A day for remembrance and tribute. Not just another business opportunity.

Veterans Day is here, and if you’ve turned on a television, opened up a computer, or gone to your mailbox, you’ve probably seen the onslaught of ads, flyers, and marketing messages about Veterans Day sales, discounts, and events.

Many of them sport an image of the Stars and Stripes. However, this practice is discouraged. Why? Many people — especially veterans and their families — see this practice as disrespectful. As trying to profit on the holiday which is meant to honor those who served our country or died for our country.

While it is considered respectful and patriotic to display the U.S. flag on Veterans Day and other holidays, remember there are clear guidelines surrounding proper use of our flag. If you want to educate your community about Veterans Day, go for it. However pay attention to the following rules on using the U.S. flag and keep the true purpose of the holiday top of mind when creating social media posts or Veterans Day marketing campaigns.

Quick guide to Veterans Day marketing best practices

Note: This is not an exhaustive list, but rather basic etiquette. Feel free to contact us with your ideas and best practices for respectful use of the flag.

  1. Use the day to educate your community on the true meaning of Veterans Day: Paying tribute to those who served or died for our freedoms. Do not use the flag for advertising purposes.
  2. Avoid Veterans Day sales campaigns. Instead, consider donating to a Veterans charity.
  3. Follow proper etiquette when using or displaying the U.S. flag, such as: 
    • Only use photos of the flag with the Union (section with the field of blue and white stars) on the top left. Never show the flag reversed, even if it appears to be blowing in the wind.
    • Avoid using images of the flag if it appears wrinkled
    • Never show the flag touching the ground
    • Use extreme caution if someone is “wearing” the U.S. flag. 
    • When the flag is used to cover a casket, the Union should be at the head and over the left shoulder.
    • The flag should not be displayed during inclement weather.
    • The flag should never have anything placed on top of it.
    • The folded flag should only show the Union. No red and white stripes should be visible.
    • Never show a flag flying at full mast on a day flags should be flown at half mast.
    • Always properly dispose of U.S. flags that are worn.

Want more information? Check out these links:

Flag etiquette and history

Farmer’s Almanac on U.S. flag etiquette

Folding the U.S. flag

Infographic on American Flag etiquette

History of the American Flag

Want to donate?

Wounded Warrior veterans’ charity

Homes for Troops

Semper Fi Fund