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Half Staff for local military death Originally Posted by wfburt Dear Sirs: Flag regulations state that the flag can be flown at half staff at certain times and when authorized ...
  1. #1
    EmailPoster is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Default Half staff by Local Officials

    Half Staff for local military death
    Quote Originally Posted by wfburt
    Dear Sirs:

    Flag regulations state that the flag can be flown at half staff at
    certain times and when authorized by the president of the US. Do the
    Regs provide for local officials (a city mayor, a school principal, for
    example) to authorize the flag flown at half mast upon the death of a
    local military man killed in combat? Wayne
    Last edited by USAFlags; 06-23-2006 at 11:18 AM.

  2. #2
    sarahw Guest

    Default Local Honor

    Hi, Wayne,

    The U.S. Flag Code is pretty clear that only the president and the governor of a state can declare that flags should be flown at half-staff, and there are some pretty specific reasons for the flag lowering:

    By order of the President, the flag shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of principal figures of the United States Government and the Governor of a State, territory, or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory. In the event of the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries, the flag is to be displayed at half-staff according to Presidential instructions or orders, or in accordance with recognized customs or practices not inconsistent with law. In the event of the death of a present or former official of the government of any State, territory, or possession of the United States, the Governor of that State, territory, or possession may proclaim that the National flag shall be flown at half-staff.
    (U.S. Code Title 36, Chapter 10, Section 175, Subsection M)

    There seems to be some wiggle room in the "in accordance with recognized customs" part. Different states have different rules for when the flag should be lowered. Sometimes the state legislature can get involved and ask for the flag to be lowered.

    In Michigan, for instance, it is the custom of the current governor to lower the flag whenever a soldier from that state is killed. Other states have strict policies about when the flag is lowered. For instance, in South Carolina, the governor said he could not lower the flag when the pope died, even thought the president requested it, because the pope was not a former president, a current or former constitutional officer in the state, a lawmaker in the state or a soldier or police officer killed in the line of duty from the state.

    That's not to say that individuals don't lower the flags they have control of to express their own mourning. For instance, some universities have policies that call for lowering the flags when a staff member or student dies. I know a school in my town lowered the flag when a teacher died, and all the McDonald's restaurants in town lowered their flags when the franchise owner died.

    I would say it's certainly appropriate that a mayor could ask for the flags to be lowered in his or her city, or that a school could lower their own flag, but it's not spelled out in the law. Perhaps a good civics project would be to check out if your city, county or state has specific regulations regarding lowering of flags, and lobby to have them changed or written if you feel that's appropriate.


  3. #3
    dches is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    New Hampshire

    Default Days the American Flag can be flown at half-staff

    The American flag is officially flown at half staff as follows on an Annual Basis:

    Public Law(PL 105-225), US Code and Executive Order and the Elks Magazine, page 7, May 1999 Edition (Letters to the Editor).

    May 15th - Peace Officers Memorial Day - PL 103-322, Sec 320922, 1994

    Memorial Day - Last Monday in May - Half Staff until Noon, then raised fully

    July 27th - National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day - Signed into law by
    President Bill Clinton

    Sept 11th - Patriots Day - Signed into Law by President Bush, December '01

    December 7th - National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

  4. #4
    trisha93 Guest


    So if I'm reading this correctly, some local yokel who posts to a yahoo group and asks everyone (3000+ members) in a geographic area to fly their flags at half mast is not following flag protocol? (I mean, her reasoning is honorable, for a fallen police officer who I'm sure deserves honor, but she's out of line asking people to do it just because it was her neighbor?) She's furious with me for suggesting it wasn't within her perview to ask for it. (She could ask her mayor to do it, for instance)...but even then, I was thinking that it's outside the mayor's jurisdiction to call for half mast, and should be done by the Governor?

  5. #5
    sarahw Guest



    Yes, as far as the flag code goes, only the president and the governor can officially declare that a flag can be lowered. Some states have different rules, for instance, if their legislature has passed specific regulations saying a flag should be lowered when an active serviceman dies or something of that nature.

    Mayors sometimes "declare" flags in the city ought to be lowered, but there's no force of law behind them. Well-meaning individuals, yokels or not, don't have any authority to request other individuals lower their flags, but individuals lower their own flags all the time without official permission.


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