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Why Flagpole Lighting is Important For Flag Etiquette

There is a long tradition that comes with flying the American flag that harks back to the early days of our independence.  The star-spangled banner has become such an iconic piece of our history that it now carries with it the ideals and values of the nation.  As such, it’s important that if you choose to fly the flag, you do so in the right way – taking credence of the etiquette that comes with it.

In this article, we’ll explore the basics of flag etiquette and then specifically at how flagpole lighting plays a role.

The Origins of the Flag Code

The American flag as we know it was first adopted back in 1777, but it wasn’t until 1923 that the official U.S. Flag Code was first initiated.  This was the very first time that there were federal dictates as to how you should handle and fly the American flag.  The idea embed the values and ideals of the new nation that was being built into the flag itself so that it could stand as a symbol of that future for many centuries to come.  While it didn’t become law until a couple of decades later, that code remained the foundation of how Americans across the country paid tribute to the flag and what it stands for.

The code itself was drafted by a consortium of over 60 different organizations led by the National Americanism Commission of the American Legion – and from that collaboration came the Flag Code as we know it.  In it, we find the codified wisdom regarding flag etiquette and the seeds of what has kept the American flag as a renowned symbol for freedom, legacy, and democracy the world over.

What Is In the Flag Code?

Before we look at flagpole lighting specifically, let’s just run through some of the other aspects of the Flag Code that you should be aware of.  The core idea behind all of these is that the flag should be respected at all times and you should protect its honor at all times.

  • The flag should never be displayed with the union down unless you’re trying to signal distress in life-threatening situations.
  • The flag should never touch the ground, the floor, or the water.
  • The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but rather should be aloft and free.
  • The flag should never be used in such a way that permits it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged.
  • The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.
  • The flag should never have any marks, symbols, figures, words, or drawings of any nature on it.
  • No part of the flag should be used as a costume or athletic uniform.  A flag patch may be affixed to military uniforms, first-responders, and certain other patriotic organizations.
  • The flag represents a living country and is in itself, a living thing.  Therefore, a flag pin lapel should be worn on the left-hand side near one’s heart.
  • The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, or carrying anything.

Those are just a few examples of the sorts of things that the Flag Code includes.  This should give you a sense of the sort of flag etiquette that we’ve been talking about.  It’s crucial that you maintain these if you are to do justice to our great flag and do your part to protect its symbolism.

Now, let’s look at the specific dictate that relates to flagpole lighting.

How Does Flagpole Lighting Come Into Play?

The specific part of the U.S. Code that matters here is section 6(a) in Chapter 1 which states the following:

“It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset… 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 really is as clear as that.  If you are going to leave your flag up during darkness, flag etiquette dictates that you should properly illuminate it out of respect for the imagery and for what it stands for.  This means that unless you are lowering the flag each sunset, it is important that you invest in some good-quality flagpole lighting so you can uphold this part of the code.

This is actually a great opportunity though because flagpole lights are a wonderful way to add extra visual and functional appeal to your flag.  Subtle illumination is a surefire way to transform the external surroundings of your building and it helps to create a unique and compelling experience for anyone who visits.

Introducing the Beacon™ Series of Flagpole Lights

Here at Flagpole Warehouse, we are extremely proud of our Beacon™ products which represent the very best way to light up your flagpoles in a wide variety of different circumstances.  We’ve gone out of our way to create a product range that is not only high-quality but also that helps to dignify the great history and tradition of the American flag.  This means that you can always rely on a lighting solution that takes seriously the Flag Code that it espouses.

The Beacon™ products are typified by the following key factors:

  • Certified as an IDA-approved dark-sky friendly fixture.
  • Robust and well-designed to last for long periods of time.
  • Energy-efficient, with many being solar powered to eliminate the cost of power entirely.
  • Directional lighting that lights the flag only and follows it around as the flag moves.
  • Complements the aesthetics of the flag and flagpole itself.

All in all, these products are the perfect solution for all your flagpole lighting needs – and they ensure that you are in full compliance with the U.S. Flag Code in all its tenets.

If you’re interested in checking out the Beacon™ products, you can find them at our online store.  And if you have any questions you can always contact us and let’s see how we can help!

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