American Flag at Half-Mast

Federal laws regarding the proper display and treatment of the U.S. Flag are detailed in Title 36 of the United States Code. The flag is displayed at half mast at federal buildings by order of the President upon the death of a public official. An executive order from a Governor directs the half mast display of state and national flags at state facilities within their jurisdiction.

n 1954, President Eisenhower issued the following standards for half mast displays. This serves as a customary guide for those outside the jurisdiction of executive orders who wish to show their respects. Common observances are:

  • 30 days for President (current or former)
  • 10 days for Vice President, Chief Justice of Supreme Court (current or former), Speaker of the House
  • From day of death until interment for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Secretary of Executive or Military Department, former Vice President, Governor of State, Territory or possession
  • On the day of death and the following day for a member of Congress
  • On Memorial Day (last Monday of May in the U.S.), the flag is traditionally displayed at half mast from dawn until noon and at full mast for the remainder of daylight  

Source

U.S. House of Representatives. "United States Code: Title 36 - Patriotic Societies and Observances." Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.