Readers Write: Flag flying |

Readers Write: Flag flying

Thank you to every person and business owner in North Lake Tahoe and Truckee who fly the American flag everyday. This simple act touches the lives and hearts of military families. Many nations prohibit the general public from flying their national flags except on certain holidays, but as citizens of the United States we have the right to fly our national flag ” the Stars and Stripes ” everyday.

Last year on July 4 our son, Lt. Thomas Wisdom USMC, a Naval aviator, came home on leave. American Flags lined the highway. There were flags on homes and businesses, on buildings, cars and trucks; it was a beautiful sight. But then, after the holiday was over, the flags disappeared. The patriotism wasn’t gone but the symbol of our freedom our military service men and women would lay down their lives to protect had gone back into storage with other holiday decorations.

Most Americans are familiar with basic flag etiquette: Don’t let the flag touch the ground, don’t fly it upside down, retire it if it becomes worn or dirty etc. But did you know that you can fly the American flag 24 hours a day if it’s illuminated at night? Ordinarily the American flag is only displayed between sunrise and sunset. Many people and government offices honor this tradition by raising and lowering the flag each day. However, during World War I some buildings began flying the Stars and Stripes at night. This led to a general acceptance that encouraged Americans to show their patriotism by allowing our nation’s flag to be flown at night if it’s illuminated. So yes, you can fly the flag at night if you have a porch light, a pole light or other light that illuminates the flag. Personally, we’ve seen variations and interpretations of the illumination rule, but the bottom line is American military personnel and their families appreciate the effort to fly the American flag everyday (and night).

To insure that anyone who wants to fly the American flag can do so, there are free services available to our community including installation help, donations of new and gently used flags and retiring of worn flags. For more information visit or e-mail Thank you and happy Fourth of July, 2008

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