Star Quality

When hedge-fund billionaire Steven A. Cohen bought Jasper Johns’ 48-star Flag recently, tongues in the art world were wagging. The selling price for the 1954 work? An estimated $110 million, The New York Times reported.

As Flag Day and the Fourth of July approach, it’s good to remember that flying the Stars and Stripes doesn’t require a Wall Street salary — just a little respectful protocol. Following are the generally accepted basics of U.S. flag etiquette.

  •  Display the flag only between sunrise and sunset. It may be displayed at night if illuminated.
  •  Do not fly the flag in inclement weather.
  •  Whether the flag is hung vertically or horizontally, the stars should be visible on the upper left-hand side.
  •  Don’t let the flag touch the ground.
  •  When flags of two or more countries are displayed together, they should be flown from separate staffs of equal height. The flags should be about equal in size.
  •  Damaged and worn flags should not be shown. They should be destroyed in a dignified way. Most American Legion Posts conduct a dignified flag-burning ceremony, often on Flag Day (June 14).
  •  When not on display, flags should be folded into a triangle, which symbolizes the tricorn hats worn by Colonial soldiers in the Revolutionary War. (Flag-folding instructions:
  •  The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. It’s flown upside down only as a distress signal.
  •  The flag should not be used as a drapery or for decoration. Blue, white, and red-striped bunting is available for decorative purposes.
  • The blue stripe of the bunting should be on the top.