Posting the Colors Outside

DrillMasterColor Guard/Color Team 4 Comments

Let’s get this out of the way, when asked to formally post the colors in stands outside, don’t. Just don’t do it. Let’s look closely.

Most every colors presentation should not be a posting. Posting the colors is for a formal situation and an outside ceremony either should have the color guard itself post (standing off to the side) or just enter, formally present for the anthem, and then depart without posting the flags. This type of presentation is called a Show-n-Go and should be the most common sequence for the color guard. See All About Posting and Presenting the Colors.

Outside? Pre-Post.

Every public event should have an American flag displayed somewhere. Since the ceremony is outside, is there a flagpole nearby? If so, that requirement is covered. If not, you may want to pre-post an American flag with some heavy weight around the stand. Having a color guard come in to formally present and then leave is perfectly acceptable.

Low-neck flag stand

High-neck flag stand

Back yard umbrella stand

The trouble with the low-neck stand is that it does not adapt well to being outside, even if heavily weighted, since there is little support for the staff. This can be remedied by adding a tube (see Color Guard Flag Stand Problems Resolved). The high-neck stand has a bit better stability, but still cannot handle wind gusts. What may be best is a backyard umbrella stand that can be filled with quite a bit of sand.


The photo at the top is the weight and stand system used in and around Washington DC. This particular photo is of President Kennedy’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery where the flags are posted for the day to commemorate his birthday.

Even better. Years ago, the 3rd US Infantry, The Old Guard, did wind tunnel tests using the high-neck stands and placing two 45-lbs barbell plate weights over the neck. It looks neat and clean and provides a good base to support the flag in windy conditions.

Fringe and Streamers

For the preposted flag… No fringe. Fringe frays easily. Fringe attached to the American flag goes against the Flag Code anyway (see Flag Fringe and Finial Theory). An embroidered rayon banner material will be destroyed in windy conditions. Use nylon, 2-ply poly or Supratex. Also no streamers, for the same reason: once they get frayed a bit by the wind, they turn into a ball of thread. And they bleed if it rains.

DeVaughn Simper, Vexillologist (Professor Flag), contributed significantly to this article. Visit

Comments 4

  1. Hello, My name is Valerie, and I saw a Presser of Mr. Biden; standing at a podium, acting-out words, in front of gold-fringed flag, with red and white tassels. I have some knowledge about the gold-fringe meaning, but the red and white tassels are new. Any idea what those foreign tassels represent?
    THIS in My Our American Flag

    1. Post
      1. Drill Master,
        I am the Army ROTC SMI( Senior Military Instructor), and I have to do a TriMilitary Color Guard between two universities. What kind of advice could you give?

        MSG Jeffery L. Campbell

        Senior Military Science Instructor

        University of Wisconsin- Madison Army ROTC

        1910 Linden Dr., Madison WI 53706

        3rd Brigade ROTC

        1. Post

          MSG Campbell,

          Army is the senior service, so TC 3-21.5 applies. Your right rifle guard, US color bearer, and Army departmental color bearer will be Army ROTC cadets, second senior service departmental/organizational color bearer, and then third senior color bearer. The left rifle guard is the second senior service cadet.
          Staffs must all be equal in length. If Midshipmen are part of the color guard, they are only authorized to carry the 4’4″x5’6″ color mounted on 9’6″ staff. That means everyone must carry the same size flags and staffs.
          If one service does not have battle streamers, none of them service colors can have them mounted. The red, white, and blue cord and tassels is authorized for the national and the USMC color should have the maroon and gold cord and tassels mounted as well (in place of the streamers).
          Please let me know if you have any further questions. I shoot you an email.


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