When do you lower the flag to half mast?

Normal protocol is to fly the flag at half mast to commemmorate the death of a public figure or on certain holidays such as Memorial Day.

When flying a flag at half mast, it should be raised to full height and then lowered to half mast. When lowering a flag that is at half mast, raise it to full height and then lower it.

In the United States, 4 USC section 7(m) specifies that the flag should be flown at half mast:
  • Upon the death of a president or former president of the US, for thirty days
  • Upon the death of a current vice-president, chief justice, or speaker of the house, for ten days
  • Upon the death of an associate justice of the supreme court, a cabinet or military secretary, a governor or a former vice-president, from death until interment
  • Upon the death of a member of congress, for that day and the following day
  • On Memorial Day, until noon
  • Whenever the president issues a proclamation that it should be done (state governors can proclaim a half-mast day in their own states as well); traditionally this is done at least on Pearl Harbor Day (December 7) and on September 11, though the president or governor may choose to order additional ones as deemed proper
  • On May 15 (Peace Officers Memorial Day), unless that day is also Armed Forces Day
  • On the day of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service, usually the first Sunday in October


Strictly speaking, this applies only to the US flag; however, since no other flag may be flown above the US flag, in practice it affects state and local flags and banners also.
Normal protocol is to fly the flag at half mast to commemmorate the death of a public figure or on certain holidays such as Memorial Day.

When flying a flag at half mast, it should be raised to full height and then lowered to half mast. When lowering a flag that is at half mast, raise it to full height and then lower it.

In the United States, 4 USC section 7(m) specifies that the flag should be flown at half mast:
  • Upon the death of a president or former president of the US, for thirty days
  • Upon the death of a current vice-president, chief justice, or speaker of the house, for ten days
  • Upon the death of an associate justice of the supreme court, a cabinet or military secretary, a governor or a former vice-president, from death until interment
  • Upon the death of a member of congress, for that day and the following day
  • On Memorial Day, until noon
  • Whenever the president issues a proclamation that it should be done (state governors can proclaim a half-mast day in their own states as well); traditionally this is done at least on Pearl Harbor Day (December 7) and on September 11, though the president or governor may choose to order additional ones as deemed proper
  • On May 15 (Peace Officers Memorial Day), unless that day is also Armed Forces Day
  • On the day of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service, usually the first Sunday in October


Strictly speaking, this applies only to the US flag; however, since no other flag may be flown above the US flag, in practice it affects state and local flags and banners also.