flags at night?

Discussion in 'US Flag Display' started by torpedogears, Aug 22, 2007.

  1. torpedogears

    torpedogears Guest

    The question of ,"Why must a flag be lit at night?" came up at a party the other day. I replied , "That it is the U.S. Code ." But why? And what is the history of this?
     
  2. Pollockja

    Pollockja Guest

    I found this at:

    Flag Rules and Regulations

    Section 6a: "It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness."

    The Flag Rules offer no additional guidance on this question. We interpret this to mean that there should be either a light directly upon the flag or that there be sufficient local lighting to make the flag easily visible at night.

    If you cannot "properly illuminate" your flag, we recommend that you retire it at sunset, as the Flag Rules specify.

    I hope this helps.
     
  3. Pathyde

    Pathyde Guest

    I have a neighbor that is flying their flag all day and all night. I am not liking the fact that the night flying doesn't include a lite to dispay the flag. What can be done to get them to do the right thing. Talk doesn't help.
     
  4. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Hello!

    I am not liking the fact that the night flying doesn't include a lite to dispay the flag.

    First of all, here is what the Flag Code actually says:

    "It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness."

    It doesn't say that you can't leave it up at night without lighting -- it just says that it's customary not to. In 1923, when the code was adopted, flags wore out relatively quickly and it made no sense to leave them out in the weather when nobody could see them. Now, we have flags made of synthetic fabrics that last for years, even when they are flown continuously. Taking them down at sunset might have been a "universal custom" in 1923, but it is not anymore. It's now quite common to leave them up all the time. Since nobody can see them, it's really not a problem.

    What can be done to get them to do the right thing. Talk doesn't help.

    Nothing, really, unless you'd like to buy them a floodlighting system. The flag code is just a set of voluntary guidelines. It is not the law (at least, not in the sense that it can be enforced).

    Peter Ansoff
     
  5. torpedogears

    torpedogears Guest

    thank you Peter. my flag is lit at night . it was at a recent family gathering that the question was brought up. my reply of "because it's the code" did'nt seem to wash with one person. she thought it was " little silly to waste energy on apiece of cloth". being former military it's more than apiece of cloth to me!!!!
     
  6. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    being former military it's more than apiece of cloth to me!!!!

    I guess that's what makes the whole subject of flags so fascinating to me. Physically, they are just pieces of cloth, but they are also symbols that stir powerful emotions.

    Our flag-study organization, NAVA (NAVA - Home) is frequently pigeonholed with other hobby groups like stamp collectors and model railroaders. I like to ask people how many soldiers have risked their lives for a stamp, and how many contentious Supreme Court decisions have dealt with model trains.

    Peter Ansoff
     
  7. willie

    willie New Member

    I was wondering if there we're any reg's reguarding night time
    illumination of the flag, i:e wattage of bulb's angle of reflector?
    Thank's for any info.
    willie
     
  8. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Greetings, Willie!

    I was wondering if there we're any reg's reguarding night time
    illumination of the flag, i:e wattage of bulb's angle of reflector?

    All the flag code says (see my 9/17/07 post, above) is that the flag should be "properly illuminated." The specifications are up to you -- whatever looks good!

    Peter Ansoff
     
  9. cjhayes32@msn.com

    cjhayes32@msn.com New Member

    My neighbor states there is a new rule which states that a flag does not need to be illuminated at night. You don't need to take it in if it's not lit. This is against all that I have learned. Have you heard of this?
     
  10. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    My neighbor states there is a new rule which states that a flag does not need to be illuminated at night. You don't need to take it in if it's not lit. This is against all that I have learned. Have you heard of this?

    Hello CJ, welcome to the forum! No, there is no new rule dealing with this. However, the existing rule does not exactly say what most people think it says. Here are the actual words:

    "It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness."

    It doesn't really say that you can't display an unillumniated flag at night; just that it is the "universal custom" not to. This was true in 1923, which the code was written, but it's not true any more -- today it's very common for flags to be left out 24 hours a day, illuminated or not. I'm not sure why the custom has changed, but I suspect that it goes back to the original reason for the rule. Back then, flags wore out fairly rapidly in the weather, and there was no sense in flying them in the dark if nobody could see them. Today, flags are made of synthetic materials and last for years, even if they are flown continuously. This is a case where the Flag Code has not kept up with the times.

    Best regards,

    Peter Ansoff
     

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