How to Fly a US Flag at Night and in Rough Weather

In order to fly a US flag at night, you will need to properly illuminate the flag. Some flags should never fly during bad weather.

How to Fly an American flag at night

Most people believe you are not allowed to fly the stars and stripes at night. However, this is only partly true. According to the US Flag Code, all American flags should be displayed from sunrise to sunset every day. Lowering the flag at night is an ultimate sign of respect for Old Glory.

But like many rules, there is an exception. You can keep your flag flying 24-hours if it is properly illuminated during all hours of darkness. But what exactly is “proper illumination?” The American Legion interprets that as a light source that is specifically placed to light up the flag at night. The light must be bright enough that the US flag is recognizable by the casual observer passing by.

What about flying an American flag during inclement weather? The Flag Code says typically American flags should NOT be displayed during bad weather, unless you are flying an all-weather flag. This will ensure your flag remains in good condition for a longer period of time.

American flags at night

If you are not sure if your flag is suitable for all-weather, a nylon or non-absorbent material will do. We offer special outdoor American flags in a variety of materials, including a durable nylon to make sure your flag keeps flying for as long as possible. But, if a storm leaves your flag unfit to continue flying, make sure you follow proper flag disposal etiquette.

Credit: Legion.org

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32 Replies to “How to Fly a US Flag at Night and in Rough Weather

  1. I heard that president George W. Bush passed a law that home owners could display the flag at night without it being. Illuminated.

  2. I fly my flag 24/7 no matter the weather
    I am a veteran and the reason it fly’s even in bad weather is because our fighting men and women cannot take the day off due to weather
    Yes the flags wear out faster but that is an expense I gladly pay to show my support for our troops

    1. I fly my nylon flag 24/7. I dispose of it by burning. I replace it at the very first signs of wear. I agree with Mr Dunn. I served 30 years in SEAL Teams. I keep my flag illuminated.
      I always buy American made at the Navy Exchange.

    2. Thank you I also fly mine 24/7 no matter what I also agree with you on “hey do our troops say time out to the enemy in the dark or poor weather”?????
      Absolutely not I’m a Patriot not a ex military STUD no fun intenned. I’m very proud of you for your service THANK YOU you are braver than I . Not that I wouldn’t if we had foreign troops on our soil I would gladly pull arms with every other Marine army man Ranger xcetera I would gladly die for our country if the chance or the unfortunate situation we were ever invaded by a foreign country or by terrorists whatever situation I am a 47 year old man I can go through boot camp it just would not be feasible for me although I wanted to as a child adult growing up I wanted to be in the Air Force flying jets or whatever warplane I could get my hands on it just never worked out I salute everyone blood for that flag I am very proud of you you are a great man and women I fly my flag 24/7 I do not ever take it down I feel why men and women are out there fighting in Afghanistan they don’t ever get to take a break I feel very bad for anyone who gets the bad news LOL son or daughter who has fallen and very proud of these people they give the ultimate price for our country it’s very sad but very honoring at the same time thank you to all of you I mean that I just don’t know how to thank you all he said to Wave My Flag 24/7 I do not care what anyone says I am hoping someone says something to me about it so I can I don’t know what I would do but it would not be a good situation for the other party in God we trust God Bless America God please be with all our troops across and abroad and also an American soil thank you you’re American Patriot…

      1. Bless you for posting theas kind word for America and our beloved trupes and all personal. Yes it is a 24/7 365 days pr year sacrfice They do not slumber or toil at night when they are in battle position. Then out Beautiful Flags need to Fly in all their GLORY in the night time hours also. They Are Aluminated by God from his univercil light that we can see in his night sky. And yes a good outdoor light source souch as a porch light is fine. Thank you to ALL who serve. Today is Memoieal day Sunday. Love Mama Julie from the High Desert ,Calufornia:) 🙂 🙂

  3. I fly my flag at daytime, I lower the flag at dusk, out of respect. When it rains I fly a smaller flag. I respect all veterans. I served in Vietnam as a Marine. As for the trash that walks on the American flag? I hope they burn in hell.

    1. Thanks for your service ,,, I also agree with you on flag burning it should be punishable by law they’re really not thinking when they do this it’s not the flag that shit on them most likely they’re just dumb ignorant people that don’t realize it’s the government that shits on them I cringe every time I see it … It’s very disgraceful to Veterans and also to As Americans truly truly you know what that flag means thank you very much for your service in Vietnam sir I wish I could thank you in person God bless United States God Bless America God bless our flag God bless all the troops fighting the longest war ever in Afghanistan.

  4. I have a small decorative American flag hanging from my house..(2 1/2 x 3) I usually have it up for a week around Memorial Day, July 4th, 9/11, Veterans Day. I don’t illuminate it at night, but, because of the street light it is somewhat illuminated. Is this wrong?

  5. I fly my flag 24/7 without exception. It is illuminated by a flood light on an automatic timer, on at dusk/off at dawn. When it becomes tattered I fold it properly and take it to the American Legion for disposal. I have been doing this for over 30 years. I am a retired USAF vet.

  6. I asked my son’s school to remove the flag in stormy weather, because the flagstaff is badly placed and in the wind and rain the flag wraps securely around the staff until it looks like a wet lump on the staff.
    If it rains, the flag is wrapped around the staff unmoving.
    They acted as if I was annoying them, and now the janitor drags the flag behind him as he enters the building.
    It’s interesting how they have deputies in the school now, to make sure teachers get the respect they “deserve”, yet they are oblivious to disrespect they show to the living symbol of our Democracy and our service personnel.
    I stand outside the school to pick up my son every day, and I hear the various veterans there to pick up grandchildren mentioning the flag in uncomfortable voices, It bothers them as it does me.
    It’s a shame people cannot take constructive criticism these days. They gain a bad attitude the moment something outside their immediate concern is mentioned.

  7. If it is very wrong to burn a flag, how does one dispose a worn & tattered flag? Does it all depend on one’s attitude? Should one save and protect a paper flag forever?
    Thank you.

    1. A worn and tattered American flag should be taken to an American Legion Post where it will be burned ceremoniously. It is direspectful to burn an American as is done during protests.

    2. The best way to dispose of a worn flag is to contact a veteran’ organization and they will dispose of it properly. (i.e. American Legion)

  8. My father (a US Marine, expired) always taught me that a flag should not be flown in the rain or in inclement weather. I can’t seem to find that rule in the multiple sites I have searched.
    A Marine Corp Brat and proud if it.

    1. Information regarding flag code and etiquette can be found here. Further information can be found here. Here is the specific information on inclement weather: Flying the Flag During Inclement Weather The Flag Code states: The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed. The language of this section reflects the now-popular use of flags made of synthetic fabrics that can withstand unfavorable weather conditions. It is not considered disrespectful to fly such a flag even during prolonged periods of inclement weather. However, since the section speaks in terms of “days when the weather is inclement,” it apparently does not contemplate that on an otherwise fair day, the flag should be lowered during brief periods of precipitation. Thank you for your question, please don’t hesitate to contact us if we can be of further service.

  9. My Dad was a WWII vet and I am a Vietnam vet. My dad always told us that the lighting should always shine up on the flag if flown at night and never be placed above the flay shining down on it. I was wondering if there is any merit to this? I see these LED flagpole lights made to sit on top of the flagpole and shine down on the flag at night. This feels unpatriotic to me for some reason.

    1. This from the U.S. flag code. They offer no explanation on what “proper illumination” is. View the complete flag code by following this link: https://www.collinsflags.com/etiquette.cfm The code does not mention lighting from above or below the flag, just proper illumination.

      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. We hope this helps!

    2. No. As long as the light follows and remains on the flag. There is no law stating whether it’s too or bottom. But the light has to follow the flag as it is moving.

  10. I have a question on displaying a flag at home “after dark.” I’m in Anchorage Alaska, and during the summer, there are significant periods of time (4 months) wherein we do not have an astronomical sunset or sunrise (May 7th to August 5th), and even a month (June 8th to July 4th) wherein we do not have a nautical sunrise of sunset. We will technically have a civil sunset this evening, for example, at 11:40 PM, and a sunrise tomorrow at 4:25 AM, but in between, it is still light enough to conduct normal daytime activities (drive a car, ride a bike, play golf, mow the lawn) without the aid of lighting. We stopped having what many would consider a “night” on April 17th, and won’t have a “night” again until August 25th.

    What measure of “after dark” should we use? I’m guessing that between April 17th and August 25th, no light is needed, since it technically never gets “dark.”

    Thoughts?

    1. From the flag code: “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.”
      So if there is no darkness the flag would be properly illuminated. The code is not based on the season it is based on properly illuminated, and we know of no one that knows exactly what that means. Our thoughts are pretty simple on the matter. If it’s dark outside and we can clearly see the flag flying, then it must surely be properly illuminated. We hope this helps!!

  11. Help!!! Who is the “official” regarding flag display at night. Is it the American Legion? VFW? Congress? Please let us know.

    Are there instances when the flag does not need to be illuminated at night?

    Thank you

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