US Military Service Flags Displayed In A Circle

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Flag Discussion' started by FlagAdvocate, Apr 4, 2019.

  1. FlagAdvocate

    FlagAdvocate Member

    While visiting a veterans' memorial cemetery recently, I found a flag display that intrigued me. Right in the middle of the cemetery there is a tall US flag pole surrounded by a circle by lower flag poles of equal height flying the five military service flags. The service flags appear to be positioned randomly in that circle.

    According to the US Department of Defense Directive 1005.8 these military service flags should be arranged in the following order of precedence, from left to right, or front to back: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. BUT, when displayed in a circle, where should the Army flag be positioned to start the order, and in which direction, clockwise of counter clockwise, should the other service flags be arranged in their proper order of precedence? There are no monuments or plaques within, or just outside, the circle of service flags to indicate the "front" of this display, and as stated above, the display is in the middle of the cemetery, so it is viewed from all directions.

    I would like input from Forum members so that I can be confident when I attempt to advise the cemetery staff. Borrowing from the "north or east honor point" principle Peter Ansoff described in responding to another of my posts, my initial thoughts are to recommend the Army flag be positioned north of the center US flag pole, and arrange the rest of the military service flags in a clockwise direction. I would appreciate your input.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2019
  2. FoxValleyMike

    FoxValleyMike Member

    I think what you are describing makes the most logical sense. I don't know that there is a good set of guidelines for a circular flag display. Frankly outside of the ring of US flags around the Washington Monument in DC I cant think of many circular displays. I've seen plenty of semi-circular displays with a US flag in the middle but I think those can be treated more or less like a straight line display.

    Starting with the north pole in the circle for the Army flag and continuing clockwise at least has some logic to it.
  3. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    My first thought when reading the first paragraph, was starting with the Army Flag on the flagpole that was closest to "North".

    Using the North "Honor Point" for the Army Flag, then going "Clockwise" with the other Service Flags (in descending order) seems to make the most sense to me. There may be a "better" answer, but I sure can't think of what it might be. Maybe in relation to where the entrance (front) to the cemetery is?

  4. FlagAdvocate

    FlagAdvocate Member

    Thanks Mike and Robin for your input. I also contacted the American Legion's flag expert Jeff Hendricks who recommended:

    A way of accomplishing your goal would be to place service flags in the correct order starting at North and run them counter clockwise around the circle with the flag of the United States in the center of the circle on a taller staff. The correct order, of course, being: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard.

    Jeff L. Hendricks

    Deputy Director, Americanism Division
    The American Legion, National Headquarters
    Indianapolis, Indiana

    When asked for clarification, the reason he recommends the service flags be ordered counter clockwise is a viewer standing north of the Army flag, looking south on approach to the flag display, would expect to see the the service flags ordered to the right (thus in a counter clockwise fashion).

    The National VFW's flag expert, Tammy Beauchamp concurs with Jeff Hendricks that the service flags should be ordered in a counter clockwise direction: If arranged counter clockwise, that makes the most sense to me.

    Tammy Beauchamp
    Coordinator, Programs
    VFW National Headquarters
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2019

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