Flag Observances for October
The following days are outlined as flag observances in the US Flag Code or Public Law in the month of October. The US Flag Code recommends people and businesses fly the flag all days, but especially on the dates shown below.
4 U.S. Code § 6 - Time and occasions for display (link goes to the text at Cornell Law School) sets forth the days the US Flag should especially be displayed. In October, those days are Columbus Day (Federal Holiday, the second Monday of October or October 8 this year) and Navy Day, October 27.
Additionally, Public Law 107–51, 107th Congress, Joint Resolution, (link goes to the US Congress Website text of the resolution, pdf document) sets forth the National Fallen Firefighters Service, traditionally the first Sunday in October, as a half-staff day for the US Flag. This year, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation is holding that service on October 7. The Joint Resolution of Congress was signed into law by President George W. Bush October 16, 2001.
firehero.org (Goes to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, listing its events for the weekend)
Sun Oct 7: National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service (half-staff all day)
Mon Oct 8: Columbus Day (Federal Holiday)
Sat Oct 27: Navy Day (founding of the US Navy, though research in the Seventies shows that date is incorrect)
These days will normally be preceded the day before by a Presidential Proclamation.
The American Legion recommends for flags which cannot be lowered to half-staff, such as those on a gaff from a porch or boat, or on a staff in an office or church, that a black ribbon the width of one stripe and the length of the flag be affixed to the top of the gaff or staff.
For flags displayed flat, such as on a wall, they recommend a black bow affixed to the centre of the flag, or three black bows across the top.