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Flags/Orientation Of Inline Flag Poles


YMCA Flag Poles
YMCA Flag Poles  
QUESTION: A new building with flag poles has been constructed in my home town. The flag poles are installed in front of the building. A tall center pole, flanked by two lower poles, are aligned perpendicular to the building front (see attached photo). It has been my experience that normally such an inline flag pole set is oriented parallel to the host building front, not perpendicular, yet I can find no definitive protocol which suggests which arrangement is correct. What is your opinion and guidance in this matter?

ANSWER: It's not important; serious protocol is observed by the military and the diplomatic corps, while the rest of us do what we can. From the point of view of the red car, the senior flag (US, I assume) would go on the center (highest) pole, the next senior (state?) to the car's left, and the junior (YMCA?) to its right. In other words, forget the building itself and treat the entire property as a "building."

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YMCA Parking Lot
YMCA Parking Lot  
QUESTION: Thanks so much for taking the time to respond. I've attached an additional photo which shows the flag array view from the parking lot. Note that it can be clearly seen from the main street on the left as far away as the traffic lights in the distance. As one approaches the property from that direction, one would see an incorrect position of the subordinate flags. Only until one passes the flag array in the vicinity of the parking lot would the correct display come into view. On the other hand, if the flag array were rotated 90 degrees, the positions of the subordinate flags would remain the same as one approaches the property on the main street from either direction. Do you concur?

Yes, but I doubt anyone's going to go to the trouble and expense of moving the flagpoles. Never mind how they can be seen from a street that's off to the side; a visitor is going to approach the building via the lot. Might as well treat your second photo as the "front view" and be done with it. A lot of such displays are visible from more than one angle, so one has to decide which is the "front."


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Albert Kirsch


I am more-or-less expert in vexillology (the study of flags). My expertise is particularly strong in North America at the level of city and county, but if I don`t know the answer I know a dozen people who do. So if there`s a flag in the newspaper or on TV that you have trouble identifying, let me know. I`ll do my best. But PLEASE DO NOT ASK ME TO APPRAISE A FLAG'S VALUE: (1) I have no expertise in that area and (2) even if I did, I cannot appraise something I can't see. Take it to a museum which has a specialist in textiles and the like.


In this field, I designed the flag of Carroll County, Illinois, in 1974 (see You can see my personal flag at

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