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About flags at half mast

Last modified: 2013-06-18 by rick wyatt
Keywords: half-mast | usa |
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While I agree wholeheartedly that there is a need to hold to flag etiquette and to honor the flag of the United States (or of any other nation) as much as possible, I disagree with the interpretation of the flag code as stating that only a Governor or President can proclaim that the flag be flown at half mast.

The code says "by order of the President, the flag shall be flown at half-staff. . . " and later "the Governor . . . may proclaim that the National flag shall be flown at half-staff." It does not stipulate that only a President of Governor may issue such a proclamation. Instead it provides for the private use of the flag for the mourning of important persons by including the statement "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 official proportions for the US flag are for the flags used by the government, and vary according to the branch of government. Private citizens can use a flag of any proportion "in accordance with recognized customs or practices". This is because the flag of the United States is the property of the people. Any use of the flag, not inconsistent with law, that does not disgrace the honor in which the flag is and should be held is a proper and legitimate use of the flag.
Nathan Augustine