How to Run a Flag up a Flagpole

A flag on a flagpole.
What You'll Need

There is a ceremony attached to raising and lowering a flag on a flagpole, but the process is always the same. Below are some steps that will help you learn how to run up a flag.

Step 1 - Take the Flag to the Pole

When lowered, a flag is always folded and taken to a safe place to be stored. When you want to raise the flag, remove it from its storage place.

Step 2 - Prepare the Halyard

The halyard is the rope, usually of braided nylon, from which the flag is suspended. It contains two snap hooks that you place into loops specially fitted to the backing of the flag. When the flag is not flying, you should connect these two hooks so the halyard is secure.

Unwind the halyard from the cleat, which is a metal receptacle for the loose end of the halyard. Separate the hooks and be careful not to drop them.

Step 3 - Attach the Flag

Attach the flag to the halyard snap hooks. Be sure to connect the top of the flag to the top halyard snap hook. Flying the flag inverted is internationally recognized as a distress signal.

Step 4 - Release the Flag

While keeping hold of both sides of the halyard, release the flag. Pull down slowly on the side of the halyard that does not have the flag fitted to it. Allow the other side of the halyard to run through your hand, and you will raise the flag.

Raise the flag to the truck. The truck is the highest point to which you can raise the flag. The truck also contains a pulley the halyard travels around to ensure a smooth elevation of the flag.

If there is a day of national mourning, you will raise the flag to the truck, then lower it to a position halfway down the flagpole. This practice is known as flying the flag at half-mast.

Step 5 - Secure the Halyard to the Cleat

Secure the halyard to the cleat with two or three figure eight turns. Take the last turn between the pole and the halyard above the cleat.

Step 6 - Consider the Anthem and Other Details

A rendition of the national anthem usually accompanies the raising and lowering of a flag. But this is not always so when you run the flag up a home flagpole. Many civilians, though, have adopted the military honor to the flag of standing to attention and saluting.

The correct times to raise and lower a flag are at dawn and at sunset. It is becoming more usual to raise and lower flags at the start and end of the working day. If you leave a flag flying overnight, you must illuminate it.