Maybe it's all those times we recited the Pledge of Allegiance in grade school or the fact that rivals still come together to hear The Star-Spangled Banner before athletic events; perhaps it’s the memory of a fallen soldier or an inspiring history lesson — whatever the reason, we’ve all felt that rush of pride when the American flag is raised high on a sturdy flagpole. You can experience that same reverence at home (and share it with your neighbors) by incorporating a flagpole into your landscape.
The 20-ft. Premium Silver Telescoping Flagpole from The Flagpole Co. that we used for this project makes raising and lowering the flag easy. Here’s an overview of what’s involved in installing a flagpole — a simple process with a big patriotic payoff.
1. Most flagpoles that a homeowner can buy come with specific instructions, but in general, the installation process is the same. Start by marking the location and diameter of the hole; then dig to the required depth. This project called for a hole approximately 16 in. dia. x 24 in. deep. Note: Be sure to have your utility lines marked before digging.
2. Check that you’ve reached the required depth; then spread a small layer of gravel along the bottom of the hole and place the flagpole sleeve on top. Fill in 2 in. of gravel around and inside the sleeve. Check that the sleeve is level and in the center of the hole.
3. Mix up enough concrete to fill the hole. Insert the flagpole into the sleeve; then shovel the concrete into the hole, continually checking to make sure that the pole remains level. Use a dowel to remove any air bubbles from the concrete and then smooth the surface with a trowel. Carefully remove the pole; then cover the concrete with plastic.
4. When the concrete is fully cured, insert the flagpole into the sleeve and add the decorative finial. Attach the flag; then raise it and admire your handiwork.
Everyday Flag Etiquette
Before you go all-in on this project, consider that flying Old Glory comes with some responsibility: You must follow certain standards to ensure that you’re treating the flag with the utmost respect. Here are a few guidelines from the National Flag Foundation.
- Always display the flag with the blue union field up. Only display the flag upside down as a signal of extreme distress.
- The flag may be laundered or dry cleaned as is appropriate for the fabric. Always keep the flag clean to represent the ideals it stands for.
- Replace the flag when it becomes faded or ripped beyond repair.
- Show respect when disposing of an old flag. According to the United States Flag Code, “The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem of display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.” Many community organizations will perform burning ceremonies for retired flags.
- When several flags are flown from the same flagpole, the U.S. flag should always be at the top.
- If displayed at night, the flag must be properly illuminated, meaning the stars and stripes can be seen readily from a reasonable distance.
- During inclement weather (rain, sleet, snow, high winds, etc.), the flag can remain flying if it is made of all-weather material.
- The flag should be raised briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously.