Historical record of flags at half-staff?

Discussion in 'Half Mast / Half Staff' started by orangecat, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. orangecat

    orangecat New Member

    Do any of you know where there might be a list of dates when the flag has been flown at half-staff? I'm specifically interested in when the flag has been flown at half-staff to honor a recently deceased senator. The closest I've come to finding such a list is searching the Federal Register for presidential proclamations... is there a better place to look?
  2. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    Hello, OrangeCat, and welcome to the USA-Flag-Site Forums ! :D

    According to the U.S. Code (Title 4, Chapter 1 - "The Flag Code"), only the President of the United States, and the State and Territorial Governors can call for a special "Half-staff" flag day. I don't know if there is an actual "repository" for half-staff proclamations. But if there is a "national" one, it would probably be at the White House. For individual States & Territories, it would probably be the Governors' offices.

    A copy of the "Flag Code" can be found on the USHistory.org website :

    To find out what days are "Half-staff" days and other details about them, you can scroll down to "§7. Position and manner of display",then down to "m."

    It's a pretty long paragraph and it reads something like THIS :

    "The flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day. On Memorial Day the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff. 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, or the death of a member of the Armed Forces from any State, territory, or possession who dies while serving on active duty, the Governor of that State, territory, or possession may proclaim that the National flag shall be flown at half-staff, and the same authority is provided to the Mayor of the District of Columbia with respect to present or former officials of the District of Columbia and members of the Armed Forces from the District of Columbia. The flag shall be flown at half-staff 30 days from the death of the President or a former President; 10 days from the day of death of the Vice President, the Chief Justice or a retired Chief Justice of the United States, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives; from the day of death until interment of an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, a Secretary of an executive or military department, a former Vice President, or the Governor of a State, territory, or possession; and on the day of death and the following day for a Member of Congress. The flag shall be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day, unless that day is also Armed Forces Day. As used in this subsection —
    1. the term "half-staff" means the position of the flag when it is one-half the distance between the top and bottom of the staff;
    2. the term "executive or military department" means any agency listed under sections 101 and 102 of title 5, United States Code; and
    3. the term "Member of Congress" means a Senator, a Representative, a Delegate, or the Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico."
    I hope this has helped you, at least a little bit. But since it's primarily the President who proclaims when the U.S. Flag is to be flown at Half-staff", I really think you should be able to get the information you seek through the White House.

    Good Luck !!!

    Thank You for bringing your Flag-related question to our Forums !!!

    Robin Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA

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