Death of a Former President

Discussion in 'Half Mast / Half Staff' started by FlagAdvocate, Dec 1, 2018.

  1. FlagAdvocate

    FlagAdvocate Member

    George H.W. Bush died Friday evening November 30, 2018. According to §7(m) of the US Flag Code ,"The flag shall be flown at half-staff thirty days from the death of the President or a former President".

    Note this is one instance in the US Flag Code the word shall is used instead of should. President Trump is expected to issue a half-staff Proclamation to honor former President Bush in the near future.
  2. FlagAdvocate

    FlagAdvocate Member

  3. richard.a

    richard.a New Member

    I think we all agree that "thirty days from the death of the President or a former President" as it pertains to President George H.W. Bush would be Sunday December 30th. Since his death was on November 30th, thirty days from that date would be the 30th of December.

    However, I live in Washington state and our Governor's office, as in most states, issues half-staff proclamations that give directives when the flags (U.S. and state) should be flown at half-staff both for state and national deaths of prominent individuals. The proclamation for flying the flags at half-staff for George H.W. Bush reads that the "Flags should remain at half-staff until close of business or sunset on Monday, December 31, 2018" ...see attached.

    Not a huge issue but was just wondering what you would do if living in Washington state...keep the flag at half-staff on December 31st or raise it to full staff? I'd assume that keeping it at half-staff on the 31st would be the right thing to do even though the state's math is incorrect?
  4. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    Hello, Richard.A, and welcome to our Forums!

    In my opinion, The directive, AS WRITTEN, is for STATE agencies ONLY, and does NOT apply to civilians, although they are encouraged to fly their own Flags at Half-Staff as well.


    QUOTE :

    TO: All State Agencies
    FROM: Duane Davidson, Acting Governor

    SUBJECT: Lowering of the Washington State and United States Flags
    I hereby direct that Washington State and United States flags at all state agency facilities be lowered to half-staff immediately, in memory of former United States President George H.W. Bush, who passed away on November 30, 2018 at the age of 94.

    Flags should remain at half-staff until close of business or sunset on Monday, December 31, 2018.

    Please notify all of your field offices and facilities around the state.

    Other government entities, citizens and businesses are encouraged to join this recognition.
    Please call (360) 902-0383 if you have any questions about this flag lowering


    Civilians may, or may not, lower their Flags to the "Half-Staff" position, depending on what they choose to do. If they choose to lower their Flags, it is also their choice as to how long they choose to do so. When civilian government officials issue a "Half-Staff" directive, for whatever reason or period of time, it is only for those government entities that they are responsible for. The "U.S. Flag Code" specifically stipulates, by title, who those officials are (ie, The President, Governors, etc.). However, it does NOT prevent other government officials for calling for "Half-Staff" Flags, for whatever reason or period of time, for the entities that they are responsible for (ie, County Commissioners, City Mayors, etc.).

    I believe that sundown on December 30th, 2018, is the correct date & time to end the "official" Half-Staffing of Flags, as called for in the "U.S. Flag Code". If the State of Washington chooses to make it sundown on December 31st, that's OK, too. Maybe they added the "extra" day because December 30th falls on a Sunday? I don't know. I live in Oregon. I'm guessing that here in Oregon, because of the DATE of the Governor's directive AND its wording, the State Institutions will be flying their Flags @ Half-Staff until December 31st.

    On December 1st, 2018, Oregon's Governor, Kate Brown, ordered all Flags at State Institutions to be flown at half-staff "beginning immediately for 30 days". Since the directive was issued on December 1st, I'm guessing that the 30 days means to December 31st.


    QUOTE :

    Governor Kate Brown Orders Flags Lowered To Half-Staff In Honor of Former President George H.W. Bush
    December 01, 2018

    Salem, OR—Governor Kate Brown today ordered all flags at Oregon public institutions to be flown at half-staff in honor of Former President George H.W. Bush. In accordance with the proclamation by the White House and pursuant to U.S. Code (4 U.S.C. 7m), the flags should be flown at half-staff beginning immediately for 30 days.

    "George H.W. Bush legacy is one of true patriotism and service," Governor Brown said. "Emblematic of the greatest generation, after fighting in WWII, he never stopped serving our county. Dan and I hold his family in our hearts as we mourn his passing."


    I Half-Staffed my personal Flags and those in the community I live in, for three days, December 3rd-5th, and then again on December 7th for Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

    Robin Hickman
    "Your Friendly Neighborhood Flag Man"
    Eugene, Oregon, USA.
  5. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

  6. richard.a

    richard.a New Member

    Thanks, Robin. Very good explanation. A friend once told me that he follows the directive from the Governor's office as to what he does pertaining to flying his flag at half-staff and encouraged me to do the same. I guess in this case, I'll follow exactly what the state directs their agencies to do. Since I've had mine at half-staff since the beginning of the month, I may as well keep doing so until sundown on the 31st.
  7. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    OK, Richard!

    Thanks For Coming To Our Forum & Becoming A Member!

    Robin Flag-HalfStaff-(Black&White).gif
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
  8. FlagAdvocate

    FlagAdvocate Member

    I’ll preface my remarks with: I do not consider the flag of the United States of America as my flag to do with as I choose. I consider it a privilege and an honor to have the freedom to fly our national flag, and I do so with reverence and with adherence to the guidelines of our nation's Flag Code.

    I personally have a much different perspective about displaying our nation’s flag at half-staff. To me, our national flag at half-staff is the most solemn and dignified expression of our nation's sorrow. For the select public official, it means the nation honors one’s public service. For the five Congressionally authorized half-staff memorial dates, it means the nation will never forget. For the fallen American military service personnel, it means on behalf of a grateful nation.

    As a military service veteran, I am frequently saddened when civilian organizations take it upon themselves to lower our nation's flag to half-staff to honor a deceased individual of their organization. County Commissioners, City Mayors, school districts, fire companies, banks, etc. all have lowered the nation’s flag to half-staff without the nation's authorization provided in 4 U.S.C. § 7(m), and by doing so, severely eroding and decreasing just how special this solemn tribute is meant to be, particularly when honoring fallen members of the U.S. Armed Forces. It would be far more appropriate to only half-staff the civilian organization’s flag (County flag, City flag, school flag, fire company flag, bank flag) when honoring a deceased member of any civilian organization, including governing bodies below the state level.

    Even at the state level, Governors usually just order their state flag to half-staff either statewide or at the state capitol and/or at state facilities in a particular county to pay tribute to a deceased person. For example, in Pennsylvania the Governor may order the Commonwealth flag to fly at half-staff at the Capitol Complex and at all Commonwealth facilities in a particular county for a fallen firefighter or police officer. Such a flag order will state that the U.S. flag shall remain at full-staff, and that all Pennsylvanians are invited to participate in the tribute.

    In conclusion, it is my hope that any civilian, civilian organization, County Commissioner, City Mayor, school district Superintendent, fire company Chief, bank CEO, etc. faced with the impulse to lower the nation's flag to half-staff in honor of a deceased beloved member, please consider just how does this involve the nation and the nation's flag. Please lower your organization's flag to half-staff instead.

    It is my hope I have offered somewhat of a balance to prior contributions to this thread.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2018

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