Flying Your American Flag at Night

If you wanted to display the American Flag at your home over the Memorial Day holiday but weren’t sure about flag-flying etiquette, here are tips to remember before Flag Day (June 14) and the Fourth of July.

Many people let flags fly overnight. Flag etiquette requires the American flag displayed after dark to be lighted. For those people who don’t usually display the flag, this may sound daunting. It isn’t.

One easy means of lighting the flag – especially if it’s from a first-floor location of a home – is to use a plastic light bulb holder that sticks in the ground and has an attached electrical cord that plugs in. Just tilt and aim it at the flag. This rig may cost all of $15. It’s available at almost any home center and in some hardware stores.

If you have a 35-foot flagpole, use a 150-watt halogen spotlight screwed into a holder from any home center. Attach the light holder to the side of a deck or fence near the flagpole, about 20 feet from the top of the pole. The holder has an eletrical cord and can be connected to the house current. This whole thins costs about $20. (Keep it on a time so you don’t have to mess with it every night.)

If you want to display your flag on the side of your home, fence, porch railing or anywhere else around the house, keep this rule in mind: As you face the flag, always put the field of stars on the upper left-hand side. That’s true whether the flag will be display vertically or horizontally.

On Memorial Day, the flag should be at half-staff until noon if it’s on a pole. If you put the flag up every morning, run it briskly all the way to the top then lower it slowly to half-staff. At noon, raise it briskly to its full height.

One other concern about the flag. Don’t let it touch the ground, floor, water, or anything else beneath it.