Flag Ceremonies and Federal Flag Code
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Curiosity Untamed promotes patriotism in all of our members. Knowing how to perform a flag ceremony correctly, as well as how to properly handle a flag is one of the most important skills a member can learn as it shows respect on honor for our country. We encourage our members to volunteer their time to perform formal flag ceremonies for community events, but you must be able to do it correctly and with proper respect.
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. Leads the audience into/out of the desired formation
All participants 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 everyone turns to their right side to keep it looking uniform. The flag bearer should step forward so that they are in front of 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 color guard is now permitted to break formation and you may continue with your meeting.)
Make sure that your caller speaks loudly and with authority, giving the audience and color guard enough time to react to each command.
Each flag that is carried should have one person who bears the flag and at least one who guards it (color guard). The American Flag is always given the place of honor and leads the color guard. If carried in a line it should be on its own right. When displaying the American flag, make sure that it is to the right of the staging area, while other flags are placed on the left. The American flag should always be at the center and at the highest point when a group of flags are displayed together. The color guard’s job is to help the flag bearer in any way needed and to make sure that the American flag does not touch the ground. The color guard and flag bearers do not talk or sing during the ceremony but stand at attention.
You may choose to enhance a flag ceremony with music, poetry, or readings. If so, do this portion of the ceremony after the flag is presented to the audience and before it is posted. A variety of sample pieces you may wish to use for your ceremonies are listed for your convenience. Many of these were taken from the internet and the author is not known. If you know the author, please notify us so that proper credit can be given.
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
Poems and Readings for Customized Flag Ceremony
Discover Poetry: https://discoverpoetry.com/poems/patriotic-poems/
Commentary on the Pledge of Allegiance by Red Skelton
View Samples of a flag ceremony performed by Frontier Girls troop #101 (youtube)