The Alternative to Half-Staff

Black Mourning Ribbon

Unable to Fly Your Flag at Half-Staff?

Just as there are exceptions to every rule, there are circumstances that prevent some flag flyers from observing half-staff notifications. For example, house-mounted flags, flags mounted to flagpoles that are too short, or flags that are hung on flat surfaces may not be capable of flying at half-staff.

Such circumstances leave many people feeling like they are unable to honor and mourn with the rest of the nation. This is not necessarily the case.

Though not mentioned in the U.S. Flag Code, there is a long-standing tradition of using black ribbons to signify mourning akin to flying the flag at half-staff.

Traditional Guidelines

One streamer of black ribbon, approximately twice the length of the hoist (the short side of the flag), approximately the width of the stripes, and made of either crepe paper or fabric ribbon can be attached below the finial at the top of the flagpole. For American flags that are displayed on flat surfaces, attach one length of streamer at each of the top corners of the flag. Be mindful, however, not to attach the ribbon to the flag itself.

Again, this is not a practice that is specified in the United States Flag Code, but it is a practice rooted in tradition and honor.

Photo call!

Send us your pictures of black ribbon observations, American flags, flagpoles, ropes, or other accessories! We would be honored to feature your photography in our blog or on Facebook. Remember, photos of damaged flags and accessories are valuable, too.

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Have a great day, from your friends at LIBERTY FLAGS, The American Wave®.

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