Protocal vs law in regards to flag at half staff

Discussion in 'Half Mast / Half Staff' started by VFVFC, Apr 19, 2007.

  1. VFVFC

    VFVFC Guest

    At our local Fire house a question has been raised as to whether or not the following can take place as it relates to the Flag Code and whether that Code constitutes actual law or a protocal/guideline to be followed.

    When a memeber of the volunteer fire company passes away they lower the flag to Half staff for thirty days. Now the hall would like to have the flag at half staff permanently during the Iraq war for our fallen soldiers. Certainly not as a statement towards the president but as a tribute to those herioc individuals who defend out country. This would stay in effect until the war ended. Any advice would be appreciated.
  2. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    The Flag Code is a "codification of existing rules and customs pertaining to the display and use of the flag." (sec. 5) It is the law in the sense that it was adopted by Congress and is codified in the US Code, but there are no penalties for not following it -- it's just advisory.

    Paragraph 7m of the Code specifies certain times at which the flag should be flown at half-staff, and the President can, by proclamation, direct that it be half-staffed at other times (as he did last Tuesday for the Virginia Tech teachers and students). However, there is nothing that forbids individuals and organizations from half-staffing their flags on their own initiative.

    You might want to keep in mind that not everyone may view your gesture the same way that you do. You may not indend it as a statement towards the President, but others who see it may nevertheless interpret it as one.

    Best regards,

    Peter Ansoff
  3. VFVFC

    VFVFC Guest

    Thank you so very much and I agree while the gesture is sincere the interpretation may be mixed. Have a great weekend and thanks again:)
  4. CultureGeek

    CultureGeek Member

    It's definitely not law and I believe that it's important. I believe that it would be a terrible thing if we put reverence for a symbol of our freedoms above our reverence for those freedoms.

    As for making a statement critical of Bush's foreign policy, it's your civic duty to do so if that is how you feel. Likewise if you are in agreement with it. However, if you are a government agency(I don't know if you are or not), taking a political or religious stance would be inappropriate.

    In any case, it sounds like you are trying to express support for the troops, rather than a political opinion about foreign policy.

    Does your firehouse have one of those signs (the ones that you put letters onto to spell out a message) that you can use to put a little message of support or something? If it is a government agency, you'll have to consider what message is appropriate, but I think you can easily put something about support for our troops without endorsing a particular religious belief or foreign policy. That could help to clarify your intent.
  5. CultureGeek

    CultureGeek Member

    It sounds like you want to express support for the troops without people construing a political message.

    Do you have one of those boards that you can put letters on to display a message? I asked a (retired) firefighter who lives down the street from me& he said that some firehouses don't have those boards, which is why I ask.

    Maybe you could work with the community to craft a politically neutral message of support, and display that on that board. Someone doesn't have to hold a particular opinion on foreign policy to honor their sacrifice-- no party has a monopoly on that, so I think that it could be done.

    I think that, if you display a simple message of support for the troops, it'd send a message that, if you wanted to express an opinion on foreign policy, it would be on that board instead of the neutral message.

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