Flying our nation’s flag at half-mast is an old tradition, but one that is also subject to rules. Increasingly, one notices good-faith misunderstandings about these rules, which can be found at National Flag Foundation (NFF).
The pertinent section of the Flag Code says: “By order of the president, the flag shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of principal figures of the United States government and the governor of a state, territory, or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory. In the event of the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries, the flag is to be displayed at half-staff according to presidential orders, or in accordance with recognized customs or practices not inconsistent with law.”
The National Flag Foundation points out these good-faith misunderstandings not to criticize or embarrass anyone, but rather to head off a growing trivialization of this memorial salute, and to preserve the dignity and significance of flying the U.S. flag at half-staff.
Kent Misegades, West End
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