What dates do we fly the flag in May?

May 2, 2015

"Allies Day, May 1917" -- 1917 oil on canvas by Childe Hassam; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

“Allies Day, May 1917” — 1917 oil on canvas by Childe Hassam; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Allies Day is no longer celebrated.

May has three days designated for flying the U.S. flag out of the specific days mentioned in the U.S. Flag Code, and three statehood days, when residents of those states should fly their flags.

Interestingly, the three designated days all float, from year to year:

  • Mother’s Day, second Sunday in May (May 10, in 2015)
  • Armed Forces Day, third Saturday in May (May 16)
  • Memorial Day, the last Monday in May (May 25)

Residents of these states celebrate statehood; South Carolina and Wisconsin share May 23:

  • Minnesota, May 11 (1858, the 32nd state)
  • South Carolina, May 23 (1788, the 8th state)
  • Wisconsin, May 23 (1848, the 30th state)
  • Rhode Island, May 29 (1790, the last of the 13 original colonies to ratify the Constitution)

This year President Obama issued a proclamation calling on citizens to fly the flag on May 1, Law Day (I missed that one).

May 8 marks the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, the day the Axis Powers in Europe surrendered at the end of World War II.  Some years that day is marked by a proclamation calling for flag flying.  (You may fly your flag then even if Congress and the President do nothing.)

In recent years President Obama has proclaimed May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day, with flags to fly at half-staff. We might expect another such declaration in 2015.

May 22 is National Maritime Day, under a Joint Resolution from Congress from 1933. President Obama may be expected to proclaim that day as a day to fly the flag, too.

Gee, eleven events on ten days to fly the U.S. flag.  May could be quite busy for flag fliers.

  1. Law Day, May 1
  2. Victory in Europe Day, May 8
  3. Mothers Day, May 10
  4. Minnesota Statehood, May 11
  5. Peace Officers Memorial Day, May 15 (half-staff flags)
  6. Armed Forces Day, May 16
  7. National Maritime Day, May 22
  8. South Carolina Statehood, AND Wisconsin Statehood, May 23
  9. Memorial Day, May 25
  10. Rhode Island Statehood, May 29

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