How to Handle the Texas Flag

Illustration by Steven Noble

There’s no better way to showcase your pride than by flying the Lone Star flag in front of your house on state holidays, but the true Texan knows a thing or two about how to do it correctly. The guidelines for handling the flag were first adopted in 1933 by the Legislature, and they are similar to those for the U.S. flag: it should be flown at night only if it is clearly illuminated; it should never touch the ground; and a tattered flag should be destroyed, preferably by burning. You won’t get fined for breaking these rules, but be mindful that you could lose the respect of your friends. “We get calls all the time from people reporting their neighbors,” says David Sauceda, the assistant sergeant at arms in the House of Representatives, whose office is responsible for the flags that fly over the Capitol, in Austin.

1. When displaying the flag horizontally, the white stripe must be on top, with the blue stripe to the observer’s left. (Fly the flag upside down only to signal distress.)

2. When hanging the flag vertically, the blue stripe should be uppermost, and the white stripe should be to the observer’s left.

3. When flying the U.S. flag and the Texas flag from adjacent poles, the U.S. flag should be to the observer’s left (though it is recommended that both flags be at the same height).

In 2009 state senators Judith Zaffirini and Leticia Van de Putte sponsored legislation on how to fold the flag. Here are the proper steps:

1. Fold in half lengthwise, with the red stripe facing up.

2. Fold in half lengthwise again, with the red stripe concealed on the inside of the fold.

3. With the star facing the ground, fold a corner of the white stripe over to form the edge of a triangle, then continue folding to the opposite end.

4. Tuck in the edge to secure. The flag will be shaped like a triangle, with part of the star showing.

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