Flying The American Flag At Half-Mast

August 18, 2016 in Daily Bulletin

The American flag is flown at half-mast – a symbol of mourning – an awful lot. Ruth Graham looked at the intricacies behind the decision to lower the flag:

  • Technically only the President and governors have the right to order that American flags be flown at half-mast.
  • President Obama has used the power frequently. Over the course of his Presidency so far he has ordered the flag lowered almost 70 times. In contrast George W. Bush made the same order 58 times, and Bill Clinton did it 50 times.
  • Once you include governors then flags were officially flying at half-mast somewhere in the United States 328 days in 2015.
  • At times the decision to lower the flag can be controversial. John Kasich once bowed to public pressure and ordered that flags be flown at half-mast to commemorate the death of a police dog shot during a robbery.
  • At other times the hands of officials are tied. The flag code requires that flags be flown at half-mast for 30 days after the death of a current or former President, and 10 for a Vice President, Supreme Court Chief Justice, or Speaker of the House.
  • Of course most people don’t realize that only the Presidents and Governors have the authority to order that flags be lowered. Mayors frequently do it, and Donald Trump once ordered the flags on his properties lowered after a shooting in Chattanooga.

Read more here.

Source: Slate