Flag Etiquette During Missions & Flag Line Protocol Are As Follows:
1. Never let the US Flag touch the ground. Folks sometimes are not aware that their bike mounted flag is touching. If your flag is mounted on a trailer hitch type mount, load the bike as you would when riding and have a friend check where the lower tip of the flag is settled when the bike is stopped then adjust the mount or length of the staff to ensure the flag does not touch. Then, lean your bike on its sidestand and ensure the US Flag does not touch the ground while leaning over.
2. When riding at highway speeds ensure the flag is mounted and designed for these forces. 60 MPH can easily rip a flag to pieces in a short period of time and break a wood or aluminium pole.
3. When walking with the 3'X'5" flag under your arm, ensure that it is not touching the ground. This practice is seen far too often after a mission is completed and folks are walking back to the vehicle that hauled the flags.
4. When holding a flag in a flag line, DO NOT render a salute. The American flag is in fact the equivalent of the honoring salute. If you feel compelled to salute, ask someone to hold your flag, come to attention and render the salute. (NOTE: Only military personnel and Veterans are authorized to render a hand salute. Civilians and non-Veterans should place their hands over their hearts).
5. The American flag shall NEVER be dipped or lowered when held in a flag line. Make every effort to hold the flag upright at all times.
Flag Placement on Motorcycles
US Flag Only
If only the US Flag is on your bike, it should either be at the center, or to its "marching right" - on the right side of the motorcycle to the rider's perspective when facing forward.
US Flag And One Other Flag Of Any Type
If the US Flag is on your bike with another, it should be to its "marching right" - on the right side of the motorcycle to the rider's perspective. If the other flag is that of another nation, it should be the same size and at the same height of the US Flag - NO flag should ever be displayed higher than the US Flag.
US Flag And More Than One Other Non-National Flag
If the US Flag is on your bike with several other non-national flags (POW/MIA, ALR, Eagles, Service Banners, etc.), the US Flag should be at center and higher than any of the other flags.
US Flag And More Than One Flag Including Those Of Other Nations
If the US Flag is displayed on your bike with those of any other nation, the flags should be same size and at the same height, with the US Flag to marching right (right side of the vehicle), and others arranged in alphabetical order to the left. Other flags should be arranged in order of decreasing importance - Nations first, states (in order of admittance) and territories second, military third (in order of establishment), and then any others. Again, no flag should fly higher than the US Flag, but the US Flag should be no higher than that of any other nations displayed.
Since the small bike flags we use are all but invisible from the front (when mounted on the rear), the concept of "Flag's own right" should be used with the vantage from the rear of the bike. (This would place the Flag on the on left-hand, rear of your bike). This concept, unfortunately, overlooks a more applicable concept.
If you equate the motion of your bike with marching, and you equate traffic with a procession, another portion of the Flag Code becomes the obvious choice for display of the Flag alone, or with another:
Rule 9: "The Flag, when carried in a procession with another flag or flags, should be either on the marching right; that is, the Flag's own right, or, if there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line."
The second portion of this rule does not work well with most motorcycles, since there usually is no means to mount the Flag in front (in the direction of travel) of the others if all flags are to be mounted at the rear of the bike. In this case, we rely on:
Rule 10: "The Flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of States or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs." Included in this would be POW/MIA flags and American Legion Riders flags.
Finally, if you are displaying another country's flag along with the US Flag, they both should be at the same height and the same size, and the US Flag should be displayed on the right side (again, marching right). This is basically Rule 11: "When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace.
The order of precedence for flags generally is National flags (US first, then others nations alphabetically ordered in English), State (host state first, then others in the order of admission) and territories (Washington DC, Puerto Rico, etc.), Military (in order of establishment: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard), then others."
Flag Line Protocol
The flag line is a chance for the community to see that there IS support for the soldier that gave all for all of us. We do this as a sign of respect and honor. We have received a consensus from all branches of the military and PD and FD for the protocols that we use. While stationed on the flag line the following rules need to be followed.
1. You will see Ride Captains walking around without flags. They are working the mission tasks or distributing water. Please let them continue and if they ask you, assist them as needed.
2. Please no talking, if you must, keep it to a whisper or leave the flag line
3. Do not walk while unrolling the flag, this should be done before leaving the flag truck
4. Do not walk while rolling up the flag, wait until you reach the flag truck
5. If you need to leave the flag line then either have someone else hold your flag or take it back to the flag truck (see leaving the flag line procedures below)
6. Stand Tall and silent
7. Turn cell phone off or on vibrate.
8. No smoking at any time that you have a flag or if you standing near someone with a flag, if you have to smoke please leave the flag line area to a secluded location
9. No moving around unless you are leaving the flag line
10. Keep the flag pole vertical at all times, do not dip it or tilt it in any way. The American flag does not bow or dip to anything.
11. Please hold the flag on your right hand side. Members of the family, guest and military may walk the flag line to thank the holders. Switch the flag to left hand when necessary to shake hands.
12. If you do not have a flag, then you can stand tall an silent between other flag holders
13. When a salute is given by the military, stand at attention. If you are in the flag line you are considered to be at a salute when holding the flag.
14. If you are in the flag line and are not holding a flag please follow the military's command to salute or place your hand on your heart, or if you are military or veteran you may present a hand salute. On some occasions, a PGR ride captain will call the PGR to attention, please follow their lead.
15. If at a funeral service, memorial service, or cemetery service whether on a flag line or not, do NOT start or move your motorcycle or cage while the service is going on. Please wait until after the stand-down is issued by the mission Lead Ride Captain
16. If you know that you must leave during the mission before a stand-down is issued then you must park you vehicle far enough away so that it cannot be seen or heard when it is moved. At a cemetery, a quarter mile or more may be required.
17. During an in-door service, once the service has started and the guest are inside a stand-down will be issued for the flag line outside. Shortly before the service concludes the flag line may be reformed. During this time at-ease, relax, have some water but do not disturb the service. A forward advance team may move to the cemetery during this time.
18. When a stand-down is issued, continue to hold the flag vertical until you reach the flag truck, only then should you roll up the flag (do not let it touch the ground)
19. When rolling up the flag take pole bottom off and turn both into truck...
20. Stand Tall
21. Stand Silent
23. follow the person in front of you or the Ride Captain
24. The PGR Mission Lead RC may call attention (Ah-tin-hut) Stand straight.
25. The PGR Mission Lead RC may call for a salute (present arms) follow the salute instructions above.
"Standing for those who stood for us."