be allowed to touch the ground. The flag should be folded in the triangular shape of a cocked hat.

Independence Day

In commemoration of the Declaration of Independence, a salute to the Union (50 guns) will be fired at 1200 hours on Independence Day at all installations provided with the necessary equipment for firing salutes. When Independence Day falls on a Saturday, special ceremonies or salutes will take place on Saturday. When Independence Day occurs on a Sunday, commanders may authorize the special ceremonies or salutes take place on that day or the following day.

Military Funeral Honors

Service members from the ceremonial honor guard transport the casket of George H. W. Bush, 41st President of the United States, from the sanctuary at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, December 6, 2018. Nearly 4,000 military and civilian personnel from across all branches of the U.S. armed forces, including Reserve and National Guard components, provided ceremonial support during the funeral.(DoD photo by U.S. Army Spc. Joseph Black)The National Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2000 provides for the rendering of military funeral honors. Military funeral honors are a statutory entitlement. Eligible beneficiaries are Active-Duty Servicemembers, Retirees, Veterans (as defined by 38 USC 101), and deceased members and former members of the Selected Reserve (using the burial flag eligibility criteria in 38 USC 2301). Any person (Active, National Guard, or Reserve) who has completed at least one enlistment or other obligated military service and received an honorable discharge is eligible for Military Funeral Honors.

On a casket, the union (blue field) should be at the deceased person's head and heart, over the left shoulder. But the flag should be removed before the casket is lowered into the grave and should never touch the ground.

An American flag drapes the casket of deceased veterans to honor the memory of their service to their country. The ceremonial folding and presentation of that flag is a moving tribute of lasting importance to the Veteran’s family.

Funeral honors ceremonies conducted by the Department of Defense will use the following standardized language for the presentation of the flag to the designated flag recipient: "On behalf of the President of the United States, [the United States Army, the United States Marine Corps, the United States Navy or the United States Air Force] and a grateful nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one’s honorable and faithful service."

A funeral director making the presentation may use his or her own words or use the following language: "Please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one’s honorable and faithful service."

The flag may cover a casket, but should not cover a statue or monument for unveiling. It should never be draped or drawn back in folds. Draped red, white and blue bunting should be used for decoration, with the blue at the top and red at the bottom.

Wounded Warrior holding U.S. FlagDuring the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in a parade or in review, all persons present in uniform should render the military salute. Servicemembers of the Armed Forces and Veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute. All other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Citizens of other countries present should stand at attention. All such conduct toward the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes.

Important Things to Remember

Traditional guidelines call for displaying the flag in public only from sunrise to sunset. However, the flag may be displayed at all times if it's illuminated during darkness. The flag should not be subject to weather damage, so it should not be displayed during rain, snow and wind storms unless it is an all-weather flag.

When the flag hangs from a staff in a church or public place, it should appear to the audience on the left, the speaker's right. Any other flags displayed should be placed on the opposite side of the speaker.

It should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.

It should be displayed often, but especially on national and state holidays and special occasions.

The flag should be displayed on or near the main building of public institutions, schools during school days, and polling places on election days.

When displayed over a street or sidewalk, where it can be seen from either side, be sure the union is to the north on an east-west street, and to the east on a north-south street. The same directions apply in a building lobby or corridor with entrances to the east and west or north and south.

When displayed against something, such as a wall, the union should be at the top and to the flag's own right, the observer's left - whether displayed horizontally or vertically.

Pearl Harbor Survivor saluting U.S. Navy Color Guard at Pearl Harbor Remembrance CeremonyWhen displayed flat against the wall on a speaker's platform, the flag should be above and behind the speaker with the union on the left side as the audience looks at it (again, the flag's right).

If the flag is suspended outdoors from a rope stretched from a building to a pole, the flag should be hoisted out from the building with the union first.

When displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, the U.S. flag should be on its own right (left to a person facing the wall) and its staff should be in front of the other flag's staff.

In a group of flags displayed from staffs, the U.S. flag should be at the center and the highest point.

When the flag is displayed other than from a staff, it should be flat or suspended so that it falls free.

When carried in procession with other flags, the U.S. flag should be either on the marching right (the flag's right) or to the front and center of the flag line.

When displayed on a float in a parade, the flag should be hung from a staff or suspended so it falls free. It should not be draped over a vehicle.

When flags of states, cities or organizations are flown on the same staff, the U.S. flag must be at the top (except during church services conducted at sea by Navy chaplains).

When other flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the U.S. flag should be hoisted first and lowered last. It must be on the right of other flags and no other flag should stand higher than it. Flags of other nations should be flown from separate staffs.

International custom dictates that flags of different nations be displayed at the same height in peacetime and be approximately the same size.

The U.S. Military Sea Hawker Color Guard prepares to present colors after a recognition ceremony for congressional Medal of Honor veterans Col. Joe M. Jackson, left, and Maj. Gen. Patrick H. Brady at the Seattle's Qwest Field during the Seahawks annual Military Appreciation Day celebration. Guidelines for Displaying - Public Law 94-344

Flag Etiquette and Education

Public Law 94-344, known as the Federal Flag Code, contains rules for handling and displaying the U.S. Flag. While the federal code contains no penalties for misusing the flag, states have their own flag codes and may impose penalties. The language of the federal code makes clear that the flag is a living symbol. In response to a Supreme Court decision, which held that a state law prohibiting flag burning was unconstitutional, Congress enacted the Flag Protection Act in 1989. It provides that anyone who knowingly desecrates the flag may be fined and/or imprisoned for up to one year. However, this law was challenged by the Supreme Court in a 1990 decision that the Flag Protection Act violates the First Amendment free speech protections.

Out of respect for the U.S. flag, never:

  • dip it for any person or thing, even though state flags, regimental colors and other flags may be dipped as a mark of honor.
  • display it with the union down, except as a signal of distress.
  • let the flag touch anything beneath it: ground, floor, water, merchandise.
  • carry it horizontally, but always aloft.
  • fasten or display it in a way that will permit it to be damaged or soiled.
  • place anything on the flag, including letters, insignia, or designs of any kind.
  • use it for holding anything.
  • use it as wearing apparel, bedding or drapery. It should not be used on a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be attached to the uniform of patriotic organizations, military personnel, police officers and firefighters.
  • use the flag for advertising or promotion purposes or print it on paper napkins, boxes or anything else intended for temporary use and discard.

Disposal of Flag

When the flag is worn out or otherwise no longer a fitting emblem for display, it should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.

  1. The flag should be folded in its customary manner.
  2. It is important that the fire be fairly large and of sufficient intensity to ensure complete burning of the flag.
  3. Place the flag on the fire.
  4. The individual(s) can come to attention, salute the flag, recite the Pledge of Allegiance and have a brief period of silent reflection.
  5. After the flag is completely consumed, the fire should then be safely extinguished and the ashes buried.
  6. Please make sure you are conforming to local/state fire codes or ordinances.

Proper flag disposal is one of the patriotic duties VFW Posts conduct nationwide. Please contact your local VFW Post if you'd like assistance or more information on proper flag disposal.

Order of Precedence

U.S. Armed Forces Joint Color Guarda. The flag of the United States
b. Foreign national flags (normally displayed in alphabetical order using the English alphabet
c. Flag of the President of the United States
d. State and territorial flags. Normally, state flags are displayed in order of admittance of the State to the Union. However, they may also be displayed in alphabetical order using the English alphabet. Territorial flags are displayed after the State flags either in the order they were recognized by the united States or alphabetically.
e. Military organizational flags of the Services in order of precedence

  1. Cadets, United States Military Academy
  2. Midshipmen, United States Naval Academy
  3. Cadets, United States Air Force Academy
  4. Cadets, United States Coast Guard Academy
  5. Midshipmen, United States Merchant Marine Academy
  6. United States Army
  7. United States Marine Corps
  8. United States Navy
  9. United States Air Force
  10. United States Space Force
  11. United States Coast Guard
  12. Army National Guard of the United States
  13. Army Reserve
  14. Marine Corps Reserve
  15. Naval Reserve
  16. Air National Guard of the United States
  17. Air Force Reserve
  18. Coast Guard Reserve
  19. Other training organizations of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard, in that order, respectively.

Sailors spell out #USA with the American flag on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in honor of the nation's upcoming Independence Day weekend on June 28, 2015. US Navy Photof. Military organizational flags within the service by echelon. The flag for the regimental corps will have precedence immediately before the regimental proponent’s command flag. The regimental corps flag will never have precedence above a MACOM flag.
g. Individual flags in order of rank.

1777 and beyond

1777 - Flag Resolution of June 14, 1777 states: "Resolved: that the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation."

1794 - Provided 15 stripes and 15 stars after May 1795. Act of January 13, 1794.

1818 - Provided 13 stripes and one star for each state, to be added to the flag on the 4th of July following the admission of each new state. Act of April 4, 1818.

1912 - Executive Order of President Taft dated June 24, 1912. Established proportions of the flag and provided for arrangement of the stars in six horizonatal rows of eight each, a single point of each star to be upward.

1959 - Executive Order of President Eisenhower dated January 3, 1959. Provided for the arrangement of the stars in seven rows of seven stars each, staggered horizontally and vertically.

1959 - Executive Order of President Eisenhower dated August 21, 1959. Provided for the arrangement of nine rows of stars staggered horizontally and eleven rows of stars staggered vertically.

Use and Display by Civilians

U.S. Flag flying on Veteran HomeThe U.S. and State flag should also be displayed on all National and State holidays, including historic and special occasions. Remember it is customary to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset. The U.S. and State flag may be displayed twenty-four hours with proper illumination. Use and display of the U.S. flag by civilians, civilian groups, and organizations are governed by 36 USC 173. Civilians who inquire about the display of the U.S. flag should be referred to this statute. They should be advised to consult the Attorney General of the State in which they reside or operate for information concerning State laws that apply to the U.S. flag.

1777 to Present
Number of Stars in the U.S. Flag and additional states represented

Date of Flag

Additional states with date of entry into Union

13 stars - 1777 to 1795

Delaware (December 7, 1787)

Pennsylvania (December 12, 1787)

New Jersey (December 18, 1787)

Georgia (January 2, 1788)

Connecticut (January 9, 1788)

Massachusetts (February 6, 1788)

Maryland (April 28, 1788)

South Carolina (May 23, 1788)

New Hampshire (June 21, 1788)

Virginia (June 25, 1788)

New York (July 26, 1788)

North Carolina (November 21, 1789)

Rhode Island (May 29, 1790)

15 stars - 1795 to 1818

Vermont (March 4, 1791)

Kentucky (June 1, 1792)

20 stars - 1818 to July 3, 1819

Tennessee (June 1, 1796)

Ohio (March 1, 1803)

Louisiana (April 30, 1812)

Indiana (December 11, 1816)

Mississippi (December 10, 1817)

21 stars - July 4, 1819 to July 3, 1820

Illinois (December 3, 1818)

23 stars - July 4, 1820 to July 3, 1822

Alabama (December 14, 1819)

Maine (March 15, 1820)

24 stars - July 4, 1822 to July 3, 1836

Missouri (August 10, 1821)

25 stars - July 4, 1836 to July 3, 1837

Arkansas (June 15, 1836)

26 stars - July 4, 1837 to July 3, 1845

Michigan (Jan 26, 1837)

27 stars - July 4, 1845 to July 3, 1846

Florida (March 3, 1845)

28 stars - July 4, 1846 to July 3, 1847

Texas (December 29, 1845)

29 stars - July 4, 1847 to July 3, 1848

Iowa (December 28, 1846)

30 stars - July 4, 1848 to July 3, 1851

Wisconsin (May 29, 1848)

31 stars - July 4, 1851 to July 3, 1858

California (September 9, 1850)

32 stars - July 4, 1858 to July 3, 1859

Minnesota (May 11, 1858)

33 stars - July 4, 1859 to July 3, 1861

Oregon (February 14, 1859)

34 stars - July 4, 1861 to July 3, 1863

Kansas (January 29, 1861)

35 stars - July 4, 1863 to July 3, 1865

West Virginia (June 20, 1863)

36 stars - July 4, 1865 to July 3, 1867

Nevada (October 31, 1864)

37 stars - July 4, 1867 to July 3, 1877

Nebraska (March 1, 1867)

38 stars - July 4, 1877 to July 3, 1890

Colorado (August 1, 1876)

43 stars - July 4, 1890 to July 3, 1891

North Dakota (November 2, 1889)

South Dakota (November 2, 1889)

Montana (November 8, 1889)

Washington (November 11, 1889)

Idaho (July 3, 1890)

44 stars - July 4, 1891 to July 3, 1896

Wyoming (July 10, 1890)

45 stars - July 4, 1896 to July 3, 1908

Utah (January 4, 1896)

46 stars - July 4, 1908 to July 3, 1912

Oklahoma (November 16, 1907)

48 stars - July 4, 1912 to July 3, 1959

New Mexico (January 6, 1912)

Arizona (February 14, 1912)

49 stars - July 4, 1959 to July 3, 1960

Alaska (January 3, 1959)

50 stars - July 4, 1960 to present

Hawaii (August 21, 1959)


NW MIRECCSpanning 23% of the US land mass, VA Northwest Health Network (VISN 20) is the largest geographic region of VA. In the Pacific Northwest, VISN 20 serves Veterans in 135 counties in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Operating across three time zones over 817,417 square miles, VISN 20 is home to 273 federally recognized American Indian and Alaskan Native tribes. VISN 20 also serves Veterans in Del Norte and Siskiyou counties of California and Lincoln County Montana. Veterans may be eligible to receive care from a community provider when VA cannot provide the care needed. Veterans Community Care Program (VCCP) provides health care for Veterans from providers in the local community. VCCP includes General Community Care, Urgent Care, Emergency Care, Foreign Medical Care, Home Health and Hospice Care, Indian and Tribal Health Services, In Vitro Fertilization, State Veterans Home, and Flu Shots.

Browse facilities by state

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Hospital Service Directory

To find out whether there is a van near you use the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Hospital Service Coordinator Directory to contact your nearest HSC for information or assistance. Please remember that the DAV Transportation Network is staffed by volunteers; therefore, it is unable to cover every community.

Vet Centers in VISN 20

VA Vet Center LogoVet Centers in the VISN 20 Health Care Network are community-based counseling centers that provide a wide range of social and psychological services, including professional readjustment counseling to eligible Veterans, active-duty Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Air Force, and Space Force service members, including National Guard and Reserve components, and their families. 1-877-WAR-VETS is an around the clock confidential call center where Veterans, service members and their families can talk about their military experience or any other issue they are facing in transitioning after military service or trauma and get connected to their nearest Vet Center.

Vet Centers provide counseling to make a successful transition from military to civilian life or after a traumatic event experienced in the military. Individual, group, marriage and family counseling is offered in addition to referral and connection to other VA or community benefits and services. If you can’t make it to a nearby Vet Center, VA offers satellite Vet Center locations and Mobile Vet Centers that may be closer to you.

Alaska

Anchorage Vet Center (Anchorage, AK)

Anchorage Satellite Vet Centers in Anchor Point and Homer

Fairbanks Vet Center (Fairbanks, AK)

Fairbanks Satellite Vet Centers in Fort Greely and Fort Wainwright

Kenai Vet Center Outstation (Soldotna, AK)

Wasilla Vet Center (Wasilla, AK)

Oregon

Central Oregon Vet Center (Bend, OR)

Eugene Vet Center (Eugene, OR)

Eugene Satellite Vet Centers in Florence and Reedsport 

Grants Pass Vet Center (Grants Pass, OR)

Grants Pass Satellite Vet Center in Cave Junction and Grants Pass Mobile Vet Center

Portland, OR Vet Center (Portland, OR)

Portland Satellite Vet Centers in Oregon City, St. Helens, and Vancouver, Washington

Salem Vet Center (Salem, OR)

Salem Mobile Vet Center

Idaho

Boise Vet Center (Boise, ID)

Boise Satellite Vet Center in Ontario, Oregon and Boise Mobile Vet Center

Spokane Satellite Vet Centers in Couer d'Alene, Kootenai, Post Falls, Fairchild AFB, and Newport, Washington

Washington

Bellingham Vet Center (Bellingham, WA)

Everett Vet Center (Everett, WA)

Federal Way Vet Center (Federal Way, WA)

Lacey Vet Center Outstation (Lacey, WA)

Seattle Vet Center (Seattle, WA)

Spokane Vet Center (Spokane, WA)

Spokane Satellite Vet Centers in Fairchild AFB, Newport, Post Falls and Couer d'Alene, Idaho

Spokane Mobile Vet Center

Tacoma Vet Center (Tacoma, WA)

Tacoma Mobile Vet Center

Vancouver Vet Center - Washington State University, Clark County (Vancouver, WA)

Walla Walla Vet Center (Walla Walla, WA)

Yakima Valley Vet Center (Yakima, WA)

Yakima Satellite Vet Center in Ellensburg

Veterans Crisis "988" - The Military Crisis Line is a free, confidential resource for all Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Air Force, and Space Force service members, including members of the National Guard and Reserve, and Veterans. You're not alone—the Veterans Crisis Line is here for you. For immediate help in dealing with a suicidal crisis, contact the Veterans Crisis Line: Dial 988 then Press 1. You don't have to be enrolled in VA benefits or health care to call.

The Military Crisis Line is a free, confidential resource for all Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Air Force and Space Force service members, including members of the National Guard and Reserve, and Veterans. You're not alone—the Veterans Crisis Line is here for you. For immediate help in dealing with a suicidal crisis, contact the Veterans Crisis Line: Dial 988 then Press 1. You don't have to be enrolled in VA benefits or health care to call.

Europe:
Call +1 844-702-5495 (off base) or DSN 988 (on base)

Southwest Asia:
Call +1 855-422-7719 (off base) or DSN 988 (on base)

Pacific:
Call +1 844-702-5493 (off base) or DSN 988 (on base)

A Veteran overseas may contact the Veterans Crisis Line via the chat modality at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat. If the Veteran prefers a phone call, they can request this within the chat venue. For TTY users: Use your preferred relay service or dial 711 then 1-800-273-8255. Are you looking for clinical care or counseling? Assistance with benefits? No matter what you’re experiencing, we’re here to connect you with resources and support systems to help. The Veterans Crisis Line is free and confidential. When you call, chat, or text, a qualified responder will listen and help. You decide how much information to share. Support doesn't end with your conversation. Our responders can connect you with the resources you need.

Plan your trip to VA

In 1946, Veterans Canteen Service (VCS) was established by law to provide comfort and well-being to America’s Veterans. With our many retail stores, cafés and coffee shops across the country, we serve those who have served our country. Our Canteens are whole health spaces for Veterans to connect, relax, share and care for themselves in an environment that is their benefit. We are proud to Serve America’s Veterans and those who provide for their care.

VCS operates over 200 Patriot Stores in Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Centers nationwide. Many of our stores have been recently updated and expanded to provide our customers with a modern, clean and comfortable shopping experience. Our stores welcome our customers with wider aisles, wood-like floors, enhanced lighting and directional signage. PatriotStores have expanded hours of operation to provide service for customers on weekends at most locations.

The Patriot Cafe is the best place in the VA Medical Center to enjoy delicious, freshly prepared breakfast or lunch served hot or cold each weekday. Providing Veterans, their families, VA employees, volunteers and visitors a place to relax and enjoy a meal or take-out for their convenience. With a wide variety of food from traditional comfort food, specialized menu selections and a large assortment of healthy choices; there is something for everyone's taste buds.

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