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  #1  
Old 09-13-2001, 02:00 PM
Beadalin Beadalin is offline
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It's both wonderful and saddening to see every American flag at half-mast today, as they were yesterday. What is the tradition on how long flags remain at half mast to signal national mourning? Is there a protocol on that, or is it up to each flag-flier?
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  #2  
Old 09-13-2001, 02:07 PM
maralinn maralinn is offline
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The protocol is the US Code. The US Code does NOT say to fly flags at half-staff (NOT half-mast) to signal national mourning. The US Codes says you fly it at half-staff, by presidential order, if a government official has died.

Thus, there is no way to fly a flag at half-staff today correctly. If you wish to do it incorrectly, of course, there a dozen ways. Flying it at half-staff through the weekend, for instance, would be just as incorrect as flying it at half-staff until the last body is buried.

In that sense, it's up to each flag-flier.

http://www.usflag.org/nff.half.staff.html
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  #3  
Old 09-13-2001, 02:13 PM
BobT BobT is offline
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The president's proclamation said to keep the flags at half-staff or half-mast until noon Sunday.
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  #4  
Old 09-13-2001, 02:19 PM
MinkMan MinkMan is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by BobT
The president's proclamation said to keep the flags at half-staff or half-mast until noon Sunday.
Cite please?
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  #5  
Old 09-13-2001, 02:19 PM
Beadalin Beadalin is offline
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Thanks maralinn and Bob. Just goes to show you how little I knew about it.
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  #6  
Old 09-13-2001, 02:23 PM
MinkMan MinkMan is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by MinkMan
Quote:
Originally posted by BobT
The president's proclamation said to keep the flags at half-staff or half-mast until noon Sunday.
Cite please?
Never mind, I found it. http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/relea...0010912-1.html

It is until sunset on Sunday, not noon.
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  #7  
Old 09-13-2001, 02:27 PM
jonfromdenver jonfromdenver is offline
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Quote:
originally posted by maralinn
The US Codes says you fly it at half-staff, by presidential order, if a government official has died. Thus, there is no way to fly a flag at half-staff today correctly.
so i assume by this post that the 150 people who died at the pentagon were not government officials?
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  #8  
Old 09-13-2001, 02:33 PM
maralinn maralinn is offline
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Thanks for the cite, MinkMan!

Since the proclamation says public buildings and grounds (and embassies and ships), I'm wondering about private homes. Most homeowners have flags that are not raised and lowered, but fixed. I'm assuming that there is no way for such flags to be displayed at some kind of "half-staff substitute," because I don't see it in the flag code; but does anyone know for sure? For instance, should it be dipped, or sideways, or something?
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  #9  
Old 09-13-2001, 02:51 PM
Guy Propski Guy Propski is offline
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Most of them were government employees and soldiers, jonfromdenver. A government official would be someone like a Congressperson or some other elected official, a Supreme Court judge, a cabinet member, or so on. This is a classification; it was not meant to demean those who work in the Pentagon.
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  #10  
Old 09-13-2001, 03:04 PM
jonfromdenver jonfromdenver is offline
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true, but that's not my point. read the exerpt from maralinn's link:
Quote:
FLYING THE FLAG AT HALF-STAFF: 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 possesion, 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.
my interpretation is that when people associated with the government die, the president has to choose whether or not it occurs, which he did.
Quote:
originally posted by maralinn
there is no way to fly a flag at half-staff today correctly.
that was my objection.
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  #11  
Old 09-13-2001, 03:37 PM
Hirka T'Bawa Hirka T'Bawa is offline
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Ok, I was thinking of asking a question like this today, and when I get home, I see one is already here.

But I have a question that I would like to add.

What is the longest that the entire U.S. has had its flags at half mast? And what was the occation?
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  #12  
Old 09-13-2001, 03:45 PM
KellyM KellyM is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by maralinn
In that sense, it's up to each flag-flier.
In every sense, it is up to the individual flagowner. The so-called "flag code" applies only to flags owned by the United States government. States may make laws regarding flags owned by the state or by state agencies, but not regarding those owned by private individuals. Private individuals are free to fly their flags in any way they choose, except insofar as any particular display of the flag may constitute a nuisance.

It is customary for individuals to fly their flags at half-staff when the President orders the government to fly theirs at half-staff, but an individual may disregard such an order, or fly a flag at half-staff at some other time, without any violation of law.

As to the OP: an individual should fly her flag at half-staff whenever the President (or the governor of her state) orders an official period of mourning, for the time specified in the proclamation. In addition, the flag should be flown at half-staff on the morning of Memorial Day. She may fly it at half-staff at other times as her conscience so dictates.
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  #13  
Old 09-13-2001, 03:49 PM
maralinn maralinn is offline
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I should have said it can't be correctly flown at half-staff today unless there's been a presidential proclamation; I guess I thought that was implied. I know better now. :-)
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  #14  
Old 09-13-2001, 03:51 PM
BobT BobT is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by MinkMan
Quote:
Originally posted by MinkMan
Quote:
Originally posted by BobT
The president's proclamation said to keep the flags at half-staff or half-mast until noon Sunday.
Cite please?
Never mind, I found it. http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/relea...0010912-1.html

It is until sunset on Sunday, not noon.
My apologies for not giving the cite and for not remembering it correctly.
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  #15  
Old 09-13-2001, 04:01 PM
KellyM KellyM is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by maralinn
Thanks for the cite, MinkMan!

Since the proclamation says public buildings and grounds (and embassies and ships), I'm wondering about private homes. Most homeowners have flags that are not raised and lowered, but fixed. I'm assuming that there is no way for such flags to be displayed at some kind of "half-staff substitute," because I don't see it in the flag code; but does anyone know for sure? For instance, should it be dipped, or sideways, or something?
A flag which is not displayed on a fixed vertical exterior flagstaff is not lowered during a time of mourning. This includes flags mounted on the angled flagholders common on houses and those little flags on wooden sticks commonly sold around Memorial Day, Flag Day, and other such times.

Under no circumstance shall the flag be dipped, tied back, restricted, or obstructed by any device, nor should any device be applied to the surface of a flag. The flag should never be flown other than with the union (the area with the blue stars) in the upper corner nearest the pole. (Never fly a flag upside down or sideways.) For a flag not hung from a staff, the union should be at the top and to the left. The flag should always hang free; if you hang a flag against the wall, it should hang down the wall the long way with the union up and to the left (as it would be viewed by the majority of viewers).

(Slightly different rules apply to ships at sea; it is acceptable for a ship at sea to dip its colors in greeting and a ship at sea may fly its colors upside down to indicate distress.)

Of course, you may fly the flag inconsistent with these rules; doing so is disrespectful of the flag. You have the right to disrespect the flag, but I strongly suggest you think twice before doing so, since that is a very strong message to send.
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  #16  
Old 09-13-2001, 04:08 PM
maralinn maralinn is offline
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>>A flag which is not displayed on a fixed vertical exterior flagstaff is not lowered during a time of mourning. This includes flags mounted on the angled flagholders common on houses and those little flags on wooden sticks commonly sold around Memorial Day, Flag Day, and other such times. <<

Thanks, that was exactly what I needed! Do you have a source?
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  #17  
Old 09-13-2001, 08:48 PM
waterj2 waterj2 is online now
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Quote:
A flag which is not displayed on a fixed vertical exterior flagstaff is not lowered during a time of mourning.
Hmmm... I guess Le Meridien hotel here in Boston got it wrong. But, as they are not a government building, it's their prerogative, I suppose, and switching now would probably send the wrong message, especially with the flags at the State Street Bank building across the street at half-staff.

Not as bad as when I noticed that City Hall has three flagpoles, and that on different days within a week or so the US flag changed positions (I have no idea which way would be right, as it's not really clear which side it is supposed to be viewed from).
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  #18  
Old 09-14-2001, 03:21 AM
Popup Popup is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by MinkMan
It is until sunset on Sunday, not noon. [/B]
In France President Jospin wants it to be over tomorrow:
Quote:
...
Enfin, les drapeaux mis en berne dès le 12 septembre 2001 sur tous les
bâtiments et édifices publics devront le demeurer jusqu'au samedi 15
septembre 2001.

Lionel Jospin
(At least according to one of the many e-mails circulating around. I didn't get it from Jospin himself, so I cannot really know that it came from him, but I digress...)

Also, the entire EU will shut up for a change... from 12:00 to 12:03 CET today Friday we'll think of you. (Even the French!)
__________________
Physics tells us the laws that govern how the world works. Everything else is philately.
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  #19  
Old 09-14-2001, 08:32 AM
KellyM KellyM is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by maralinn
>>A flag which is not displayed on a fixed vertical exterior flagstaff is not lowered during a time of mourning. This includes flags mounted on the angled flagholders common on houses and those little flags on wooden sticks commonly sold around Memorial Day, Flag Day, and other such times. <<

Thanks, that was exactly what I needed! Do you have a source?
Just memories from the days of Cub Scouting.
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  #20  
Old 09-14-2001, 09:01 AM
absimia absimia is offline
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Here's a link to a site listing the flag code:

http://suvcw.org/flag.htm


Here's another thing regarding half-mast protocol (also from that site):

(m) The flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day.


Just in case you want to be totally in in compliance with the guidelines.
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