Whatever happened to …

… flag etiquette?

July 1 was a terrific experience in Canada. There was red and white everywhere which is a bit of an oddity.  We don’t typically go this nuts over things.  But, being the 150th anniversary, it was special and most people wanted to be a part of it.

And yet, as a former Boy Scout, there were things that were just wrong.

At every meeting, we would fold the flag and pull it to the top of the pole where a tug on the lower end would cause the fold to break and the flag would be there to fly over the meetings.


Learning respect for the flag was an integral part of learning about country.  Some of the things that we learned that I still remember:

  • flags shouldn’t be flown at night
  • a flag should never touch the ground
  • there are rules for placement of flags when flown in conjunction with flags from other countries
  • the Canadian flag should always be flown by itself on a staff and never in conjunction with any other flag

Over times, some things have changed.  The one that comes to mind is about flying the flag at night.  It’s probably a practical thing since some would have to take charge of raising or lowering it.

There is one acceptable reason for a flag to be flown in other than a respectful manner; flying a flag upside down is known as a distress signal.

But, many of the others remain.  The government does have Rules for flying the National Flag of Canada.  There’s even more information in this article.

What are your thoughts?

  • Do you know your flag etiquette?
  • Do you have a flag flying at your home?
  • Does your school observe appropriate flag etiquette?
  • Where does a student today learn about flag etiquette?
  • Can you remember what the National Flag of Canada was before our current maple leaf design?

As always, for a Sunday, I’d be very interested in your comments.  Please take a moment to share them?


One comment

  1. Taking me back to my days at the Mackenzie King Estate in the Gatineau Hills. We had to raise and lower the Red Ensign (to be historically accurate) every day…and we had to do it right. Worse ways to spend a fall in the Gatineau Hills than working on your flag etiquette at a gorgeous spot on a small lake. I’m also a former Girl Guide, and have done lots of flag ceremonies at camp. My poor kids, with me and a dad who’s a former Canadian Forces reservist – they know all the flag rules.


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