How to Fly a Wall Mounted Flag on Memorial Day

Overview

Displaying, or "flying", the American flag on a wall requires considerably more effort than from a flagpole. In most cases, such wall-mounted flags are outside on an exterior wall, though the same process works indoors as well. The wall in question can be of any composition other than steel or glass, though extra work is required for hard surfaces such as stone or brick as opposed to plaster or wood, and whenever flying the American flag, proper etiquette is essential.

Flying the flag

Step 1

Select a flag no more than 12 feet in length (eight feet if hung from a single-story building) with eyelets. If hanging the flag from a windowsill, such as in an office building, consult people occupying the office below yours, if any, if the flag is going to cover their window.

Step 2

Measure the distance between the eyelets with a ruler. If the flag has only two eyelets in the corners, measure the distance between them and divide the number by four for placement of hooks that will support clips attached to the flag. Use the level to assure that the edge of the flag hangs horizontally and measure out the distances recorded. Make a mark with a pencil at these points to indicate where to place the screw hooks. If hanging the flag from a windowsill, measure these marks out on the sill itself half an inch from the jamb.

Step 3

Put on goggles or safety glasses. Drill holes with the electric drill and a 7/64-inch drill bit the same depth as the threads on the screw hooks (an inch deep will usually suffice) at each pencil mark if mounting the flag from a hard surface such as stone or brick, then screw in the hooks by hand. Expand the holes if necessary for the screw hooks to pass with moderate resistance. Screw the hooks into the wall or sill by hand if the surface is plaster, pressboard or wood. Be sure that the top of the hook faces upward --- or if in a windowsill points into the room --- once the hooks are inserted fully. Use the same method to insert the last hook, reserved for the black streamer (if the flag will fly before noon only), three to four inches to the left of the flag hook on the left end, as observed from the street or sidewalk.

Step 4

Thread the flag's eyelets onto the hooks so that the union (the star field) faces to the left of those observing it from the street or sidewalk. Use care when unfurling and hanging the flag so it doesn't touch the ground. The flag can fly as early as sunrise.

Step 5

Thread the black streamer onto the hook reserved for it if the flag flies before noon. Finding a black streamer in a store can be problematic. It is likely that one will have to be handcrafted from materials on hand. The streamer should be the same length (or in this case, height) as the flag, from the top edge of the union down to the end of the top stripe; its width should match that of the flag's stripes. A handcrafted streamer might lack an eyelet. In this situation, punch a hole through the fabric in the center of the streamer's breadth, more than an inch from the top, and fly it on the union side of the flag. (On Memorial Day, it is traditional to fly American flags at half-staff until noon, when it is then raised fully. As wall-mounted flags cannot be flown at half-staff, a black streamer is appropriate until noon, at which point it should be removed.)

Tips and Warnings

  • If it rains on Memorial Day, try to fly the flag only during dry periods or if protected from the rain by an overhang. It is disrespectful to fly the flag in inclement weather.

Things You'll Need

  • American flag with eyelets
  • Level with ruler
  • Pencil
  • Goggles or safety glasses (for hard surfaces only)
  • Electric drill with a 7/64-inch drill bit (for hard surfaces only)
  • Screw hooks (number to match eyelets in flag, plus one)
  • Black streamer (optional)
  • Binder clips (optional)

References

  • United States Flag Store: "When and How to Fly the Flag"
  • Crossing Chalk blog: "Memorial Day Flags;" Tracy Edward Rymer; May 2009
  • Juniper Park Civic Association: "American Flag Etiquette;" Lorraine Sciulli; June 2008

Who Can Help

  • Brownie Locks: "U.S. Flag Rules and Etiquette"
Keywords: Wall mounted flag, Flag etiquette, Memorial Day

About this Author

Tom Wagner, though primarily a fiction writer, has contributed to newspapers and magazines in the Los Angeles area such as "California Examiner," "World Reporter," the "Philippine Nurses Monitor" and most recently "Famegate Global News" since 2004. He has published articles focus on food, social issues, travel and medical matters. Wagner holds an Associates Degree in respiratory therapy from El Camino City College.

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