24-hour Half-staff Residential Display Question

Discussion in 'Half Mast / Half Staff' started by richard.a, Jul 4, 2018.

  1. richard.a

    richard.a New Member

    When doing a search, I did find some threads addressing displaying the flag at half-staff at night or 24-hour basis.

    However, I wanted to get some opinions on my specific situation. I fly a 2.5' x 4' flag at my residence on a 5' staff attached to a bracket at a 45-degree angle with its own spotlight so will keep it up 24-hours when the weather is good. I do have a black mourning ribbon that I can attach to the top of the staff for half-staff purposes.

    From other threads, my understanding is if the flag is properly lit and kept displayed on a 24-hour basis, the same rules would apply to half-staff display.

    My question is, can I attach my black ribbon to the staff before I go to bed the night before? Say at 10:00 pm before going to bed?

    If attaching the ribbon from 10:00 pm to 11:30 pm the night before isn't acceptable, then there shouldn't be any issue attaching the ribbon at midnight, correct? I could stay up until midnight the day before a half-staff day but am wondering if it's necessary.

    Same question with un-attaching the ribbon ...as long as I unattach the ribbon by midnight on the day of observance, it should be acceptable, correct?

    I ask the question because I know the official code says that half-staff days should be from sunrise to sunset but I'm assuming that would be for those flags that are normally raised and lowered at sunrise and sunset and would not necessarily apply to flags that are illuminated 24-hours a day, correct?

    Also, the mourning ribbon I purchased is 10' long with a grommet in the middle dividing into two 5' sections. It appears slightly longer than the 2.5' x 4' flag itself as it drapes on the staff. It is really made for a 3' x 5' flag but the vendor I purchased it from said it was okay for a 2.5' x 4' flag. I'm not sure she gave me the correct information. It's not going to make anybody angry if the black ribbon drapes a few inches below the length of the flag itself, will it?

  2. FlagAdvocate

    FlagAdvocate Member

    Hello Richard, welcome to the forum.

    I believe you may be too concerned about the time frame of a half-staff day. Traditionally, a half-staff day begins at sunrise and ends at sunset, with the exception of Memorial Day which is a forenoon half-staff observance. Therefore, consider attaching your mourning ribbon at sunrise or as soon as you can on the morning of a half-staff day, and removing it at sunset.

    During mourning periods longer than a day, attach your mourning ribbon as soon as you learn of the half-staff order and remove it at sunset on the date prescribed in the order.

    Also, please don't be too concerned with the length of your mourning ribbon. It could also easily be shortened to fit your flag if you choose to do so.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2018
    richard.a likes this.
  3. richard.a

    richard.a New Member

    Thank you, FlagAdvocate. I appreciate the response.

    Yes, maybe overthinking it a bit. And the ribbon-length issue was a stupid question after thinking on it. :p

    So essentially, your answer implies that it is frowned upon or inappropriate to have the black ribbon attached at any time during darkness whether the flag is illuminated or not ...or it should be attached during daylight hours only, correct?

    l ask because there are times where I leave the house before dawn and am not back home until late at night. So I was just wondering if it would be acceptable to attach the ribbon the night before or at midnight and remove it when arriving home after dark. It sounds as if neither is appropriate even when the flag itself is illuminated. I may just take the flag down completely on those half-staff days where I know the ribbon might be attached during hours of darkness.

    Thanks again!
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
  4. FlagAdvocate

    FlagAdvocate Member

    Richard, I sincerely applaud and salute you for your desire to participate in half-staff events and your extraordinary efforts to do so. I encourage you to continue to attach your mourning ribbon the night before or at midnight and remove it when arriving home after dark during a half-staff event. I certainly would not frown upon or find it inappropriate to have a black ribbon attached at any time during dark hours (which is often the case during mourning periods of two or more days anyway).

    I wish there were more people like you who cared as much as you do about our nation's flag and its proper display. Please don't be concerned that your half-staff display timing may not exactly fit a Presidential Proclamation or a state Governor's half-staff order in terms of when the declared mourning period begins and ends.

    I believe the use of a black mourning ribbon with short flag staffs originated with the American Legion as a recommended means to signify a flag at half-staff, and as a means to participate in a half-staff event. To my knowledge, the only specifications the American Legion offers is that the mourning ribbon be black and as wide and as long as the longest stripes of the host US flag.

    I salute you Richard,
    Bill Jameson
    Vet & Flag Advocate
    Williamsport, Pa.
    richard.a likes this.
  5. richard.a

    richard.a New Member

    Oh, very good! I appreciate the further explanation. I will do that then. I just did not want to be breaking any protocol.

    Thank you, Bill ...and I'm grateful for your service and also for fielding questions here on this forum.
  6. FoxValleyMike

    FoxValleyMike Member

    I would say by putting the black mourning ribbon on a flag you're doing better than 99% of all other residential displays, and probably some commercial and city displays. I know in my neighborhood I'm the only one that uses the ribbons. I think if your making an effort to display them that's great, no matter how you end up doing them. Personally myself I usually miss getting my flag out at sunrise but at least I put one out. My opinion, if i saw a flag out with black ribbons after sunset it wouldn't bother me at all.

    I wouldn't over think it, do the best you can and enjoy your display.
    richard.a and FlagAdvocate like this.
  7. richard.a

    richard.a New Member

    Thanks, Mike. I appreciate that you took the time to respond.

    I'm now feeling a bit better about how I display the flag. I've always been one of those 99% who really didn't pay much attention to protocol. I'm now trying to re-establish my familiarity with rules and proper protocol. I was a Boy Scout but have not retained a lot of what I learned back then. I'm now trying to pay more attention to detail pertaining to my displaying the flag and doing it properly.

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