Homeowners display of US Flag

Discussion in 'Half Mast / Half Staff' started by Chuck Harrison, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. Chuck Harrison

    Chuck Harrison New Member

    My question is this: Am I required as a private citizen on my own private property to lower my US Flag to half staff every time the President makes a Proclamation because of a 'school shooting, mass shooting, etc' .?My initial thought is since I am not a government entity and these incidents are random and not annual recurring events, then I should be allowed to ignore them. What say you?
     
  2. FlagAdvocate

    FlagAdvocate Member

    Welcome to the Forum Chuck. I'm sure you are aware that Half-Staff Proclamations issued by the President following a "school shooting, mass shooting" are meant to signify our nation in mourning and to honor and pay tribute to the victims and their loved ones. If you don't wish to join in solidarity with the rest of the nation for those reasons or reasons of your own, as a private citizen you are not required to do so. It is strictly up to you whether you participate or not.
     
  3. Chuck Harrison

    Chuck Harrison New Member

    Thank you for the prompt response. Chuck Harrison Sergeant Major US Army (Retired) Eagle Scout 1967
     
  4. FlagAdvocate

    FlagAdvocate Member

    You are welcome Sergeant Major Harrison and Thank You for your service!

    Bill Jameson
    Vet & Flag Advocate
     
    Chuck Harrison likes this.
  5. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    .....
    To offer a slight (personal) addendum to FlagAdvocate's (Bill's) reply.

    When the President orders the U.S. Flags to be flown at "Half-Staff" for a particular reason and period of time, he/she does so by the way of a "Presidential Proclamation". While the President's public proclamation is directed at the whole country, the "order" it contains is for FEDERAL GOVERNMENT properties, buildings, facilities, embassies, military installations and ships, et cetera only, and has no force of law for the rest of us (non federal governmental civilians).

    In addition to the President, Governors of the 50 States and the additional Territories and Commonwealths have the authority to "proclaim" (order) the "Half-Staffing" of their individual State's/Territory's governmental entities (properties, buildings, etc.) Flags. Again, the Governors' "half-staff" orders are only for their state's governmental properties, and do not include civilians living in that State/Territory. Usually, if not always, when the President orders the Federal Government's Flags to be flown at Half-Staff for a particular period of time, the State/Territorial Governors immediately follow suit.

    Although we American civilians are not bound by our President's or State Governor's "order" to fly our Flags at Half-Staff, those of us that want to (and can) do. A vast majority of Americans do not even own or at least fly an American Flag on a regular, semi-regular, or occasional basis. Those of us who DO own an American Flag and fly it on a regular, semi-regular, or occasional basis, are physically unable to fly it at Half-Staff when the occasion calls for it because our "house" flagpoles (usually only 5 or 6 feet long) are set-up to fly our Flags at only the "full staff" position. So when we want to show that we are in mourning for, or are "Honoring & Remembering", those who have fallen, we can follow the protocol of the civilian "Flag Code" and attach a black "mourning bow" or long, black "mourning ribbon" to the top of our flagpoles for the duration of the Half-Staffing.

    BTW: The American "Flag Code" actually specifies how many days that Flags "should" be flown @ Half-Staff for the different members of the Government who have passed away.

    I make my own decisions about when I fly our house Flags at Half-Staff. I usually do so as soon as I hear about a particularly significant death, incidence, or occasion without waiting for an official proclamation.

    I fly my two "regular" Flags (American & Oregon) on 7', two-piece "spinning" flagpoles. While the bottom piece is "static" (non-rotating) the top piece spins freely (on interior ball-bearings), thus preventing the Flag from furling (wrapping) around the pole. When it comes time to fly my Flags @ Half-Staff, I swap out my 3'x5' Flags with smaller 2'x3' Flags that I attach just above the joint where the two pieces screw together. While the smaller Flags are not exactly at Half-Staff, they leave enough of my poles showing above them to show my honorable intentions.

    Robin Hickman
    "Your Friendly Neighborhood Flag Man"
    Eugene, Oregon, USA.
    .....
     
    FlagAdvocate likes this.
  6. FoxValleyMike

    FoxValleyMike Member

    So aside from paying as much as the flag cost is there another option for a mourning streamer? I've found a few online but they are about $20 each, or more, plus shipping which is more than my cheap flag cost. Id like to do a mourning ribbon on Memorial Day but I can't see spending that much on something that gets used a few times a year.

    Maybe just use a 2 position bracket I guess?
     
  7. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    .....
    Hi, Mike!

    Welcome to the USA-FLAG-SITE Forums!

    I know what you mean about the retail cost of a manufactured "mourning" bow or ribbon!

    The best way to "get around" the high cost of a manufactured mourning bow/ribbon is to go to (or call) a local fabric shop (assuming you have one somewhere close to where you live) and ask if they have any black fabric. Fabric shops usually have all manner of fabrics on hand for quilters, crafters, and folks who sew their own clothes. At least three fabric shops here in my area have black fabric in stock. Almost all of their fabrics are rolled up in one yard wide bolts of fabric that are dozens of yards long.

    Since your home pole is probably somewhere between 5 and 7 feet long, you could probably "get away with" using one or two 3" wide and 3' long strips of black fabric to create your mourning ribbon. Mourning ribbons are usually the same length as the Flag they are flown with. Since most "house/home" Flags are usually 2½'x4', 3'x5', or sometimes 4'x6', their mourning ribbons "should be somewhere between 4' and 6' long. BUT... your mourning ribbon does NOT "have to" be the same length of your Flag, if you know what I mean. If you're a little worried about your mourning ribbons being "too short", use TWO 3' long ribbons.

    I'd guess that most fabric shops that carry bolts of black cloth would be willing to sell you one or two 3" wide strips of black fabric of whatever type you choose at a minimal cost. Heck, if you tell them what you'll be using it for, they might even give it to you for free!


    I don't think that using a two-position bracket would really help any when it comes to being a reasonable alternative to Half-Staffing your house Flag. All it would do would change your house Flag (flown at an elevated 45º or 60º angle) to a "banner" that is flown at 90º angle, parallel to the ground.

    I hope this helps you!

    Robin Hickman
    "Your Friendly Neighborhood Flag Man"
    Eugene, Oregon, USA.
    .....
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
    FoxValleyMike likes this.
  8. FoxValleyMike

    FoxValleyMike Member

    I always thought that the lower position on those two position brackets was for "half staffing" a flag. Learn something new every day. Maybe there isn't much benefit to getting that style then if I don't really have any banner style flags.

    That's a good idea on the mourning ribbon/streamer as well. I may have to make a trip to the craft store (the wife will surely love that).
     
  9. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    .....
    Hi, Mike!

    Hopefully, your local craft store, or fabric store, will have what you need to create your own "mourning ribbons". If they do, I don't think it will cost very much. If you mention what the fabric is for (mourning ribbon) and why you need it, I wouldn't be surprised if they give it to you free!

    Good Luck, and please keep us posted on your project!

    [ BTW : If you find any of my advice (or anybody else's) to be helpful (or merely entertaining) you can always click on the "Like" button in the lower left-hand corner of that posting. ]


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

    FoxValleyMike Member

    Well I seem to have solved my problem :) A few days ago I ordered a pair of 6ft spinner flagpoles (Thanks for the advice on those Robin!) for my front entry and was able to get a good deal on some black mourning streamers. I picked up a pair of them as well so I'm all set once I get my second flagpole bracket up. I ended up with the 3" x 10ft long streamer that you either tie as a bow at the top f the pole or just tie to the pole and let the streamers hang down.

    I'll post some pictures on Memorial day when I put them on the flag (or maybe sooner with the tragedy that just occurred in Texas). Pretty much guarantee that I'll be the only one in the neighborhood with streamers now!
     
  11. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    …..
    Hi, Mike!

    When you're flying 3'x5' Flags on your house Spinning flagpoles and you're wanting to also use the 3"x10' black mourning streamers/ribbons, I think it would be best if the 10' long streamer is folded in half to allow two 5' lengths to hang down (or fly). Perhaps you might use a grommet or clip of some kind at the mid-point of the streamers to hang them.

    Thank You, and please keep us posted of your "progress"!!!

    Robin Hickman
    …..
     

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