The President or the Governor?

Discussion in 'Half Mast / Half Staff' started by Josh smith, Jul 27, 2015.

  1. Josh smith

    Josh smith New Member

    What order is followed when contradictory orders come to Flag status. For example the president orders the flag to have staff till a specific date, but the state governor orders it until the last military funeral. What is the proper protocol?
     
  2. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    .....
    Hello, Josh Smith! Welcome to the USA-FLAG-SITE Forum!

    When the President of the United States or a State/Territorial Governor officially orders Flags to be flown at "Half-Staff" for any reason or length of time, they are ONLY doing so for the official governmental locations under their jurisdiction. When the President orders Flags to be flown at "Half-Staff" it applies ONLY to FEDERAL buildings, locations, site, military installations, embassies, et cetera, for the specified period of time. When a State or Territorial Governor orders Flags to be flown at "Half-Staff", it applies ONLY to that STATE'S, or TERRITORY'S, buildings, locations, sites, installations, et cetera, for the specified period of time.

    In neither case do NON-governmental, civilian entities (private citizens, businesses, groups, organizations, etc.) have to "obey" the "Half-Staff" order. In every official "Half-Staff" proclamation I've seen, the President or State Governor has ALWAYS requested that everybody else follow suit and voluntarily fly THEIR Flags at "Half-Staff" too. Private (non-governmental) citizens and businesses are pretty much free to fly their own Flags at "Half-Staff" (or not) for whatever reason they choose, and for as long as they like, regardless what an "official" proclamation dictates.

    So, in the example you've given, let's say that the President orders all Federal installations to fly their Flags at "Half-Staff" until sundown on Saturday, July 25th, and the State Governor orders all of her (or his) State installations to fly their Flags at "Half-Staff" until the last military funeral is held, which is scheduled for Tuesday, July 28th. The Federal installations in that State (and everywhere else) will fly their Flags at "Half-Staff" until sundown July 25th, and that State's installations will continue to "Half-Staff" their Flags until sundown on July 28th. The civilians and non-governmental entities in that State can choose to fly (or not fly) their own Flags at "Half-Staff" for however long they want.



    You may, if you want, consult (U.S. "Flag Code") United States Code Title 4 Chapter 1 — The Flag; Section 7 ("Position and manner of display"), sub-section "m."

    http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/flagcode.htm

    I hope that I've been able to answer your question.

    Thank you for bringing your Flag-related question to our forum!

    Robin Hickman
    "Your Friendly Neighborhood Flag Man"
    Eugene, Oregon, USA.
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    Last edited: Jul 27, 2015
  3. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Actually, it's a wee bit more complicated than that. That paragraph of the Flag Code was amended in 2007 with the following language:

    "When the Governor of a State, territory or possession, or the Mayor of the District of Columbia, issues a proclamation under the preceding sentence that the National flag be flown at half-staff in that State, territory or possession or in the District of Columbia because of the death of a member of the Armed Forces, the National flag flown at any Federal installation or facility in the area covered by that proclamation shall be flown at half-staff consistent with that proclamation."

    This begs the question of what federal installations should do when both the President and a Governor issue proclamations, and the duration dates are different.
     
  4. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    .....
    Hi, Peter!

    Is the copy of the "Flag Code" on USHistory.org, out-of-date and incomplete?

    All I found at Section 7, "m." was this : "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."

    Is the "new" wording in place of, or in addition to the pertinent portion in Section 7, "m." (above)?

    If the "Flag Code" on USHistory.org IS out-of-date, or incomplete, has anybody told them?

    Just Wondering . . . . .

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

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    .....
    Hello, again, Peter!

    QUOTE : "This begs the question of what federal installations should do when both the President and a Governor issue proclamations, and the duration dates are different."

    I would think that it would be fairly simple. Since both the President and a Governor would have the "authority" to make "half-staff" proclamations, including federal installations within that State, Territory, or Possession, and since the dates/times for the proclamations might "over-lap", the "official" Flags within that particular State, Territory, or Possession would be flown at Half-Staff under one or the other, or both proclamations.

    For example, if both the President and the Governor of the great "State of Mourning" issued Half-Staff proclamations, and the President's was for the 1st through the 5th of the Month, but the Governor's was for the 2nd through the 6th of the month, then the "official" Flags at Federal Installations within the "State of Mourning", then the "official" Flags within the "State of Mourning" would be under one or the other orders, or both. The "official" Flags within the State of Mourning" would be under a Half-Staff order from the 1st of the month through the 6th of the month.

    Doesn't that make sense?

    Robin
    .....
     
  6. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    I actually wonder if anyone has even noticed the issue. As I've mentioned in other posts, the effects of that change could get rather strange, especially here in the DC area. As I read it, the Mayor of DC could order the flags on the White House and Capitol to be half-staffed, and the Governor of Virginia could do the same with the Pentagon.
     

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