Flag Sizes to Match the Day

June and July are patriotic months of the calendar year.  In Great Britain June 15th was celebrated last week as the Queen’s official birthday, which this year also happened to be Flag Day in Denmark.  Actually, Estonia, Sweden, Finland and Romania also have their Flag Day celebrations in June.  Canadians celebrate July 1st each year as their great national holiday, known as Canada Day in English and Fête du Canada in French, and the 14th of July will be celebrated as the Fête National or Bastille Day in France.

In the United States the period from Flag Day, June 14th to Independence Day, July 4th is “Flag Season” for flag retailers like Colonial Flag Company.  As a matter of fact in Utah the period is extended from July 4th for an addition ten days to Pioneer Day on July 24th.  I explained to a customer waiting for service that Flag Week at a flag store is like the 23rd of December at the North Pole.

Yes, June and July are months to celebrate with all flags flying.  What do you do, however, if you have a flag pole at home and fly the flag daily?  When others fly the flag only on designated holidays, how can an American who flies the flag daily fly the flag in a special way on a patriotic holiday?

Military installations fly the flag daily, but they observe holidays with a special holiday version of the U.S. flag.  Its size makes it special.  The military actually fly three different sizes depending on the day and the weather conditions.  The Post Flag, which measures ten by nineteen feet, is flown daily from the main flagpole at military posts.  If the weather is foul, a smaller storm flag, measuring five by nine and one half feet is flown.  If it becomes wet in rain or snow, it can more easily be hung out to dry.  On a holiday, however, a special flag is called for and the Garrison Flag, measuring twenty by thirty-eight feet flies from the main flag pole at U.S. military installations.

Actually, this flag display practice is similar to the tradition in Norway.  The Norwegians have three sizes of flags: the storm flag, the daily flag and the holiday flag.  Rather than describe these flags by measurement alone, they are defined by the ratio of the flag’s length to the height of the flagpole where the flag will be displayed.  The holiday flag has a length one half of the height of the flagpole.  The daily use flag has a length of one third of the flagpole’s height, and the storm flag’s length is one fifth the flagpole’s height.

In the U.S. a tall flagpole is needed to fly the a Garrison flag which is thirty-eight feet long.  In Norway, by comparison, a seventy-five foot flagpole would fly a holiday flag measuring about 37 feet in length.  However, a shorter pole of say 20 feet in height would be able to fly a holiday flag that would have a length of ten feet and would thus be much more manageable.  A Norwegian flag pole of any height could fly a storm flag, a daily use flag or a holiday flag as appropriate.

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With modern all weather flags made of nylon or polyester, I don’t worry about flying a storm flag at my home because these fabrics dry out quickly after a sudden rain shower.  My home flagpole is tall enough to fly a four by six foot flag daily.  On flag holidays I like to fly a larger flag, my version of a Garrison Flag or a Holiday Flag.  What size flag do I fly on holidays?  Ironically, perhaps, it is the size of a military Storm Flag, but with a length of nine and a half feet, it is large enough on my pole to look festive following the Norwegian tradition.  When Norwegians and Americans fly red, white and blue national flags they and we are saying the same thing—in the words of the Norwegian National Anthem—“Ja, vi elsker dette landet or translated into English, “Yes, we love this land.”  Indeed we do.

2 Responses to “Flag Sizes to Match the Day

  • jason jensen
    6 years ago

    i went another direction with this concept. not knowing anything about different flags on different days, i decided to make sure i had an additional flag that was different from my daily flyer. i try to fly my 5×8 stars and stripes every day. on holidays, like the 4th of july, i fly my 5×8 betsy ross. occasionally i will fly another flag below them (gasdsen). i have received many compliments about both flags and i hope it has inspired them to fly a flag in their yard.

  • I like your style. I too fly flags to match the day. See the Flag-Post.com article “Flags to Match the Holiday.”

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