Flag Ceremonies and Federal Flag Code
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Federal Flag Code
The display of the American Flag is governed by law to ensure that it will be treated with the respect due the flag of a great nation. This is known as the Flag Code.
US Flag Code http://www.usflag.org/uscode36.html
Flag Etiquette http://www.usa-flag-site.org/etiquette.shtml
The United States Flag: Federal Law Relating to Display and Associated Questions: https://www.senate.gov/reference/resources/pdf/RL30243.pdf
Poems and Readings for Customized Flag Ceremony
Commentary on the Pledge of Allegiance by Red Skelton
View Samples of a Flag Ceremony (youtube)
How To Perform A Flag Ceremony
To hold a flag ceremony you will need the following participants:
Color (or Flag) Bearer – One per flag if more than one flag is present. Hold staff (pole) at 30°angle in front of body, or hold folded flag (with point away from body) in front of body at waist level. The Flag Bearer is responsible for putting the flag in, or taking flag from, the stand, or raising/lowering flag from flagpole.
Color Guard – The purpose of the Color Guard of Honor is to protect the flag. Because this requires full attention, the members do not participate in any part of the flag ceremony (singing, speaking, etc.), but stand silently “At Attention.” The Color Guard may consist of any number. Color Guards stand on each side of the Color Bearer and watch to see that the flag does not touch the ground. One or more members may assist the flag bearer in posting/retrieving the flag from the stand/pole. The minimum is one Color (Flag) Bearer and one Color Guard
Caller – The only member of Color Guard to speak. Gives directions to audience and commands to Color Guard.
Line Leaders – Usually part of an outdoor Color Guard. Lead the audience into/out of the desired formation
All children should stand at attention. When you are ready, have the caller begin.
Caller: “Please stand in honor of our flag.” (audience should stand at attention and in silence.)
Caller: “Color Guards attention!” (Color Guards should be standing at attention, eyes on the flag and arms at their sides.)
Caller: “Color Guards advance!” (The Flag Bearer and Color Guards begin walking towards the caller. Color Guards should always be one step behind the Flag Bearer, and should keep an eye on the bottom of the flag to catch it if it looks like it may touch the ground.)
Caller: “Color Guards halt!” (The Flag Bearer and Color Guards stop a few feet in front of the Caller or at an appropriate location.)
Caller: “Color Guards honor your colors!” (The Color Guards place their right hand over their hearts and step back with their right foot and then come back to standing position.)
Caller: “Color Guards present the colors!” (If the audience is behind the color guard, the Flag Bearer and Color Guards turn around to face the audience. Make sure all the children turn to their right side to keep it looking uniform. The flag bearer should step forward so that they are in front if the color guard.)
Caller: “Please join me in the Pledge of Allegiance. I pledge allegiance to the flag…” (All audience members should join in the Pledge. Color Guards stand in silence at attention.)
Caller: “Color Guards post the colors!” (The Flag Bearer brings the flag to wherever the stand is located, usually in the front of the room somewhere, and then returns to position.)
Caller: “Color Guards dismissed!” (The Flag Bearer and Color Guards turn around and walk back to where they began or take their seats.)
Caller: “At ease!” (The rest of the kids are now permitted to break formation and you may continue with your meeting.)
While this is the basic format for a formal flag ceremony. Every ceremony is a little bit different depending on the size and location of your audience, whether a parade flag is being used, or whether you are having an outdoor ceremony using an actual flag pole. Many times you may wish to dress up your ceremonies to make them more meaningful by using songs, poems or other readings. The following pages hold several examples that we found on the internet that you may find useful. With a little searching you could probably find many more as well.