As described on our Program Details page, we put our flags out the weekend before a holiday and pick up the flags the weekend after the holiday. For most of our subscribers, that means the flag is waving in front of their house 24 hours a day during that week. We occasionally hear from people that the US flag MUST come down at night, claiming that's the law, or at least the flag etiquette that everyone should know.
You can search the internet for flag etiquette and find millions of references. Lots of them mention and paraphrase the U.S. Flag Code . The Flag Code is simply a list of suggestions, not laws. There are no penalties. The US Supreme Court long ago ruled that any use of the US flag is covered under a person’s First Amendment rights.
The U.S. Flag Code says it is acceptable to fly a flag at night if it is “properly illuminated”. Unfortunately, “properly illuminated” isn’t defined. Shine a spotlight on it? Sure, that’s great, but is that the only acceptable solution? One interpretation, supported by the American Legion, says that a flag simply shouldn’t be totally enveloped in darkness. Any ambient lighting, such as from a street lamp or a porch light, is acceptable if it allows the flag to be recognized as a US flag. We contend that all the residential areas in Richardson where we have flags have sufficient ambient street lighting, and thus there is no disrespect.
If you want a brighter light on your flag, you are welcome to buy an inexpensive solar-powered spotlight and place it under your flag. If you prefer to have your flag brought in every night and put out in the morning, you of course have the freedom to do so.