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About Flag Ceremonies PDF Print

Throughout the history of the BSA, Scouts have taken part in ceremonies paying respect to the American flag. They have served as honor guards at troop meetings, public gatherings, parades, and patriotic events.

Flag ceremonies offer all of us a time to thing about our nation's history, to reflect on what it means to be an American, and to pledge ourselves to do our share to make our country the best it can be.

Carrying the Flag

The flag may be carried on a staff in parades, at the beginning and end of a Scout meeting, and during other ceremonies and patriotic events. It is always carried aloft and free, never flat or horizontally.

When the flag is carried by itself, there should always be a person serving as an honor guard to its left, or one on each side of it. When carried with other flags, the United States flag should be in front of the others or, if the flags are arranged in a row, the farthest to its own right. The flag of the United States is never dipped in salute to any person or thing.

  • When flags are displayed at different heights, the United States flag flies higher than all the others. It is hoisted first and lowered last.
  • When flags are displayed at equal heights, the United States flag is either out in front or farthest to its own right.
  • To display the United States flag flat against a wall, horizontally or vertically, the blue field should be at the top and at the flag's own right (at the observer's left).
  • In a church, synagogue, temple or auditorium, the United States flag on a staff is placed to the clergy's or speaker's right.
  • When hung over the center of a street, the United States flag should have the blue field to the north in an east-west street and to the east in a north-south street. 

International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation to be above that of another nation in time of peace. Flags of other nations must be flown from separate flagpoles of equal height, and all flags should be approximately equal in size.


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