An American flag flies at half-staff at the Crown Hill National Cemetery in Indianapolis.
CNN  — 

Your Memorial Day cookout may be different this year due to the pandemic, but you can still honor those who died serving in the US military.

The holiday dates back to 1866, and Congress declared it a national holiday in 1971.

One way to honor those who died in war is to fly the US flag at half-staff – and make sure you do so properly:

1. Make sure your flag is in good condition.

If your flag has any tears, holes or is faded, it may be time to properly dispose of it and replace it with a new one.

“The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning,” United States Code Title 4 Chapter 1, Section 8 states.

2. When it is first raised, the flag should be hoisted to its peak for an instant and then lowered into the half-staff position. The flag is only displayed at half-staff until noon.

The flag is flown at half-staff as a memorial for those who gave their lives serving their country.

3. After noon, the flag is raised to its peak where it remains for the rest of the day.

The flag is raised to its peak to salute current and living members of the United States Armed Forces.

These rules are outlined in United States Code Title 4 Chapter 1, Section 7. The rules for the proper times for flying flags at half-staff weren’t implemented until March 1, 1954, by President Dwight Eisenhower, the US Department of Veterans Affairs says.