way do not half-mast the ensign although those not
under way do so. The ensign is also half-masted on the
The United States honors its war dead on
Memorial Day by half-masting the flag from 0800 until
the last gun of a 21-minute gun salute that begins at noon
or until 1220 if no gun salute is rendered.
During burial at sea, the ensign is at half-mast
from the beginning of the funeral service until the body
is committed to the deep. A longer period for displaying
the ensign at half-mast may be prescribed, according to
circumstances, by the senior officer present. Boats
participating in a funeral procession also fly the national
ensign at half-mast.
DIPPING THE NATIONAL ENSIGN
U.S. Navy Regulations stipulates that when any
ship under United States registry or the registry of a
nation formally recognized by the United States
salutes a U.S. Navy ship by dipping its flag, the
courtesy is to be returned, dip for dip. If a salute is
rendered to a naval vessel when the ensign is not
already displayed, such as before 0800 or after sunset
(in port), the national ensign shall be hoisted for the
purpose of answering the dip and, after a suitable
interval, hauled down. If displayed at half-mast, the
national ensign must first be hoisted to the peak before
answering the dip, then returned to half-mast after a
No U.S. Navy ship shall dip the national ensign
unless in return for such compliment. U.S. naval ships
(USNS) of the Military Sealift Command do not dip
the national ensign to Navy ships, since they are public
ships of the United States.
Formal recognition does not necessarily mean that
diplomatic relations must exist. Moreover, the fact that
diplomatic relations have been severed does not mean
that the United States no longer recognizes the
existence of the state or the government concerned.
According to the State Department (Protocol)
listing of 6/86, the following governments (fig. 10-l)
were not formally recognized by the United States
and, therefore, are not entitled to a salute:
Figure 10-1.Flags of nations not formally recognized by the United States.