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Flag Ceremonies

Flag Ceremonies
Honoring the American Flag

A flag ceremony honors the American flag as the symbol of our country and all the hopes, dreams, and people it consists of. If your group includes girls from other countries, girls can honor their flags, too, and conduct an international flag ceremony. Flag ceremonies may be used for:

Girl Scout FlagA variety of flags can be ordered from the Girl Scouts Official Online Store.

Flag ceremonies may take place in meeting rooms, outdoor settings, large auditoriums, on stage, even on horseback. All flag ceremonies share one thing—respect for the flag.

Flag Ceremony Guidelines

Keep it simple. Emphasis needs to be on respect for the flag rather than on the commands or techniques. Adults can ask girls these questions when planning:

  1. Who will carry the flag?
  2. Who will be the color guards?
  3. Who will give the directions for the ceremony?
  4. What song will be sung? Who will sound the pitch and start the song?
  5. Will a poem or quotation be included? Who will say or read it?
  6. After the Pledge of Allegiance, will the Girl Scout Promise and the Law be said?
  7. In what order will the parts of the ceremony take place?
  8. When will the group practice?
  9. Where will the flags be placed at the end of the ceremony?

Terms Used in a Flag Ceremony

The color bearer (or flag bearer) is the person who carries the flag. There is one color bearer for each flag used in the ceremony.

The color guard is a team that guards the flags. Any even number of guards may be used, but usually four or six girls are sufficient.

The Girl Scout in charge (or caller) is a designated Girl Scout who announces or calls each part of the ceremony.

Possible Commands for a Flag Ceremony

"Girl Scouts, attention." Used to announce that the flag ceremony is to begin.

"Color guard, advance." This signals the color guard to advance with the flags, or advance to pick up the flags.

"Color guard, post the colors." This directs the color guard to place the flag in flag standards, or to attach the grommets to a flag pole rope.

"Color guard, honor your flag." The color guard salutes the American flag.

"Please join us in saying the Pledge of Allegiance." (Followed by an appropriate song, quotation or poem, if so desired.)

OR

"Color guard, honor your flag." The color guard salutes the American flag.

"Color guard, retire the colors." This asks the color guard to remove the flag from standards, or to lower the flag, detach from the rope, and fold prior to being dismissed.

"Color guard, dismissed." The color guard leaves in formation, with or without the flag.

"Girl Scouts, dismissed." Girls may leave in formation or be at ease where they have been standing.

Handling the American Flag

Display of the American flag is governed by law to ensure that it will be treated with the respect due the flag of a great nation. This is known as the United States Flag Code. Some of the rules most useful for Girl Scouts are:

Retiring a Worn American Flag

Retiring an American flag is a special ceremony that ends with burning the flag and disposing of the ashes in a respectful manner. For further information, check with council program staff.

For more information about flag ceremonies, see The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting.