Can I Display the American Flag at Night?

If you’re a patriotic American, you might be wondering whether it’s appropriate to fly the American flag at night. Because of its symbolic nature, there are certain rules you should follow when flying or otherwise displaying the American flag. Whether it’s in front of your business, or home, you should comply with the U.S. Flag Code. Enacted June 22, 1942, the U.S. Flag code is a piece of federal legislation governing the display, maintenance, storage and disposal of the American flag. So, what does the U.S. Flag Code say about displaying the American flag at night?

It’s Customary to Display the American Flag From Sunrise to Sunset

According to the U.S. Flag Code, it’s customary to display the American flag from sunrise to sunset. Depending on where you live, as well as the time of year, sunrise may occur around 7:00 to 8:30 a.m., whereas sunset occurs around 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. During these hours, you can proudly display the American flag in front of your home or business.

Yes, You Can Also Display the American Flag at Night

In addition to displaying the American Flag from sunrise to sunset, you can also display at night — assuming you illuminate it. What does this mean exactly? It means you should use a light fixture to illuminate it. If you’re planning to display the American flag past sunset, consider installing an exterior spotlight in front of your flag. By projecting the spotlight upward, it will illuminate your American Flag.

The U.S. Flag Code specifically states the following in regards to displaying the American flag at night:

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 hours of darkness.”

To display your American flag at night, start by choosing an appropriate area in front of your home or business. After raising the Flag to the top of the flagpole, install an exterior light in front of it and face the light towards the flag. The light should be positioned so that it strikes the actual flag and the not the ground below it. By following these steps, you can proudly the American flag all 24 hours of the day.

The bottom line is that it’s perfectly fine to display the American flag at night, but you need to illuminate it with a light fixture.

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