The Flagpole with Two Halyards and the Intended Direction of Display

DrillMasterAsk DrillMaster, Honor Guard Training, Instructional 7 Comments

Flagpole 2 HalyardsWhen I travel, I am usually aware of flag displays and other ceremonial aspects that many people don’t recognize. In the two pictures above, you can see three flags displayed on a flagpole that has a two halyard system at a rest stop where my wife and I had lunch.

I am posting this to educate people, not call out any one person or a state. The individual(s) who put up these flags had the right idea, but as you can see this is not the way to display the flags. I am standing on the side of the intended direction of display. Notice the American flag on the left side of the pole and the POW/MIA and state flags on the right- but below the American. This is OK, but improvements can be made.

You can see in the picture below how to display flags from a stationary flagstaff/flagpole that has two separate halyards/ropes. The intended direction of display (even if the pole can be seen from 360 degrees) dictates where the flags go. These two illustrations show an intended display in your direction with the AMerican flag to the viewer’s left.

Flag Pole with Two Halyards- Close

The picture above shows the POW/MIA flag flown directly below the American flag. Any flag flown below the American flag on the same halyard can actually be attached to the American flag’s bottom clip.

Flag Pole with Two Halyards- Space

The picture above shows the POW/MIA flag flown with space below the American flag that is required at least at Air Force installations. The AF protocol instruction states that there should be enough space between the flags so that when the flags are at rest, they do not touch.


Comments 7

  1. Question: We are preparing to host a Dedication Ceremony for our new Public Safety Building, which features two flagpoles, each equipped with two halyards. Currently, we have an American flag and a Texas flag, and we plan to add a city flag in the future. Could you advise on the proper protocol for displaying these flags? Thank you.

    1. Post

      Since you have two new flagpoles (Pole 1 and Pole 2), it would be nice to use both and raise the American on Pole 1 (audience’s left) and state flag on Pole 2. In this situation, you should raise them on the same side of each pole (audience’s left, if possible). After the ceremony, you can leave them in their positions or move the state to under the US or on the other halyard (viewer’s right) of Pole 1. Once you get the city flag up, that would fly from Pole 2 on the viewer’s left. If you have a DPS flag, that can fly from Pole 2 (viewer’s right).

      There are many options and you can even fly the POW under the US. If you do that, make sure the POW is about half the size of the US. That creates less stress on the pole, halyard, and pulleys.

      I hope this is helpful, please let me know if you have further questions.

  2. Except (according to the U.S. Flag Code; para 7g), Flags of 2 Nations cannot be on the same pole. Must be different poles of same height.

    1. Post
      1. I’ve worked a few double halyard poles, but have never used the second halyard. My thought is to use it as a back-up if the main rope fails.

        1. Post
          1. Oh, I know. But, it’s up to how the client wants to fly it. I’m ok with their decision, as long as it’s IAW the U.S. Flag Code.

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