Presidential Flag

Discussion in 'Half Mast / Half Staff' started by Union Jack, Nov 16, 2017.

  1. Union Jack

    Union Jack Member

    I have just watched the funeral of JFK on you tube ( this is what retired old farts do) and a couple of things about displaying flags have come to mind. I guess my questions are about protocol. My first question is should the American flag be lowered to half staff because the President is dead? I say this because the President should never be dead. My second question is is the Presidential flag temporarily redundant in the unfortunate event of a serving President passing away?
     
  2. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Greetings, UJ!

    should the American flag be lowered to half staff because the President is dead? I say this because the President should never be dead.

    Yes. The Flag Code specifies that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for 30 days after the death of a president or former president. The US flag does not represent the presidency in the same sense that the British Royal Standard represents the monarchy. It represents the nation, and is flown at half staff "upon the death of principal figures of the United States Government . . . as a mark of respect to their memory." (4USC1, Section 7m)

    My second question is the Presidential flag temporarily redundant in the unfortunate event of a serving President passing away?

    Article II of the US Constitution says "In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President." Prima facie, this seems to imply that the transition happens immediately. Historically, I believe that the VP has always been sworn in within a very short time after the president's death or resignation. I don't know if there's ever been a legal issue concerning the successor's status during the interval.

    The 25 Amendment, which was not yet enacted when JFK was assassinated, is a bit more specific: "In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President." Again, the sense seems to be that it happens immediately.


     
  3. Union Jack

    Union Jack Member

    Ok thanks Peter. I wasn't really thinking about the monarchy when I mentioned about the Presidency but I understand. The other thing I was going to mention in my original observation of JFK's funeral was what was the flag the American Sailor was carrying who trailed the funeral gun carriage? Was the flag the Presidential Flag?

    UJ
     

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