What can go on top of the flag pole?

Discussion in 'Flag Poles' started by jon, Feb 15, 2008.

  1. jon

    jon New Member

    I had a quick question. What is allowed on the top of a flag pole? I have seen eagles, points and trucks, but is there anything else. The only reason I ask is because they just placed a flagpole where I work and there is our symbol on top. It made me wonder, please help...
  2. babs

    babs New Member

    I, too, have the same question... Is there protocol as to what is "allowed" on the top of a flag pole? Any advice is most appreciated. Thanks!
  3. A spear point would not be improper... many smaller US flags on sticks - and school classroom flags and such like have spear finials.

    An improper finial for it would be any religious symbol one such as a cross or 6 pointed star etc

    an eagle one is only usually used with a US flag - so it is more of a unique symbol - where as a spear is used for any flag

    i would also question a company symbol on top a flagpole which is flying the US flag.... after all.... this could be considered as advertising using the flag... which is against US flag code...
    that finial would belong atop a staff which was flying the company flag...

    if flying the company and USA flag on the same pole i would go for a ball finial.. something neutral :)
  4. Cap11C

    Cap11C New Member

    Thanks for the answer...I specifically joined the forum to ask the same question, as several firefighters in my department are interested in replacing the ball finial atop our outside flag poles with firefighter helmets, probably ones painted gold.
  5. Hey Cap welcome!

    Now that is very interesting indeed! - Never heard of that one before.. firefighter hat finials....

    Outside a fire station, that would be pretty cool!

    The fire service I think would be excempt from my above statement about company symbols not being atop the flagpole that bears the US flag.
    The fire service is non profit and therefore I would not consider it as advertising to have the fire hat as a finial on the pole.

    But it would be if for example - Burger King had a burger finial! lol
    (sorry I'm just laughing at how ridiculous that would look !!)

    It is a very unique idea and a nice one... you should go for it i say!
  6. countrydoctor

    countrydoctor New Member

    The principal at our local school has placed an I on tip of the flag pold (I for Iota hifg school) is this a proper item to be placed on the pole ? Or would that be improper or against the US Codes? "countrydoctor"
  7. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Hi, welcome to the forum!

    The principal at our local school has placed an I on tip of the flag pold (I for Iota hifg school) is this a proper item to be placed on the pole ? Or would that be improper or against the US Codes?

    I assume that we're talking about a pole flying the US flag. As far as I know, there is no rule or regulation that says anything about finials on flagpoles in a civilian context. The military services have regulations on the subject, but they do not apply to non-military situations.

    A few of the states have regulations about the finials to be used with their state flags. Maryland, for example, specifies a "buttony cross." However, I think the normal interpretation of this is that it applies when the state flag is flown alone or as the highest flag on the pole. If your school is displaying the state flag under the US flag on the same pole, it's not necessary to follow the state regs.

    I hope this answers your question. Again, welcome aboard!

    Peter Ansoff
  8. Cimerron

    Cimerron New Member

    I wouldn't want to see anything obscene or rediculous on top of a flagpole but there is the First Ammendment to contend with here and I don't see any reason why a company icon or a school initial couldn't be used in this manner. There isn't any law or rule about this that I have ever read but you would have to use your head and good tast in deciding what to put up there other than the usual eagle or ball ect. You will hear from your neighbors and maybe the town or city if you get too far out of line. Pete
  9. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    The reason that most outdoor flagpoles have a simple sphere at the top is to keep the flag from snagging on any sharp point when (that is "when", not "if") the wind blows the flag up towards the top of the pole. For that reason sharp spear points and eagles with wings upward are a very bad idea. Letters of the alphabet with curves at the top are OK. The fireman's helmet is also OK. The letter "I" in my opinion has enough sharp points or corners to snag or rip the flag and I would advise against it. Perhaps a disc of bronze with the letter "I" cut out of it would work as long as it was a sans-serif letter.
  10. Cimerron

    Cimerron New Member

    The "snag factor" is a very good point. I had never thought of that nor heard of it but it's a fact that the flag will get caught on any sharp edge and probably get torn. Very good point and thanks for posting it. pete
  11. matt

    matt New Member

    In Response: Am I the ONLY PERSON...whom was taught in the USMC that the "EAGLE" is ONLY to be atop the Flag Staff during time of war??? And the "BALL" in "PEACETIME"..?????
    I am trying to find this obviously "unwritten" rule in the Flag Code of Ettiquette at no avail......???????
  12. matt

    matt New Member

    Has nobody Else out there ever heard that :.... The "EAGLE" is ONLY and SHOULD be flown atop the Flag during time of "WAR".... The "BALL" is only during "PEACETIME"......This is what I installed into my brainwashed head in my time with the outstanding "U.S.M.C. However I cannot find this rule anywhere...can someone guide me to where it might be written?????
    Thxn. Matt
  13. matt

    matt New Member

    Has nobody out there EVER..... learned that, the "EAGLE" is supposed be flown atop the Falg ONLY during time of "WAR".??
    The Ball lineal,...is for "PEACETIME".... How come I cannot find anyone else whom has ever learned or heard of this before,....I am not that old,....only 52, BUT this was insatalled into my mind and U.S.M.C.way of thinking back in the 70's,.....I still believe this is correct! ???????
  14. Cimerron

    Cimerron New Member

    Good morning Matt;
    Your point is well taken and what the Marine Corp teaches makes sense. The Eagle during war time and the ball in peace time. The Eagle is our national symbol but who chose the ball as the symbol for peace? I always thought that symbol was the Dove. So if we have an Eagle up there during war how about a Dove for peace time?
    The point is that these ideas are not written anywhere that I have found just like the thirteen reasons for the thirteen folds on the American flag. Those thirteen reasons have emerged since the Viet Nam war and although they are not official I see no reason why they shouldn't be honored if you choose to do so. It's the flag that counts not the thingy at the top of the pole.
    Meantime the symbol that appears at the top of YOUR flag pole is really up to you. Personally I like the fierce looking Eagle up there. Kinda looks to me like it's protecting me all the time and if you try to threaten my way of life the Eagle gonna get ya. I'm gonna get ya too. Pete
  15. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    I have been a student of the American flag for 40 years and I have never heard of this requirement. Unless it has been codified by the USMC (or the USN regs)it may be an urban legend, much like the one that says the Eagle on the President's seal and flag looks towards the arrows during wartime and towards the olive branch in peace. THAT one is totally bogus.

  16. Cimerron

    Cimerron New Member

    That's interesting NAVA1974. So I guess we can agree that there is not any prescribed ornament that is or isn't proper at the top of a flagpole. If the USMC wants to teach the Eagle and Ball idea then that's fine. I don't recall that the National Guard (you know,the guys the Marines call in when they get in trouble?) had any recommendation either way.
    I sell one pole that has a great looking Eagle on the top and I've used one of these poles as an outside display for two years now and the flag,3x5,4x6,and 5x8 sized has never gotten caught on the ornament.
    All the rest of the poles that I sell come with the ball, either gold or silver, at the top. Now that I think about it most of the poles I've seen around here have the ball on top but that's probably a result of the cost of the Eagle more than anything else.
    The Eagle on my twenty foot pole costs $50 and a higher pole would have a bigger Eagle than mine so the cost of the Eagle on say a thirty foot pole could easily add a hundred bucks to the price.
    AS for which way the Eagle looks at any given time,that seems to be folk legend so far. I think right now the Eagle is zeroing in on Congress and believe me I'd hate to be one of those guys in November. The Eagle gonna get ya Mr. congessman.
  17. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

  18. Cimerron

    Cimerron New Member

    Yes one could. Now if one did go look it up what would one find that pertaines to the ornament at the top of a flag pole? Pete
  19. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    "Balls!", said the Queen. "If I had 'em, I'd be KING!!!" :D

    I go for a walk around my neighborhood almost every morning. Within the different areas that I cover on my walks there are a LOT of flagpoles. Some have finials in the shape of eagles, some have balls, and some of them have no finials at all. :cool:

    War and Peace, or nothing at all?

    So far, if I'm right on top of it, the way I'm reading this thread tells me that Americans are at Peace with themselves and the Republicans are at War with the Americans. But then that would be confusing Politics with Patriotism, and we SURE wouldn't want to do THAT !!! I mean, after all, when it comes to those "flow-thru" Tea-Baggers, you can see right through them !!! :eek:

    So..... I'll be on my way now.....

    Robin "Neither Eagle-ish Nor Ball-ish, But Pole-ish" Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
  20. Cimerron

    Cimerron New Member

    Good one Robin. However these days a King can be a Queen and vicey vercey. Ha!
    And your right too about what you will see at the top of any pole so is there an answer to the question or not? I just can't find any place where the question is discussed except for here so I'm assuming that what you put at the top of your flag pole is whatever turns you on. Personally I like the Eagle best, war or no war. Pete

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