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Flying the Flag  

Etiquette and protocol for flying the United States and Texas flags.
Last Updated: Jul 21, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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About This Guide

Flags of our state and nation are flying all around us. Individuals who want to display the flag are often fuzzy about the law, etiquette, and protocol. This guide will help you find the information you need to ensure you are flying the flag proudly and properly.   


    Texas Law

    The provisions regarding the Texas state flag, including information on the display are in Chapter 3100 of the Texas Government Code.   You will find additional information in Texas Flag Resources on this page.

    • Texas Government Code ch. 3100
      Government Code Chapter 3100 covers all aspects of the Texas flag including the design, display, pledge of allegiance, and retiring of the flag. The Governor is granted executive order power to order the flag to be flown at half-staff.

    Texas Flag Resources

    Because Texas law may not be easy to understand, below you will find a collection of resources that help to explain the law in "plain English."

    • State of Texas Flag
      The Texas House of Representatives has this webpage on the Texas flag. The page includes historical information, rules governing the use of the flag, and the Texas pledge of allegiance.
    • Office of the Governor's Flag Status website
      This website alerts you when to fly the Texas flag at half-staff and why it is being done. You can sign up for email alerts to receive status changes.
    • Flags and Maps of Texas
      The Texas State Library and Archives provides this page with links to images and information on historic Texas flags.

    Federal Law

    Below you will find references to federal law related to the United States flag. The Flag Code states that it is "for the use of such civilian groups or organizations as may not be required to conform with regulations promulgated by one or more executive departments" of the federal government. Because the code does not include penalties or enforcement provisions it is more a voluntary guideline for citizens who want to display the flag in a respectful manner. You may find the United States Flag Resources helpful in understanding the code.

    • 4 USC 1
      The Flag Code includes information about manner of display of the flag and use by civilians.
    • 18 USC 33
      Section 700 describes penalties for desecration of the flag.
    • 36 USC 1
      Discusses patriotic customs and observances. These laws are supplemented by executive orders and presidential proclamations.

    United States Flag Resources

    Below you'll find a collection of resources that help to explain the federal law in "plain English."

    • Our Flag [PDF]
      A citizen's guide to the United States flag, this government publication gives an excellent overview of the history of the flag and the ceremony and laws relating to the flag of the United States of America. A physical copy of the publication is also available in the library.
    • The United States Flag: Federal Law Relating to Display and Associated Questions [PDF]
      The Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report by John R. Luckey updated February 7, 2011.
    • Flag Day, June 14th
      On June 14, 1916 President Woodrow Wilson issued a presidential proclamation establishing June 14th as national Flag Day. On this day in 1777, the Continental Congress adopted the "Stars and Stripes" design. This Library of Congress website provides a multimedia resource to help you learn about this symbol of our country and celebrate its place in our history.
    • Folding the Flag
      The Boy Scouts of America has a nice graphic on how to fold the flag into the triangle presentation.
    • The Flag Guys
      This commercial website is full of solid information and interesting lore. The owner of the online store fields numerous calls about flag etiquette and is happy to take more.

    Legal Research Guides from the Texas State Law Library

    The Texas State Law Library reference librarians have compiled legal research guides for specific areas of the law. These guides contain resources that can help you research a legal issue. The American Association of Law Libraries has a guide for Non-Lawyers on How to Research a Legal Problem. If you have any questions, please contact us at (512) 463-1722 or at


    The information provided on this page has been prepared for general information purposes only and should not be construed as, nor substituted for, legal advice. It is strongly recommended that you contact an attorney for advice specific to your fact situation. Your local bar association or the State Bar of Texas Lawyer Referral Information Service (1-800-252-9690) can assist you with locating an attorney.

    Some of the electronic resources we refer to in this guide may be in PDF format. Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view PDFs.

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