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I'm trying to find out the protocol for a flag procession involving the American flag and several other countries during an international convention. The National Anthem will not be played ...
  1. #1
    dliston Guest

    Default Protocol for Flag Procession

    I'm trying to find out the protocol for a flag procession involving the American flag and several other countries during an international convention. The National Anthem will not be played during the procession so do the civilians in the audience still place their hands over their hearts or do they simply stand at attention (no salute)?

  2. #2
    sarahw Guest

    Default Flag Procession

    Hello,

    This is a great question! According to the Army's rules about heraldic activities (which runs a full 82 pages), the American flag always comes first in a procession of flags, followed by the flags of other nations in alphabetical order by their English names. If people who aren't carrying flags are also marching in the procession, the flag should be to the right of the marchers.

    As for those in the audience, it is appropriate to salute the flag during a procession, even if the anthem isn't played. That means military personnel in uniform should salute, while civilians and those not in uniform should place their hands on their hearts. And, of course, if you have a hat on, remove it and place it over your heart.

    I hope this is helpful.

    Sarah

  3. #3
    nselting Guest

    Default Re: Protocol for Flag Procession query

    Sarah,
    In regard to the question on procession, I'm aware that the American flag, when processing with other flags into a building, goes in first. Does that protocol hold on the reverse, when leaving the building, that the American flag goes out first? I am assuming that is correct. My reason for the question is that when our flag is flown with other flags, the American flag is raised first but lowered last. Just clarifing the order for procession.
    Thank you
    nselting

  4. #4
    Peter Ansoff is offline USA Flag Site Admin
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    Default Re: Protocol for Flag Procession

    American flag, when processing with other flags into a building, goes in first. Does that protocol hold on the reverse, when leaving the building, that the American flag goes out first? . . .My reason for the question is that when our flag is flown with other flags, the American flag is raised first but lowered last.

    Hmm. It seems to me that there are two possible scenarios here, and I'm not sure which one you are describing.

    Scenario 1: A procession of people is carrying flags, and the procession is marching into and out of a building (say, through a ceremonial hallway and into a courtyard or something). In this case the order of the flags is the same regardless of whether they're entering or leaving the building. The US flag comes first, followed by other national flags in alphabetical order.

    Scenario 2: A ceremony of some kind is held inside a building, with the flags on display. At the end of the ceremony, the flags are "retired" by being carried out of the building one at a time. Once each flag has been carried out, its role in the ceremony is over, just like the case you describe of lowering flags on flagpoles one at a time. In this case, it would seem reasonable that the flags would be retired in reverse order of precedence, with the US flag retiring last. If, however, the flags are carried out in a procession that continues out the door and down the street, then we're back to Scenario 1 and the US flag should come first.

    Hope this helps . . .

    Peter Ansoff

  5. #5
    nselting Guest

    Default Re: Protocol for Flag Procession

    Peter
    Thank you for the reply. I should have been more specific with my query-- I believe the second scenario would apply. I'm refering to a patriotic organization ceremony (session) where, I believe there are 3 flags in procession into the room.(American, State and Organization). They are then "posted" until the end of the session, then "retired" again, in procession, out of the room, not out of the building or onto the street. The reverse order with the American flag processing out last seems appropriate in this case.
    nselting

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