National Anthem, U.S. Flag & Pledge of Allegiance Etiquette

National Anthem, U.S. Flag & Pledge of Allegiance Etiquette




Flag etiquette
“While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.” –George Washington

I was taught this etiquette in grade school, but need to review it every once in a while. I know many people younger than me, were not taught these things. So I have compiled the proper etiquette for the playing of the National Anthem, viewing the U.S. Flag, and saying the Pledge of Allegiance. I hope you will find this helpful and maybe even learn something new.

 child with flag


 On June 22, 1942, Congress passed a joint resolution, later amended on December 22, 1942, that encompassed what has come to be known as the U.S. Flag Code. It contains important guideline of how citizens should behave around the Stars and Stripes.  There is also a code for conduct when the National Anthem is playing.US Federal Statute (36 U.S. Code § 301 – National anthem)

 The etiquette for The National Anthem, Pledge of Allegiance and the U.S flag have several thing in common.  We will start with the National Anthem.   When our National Anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, is played, we stand at attention in respect for those who fought and can no longer stand.




National Anthem Etiquette:

  • The composition consisting of the words and music known as the Star-Spangled Banner is the national anthem.
    Conduct During Playing.—During a rendition of the national anthem—
    (1)when the flag is displayed—
    individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note;
    members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute in the manner provided for individuals in uniform; and
    all other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart; and
    when the flag is not displayed, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed.

Other etiquette:

  •  Don’t talk during the anthem.
  • Remove your sunglasses.
  •  Don’t eat or drink during the song. If you’re chewing gum, stop until the anthem has ended. Have nothing in your hands (except a hat); put all electronic devices away including your phone.
  •  Since it’s our nation’s song, we should sing along, but it is not required.  If you do sing, sing at a moderate volume.
  • Something I didn't know, after the song is completed, it’s not proper to applaud.  Applauding goes against the code.  Our National Anthem is a hymn, and we usually don’t applaud after hymns. 

 men in silhouette in front of US Flag

Pledge of Allegiance:

  • When pledging allegiance to the flag, follow the manners of participating in the National Anthem listed above.
  •  Say the Pledge out loud with the rest of those gathered.
  •  Look at the flag as the Pledge is said, and don’t forget to put your right hand over your heart. Placing a hand over the heart during the Pledge of Allegiance is a gesture of respect, honesty, and genuine intention. In many cultures, it signifies that one is not bearing arms and is making an honorable commitment.

U.S. Flag Etiquette:

  •  Any time you’re at an event and the flag passes you, stand up as you see it come into your line of vision. Follow all the protocols of listening to the National Anthem listed above. And remain standing until the flag has passed you and your family or group.

  For more information on Flag etiquette visit


girl running with flag

That seems like a lot, but it mostly comes down to this:  stand at attention, remove your hats, hand over your heart.  We have been blessed by God to live in this country.  Let's honor that by respecting the etiquette and guidelines that have been set up for us.

Have a delightful day


Want something special to celebrate with?  These lovely mugs are inspired by vintage postcards. White mugs have red accent handles and insides. Each 11 oz mug is made from quality ceramics and are dishwasher and microwave safe.  Click on picture to see more.

Patriotic Kids mugs

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This is a good reminder, especially in a culture that is increasingly showing disrespect for the flag, our military, and our police.

Thank you.

One Word #4 – July

Barb Hegreberg

Thank you for this reminder. I have long since known not to applaud after the National Anthem. I have looked many places for this code. I am a teacher and our school is a DAR school. We pride ourselves in Patriotic education. One bit of advice, if I may. Update this lovely article, after you run it through Grammarly and republish it.

Clara Morrison

I learned some etiquette rules that I had never been taught, like removing sunglasses during the anthem. I always like seeing people sing along. Thanks for sharing these, Jodee! Good to be reminded of them.

Lisa notes

These are all good reminders. As soon as God & prayer were taken out of school our children began to lose proper respect & severance.

Barb Hegreberg

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