When to fly the flag at half mast

I saw where a South Carolina sheriff refused to lower the flag in honor of Mandella. He stated that it should be reserved for American citisens. Do we have a protocal for this. I have always felt it was just a way of showing respect for anyone we considered to be hero based on our countries core values.

US Flag Code. There is no penalty for failure to comply as it is a First Amendment issue as well.

From Wikipedia:

The sheriff is within his legal rights to do nothing. He’s also expresses his own douchebagness as an alleged human being.

For starters, you shouldn’t attempt to fly it at “half-mast” at all unless you’re onboard a naval vessel.

Flying it at half-staff, however, is perfectly acceptable.

Other than for holidays like Memorial Day when it is always half staff, it is ordered that way by the president or governor. But those orders have no power except on federal or state property.

There are a few wwbsites like the following that show the status at any particular time.

Yay, my home county. Some of my high school friends were bragging about this earlier today on social media :rolleyes:

I’m curious; why were they bragging?

(I was thinking about this earlier; Nelson Mandela was just about the most universally admired national leader of recent years. I mean, who hated or disliked him, aside from perhaps his ex-wife?)

Since sheriffs in South Carolina are independently elected, it’s probably up to the sheriff to determine when flags on his department’s property are flown at half mast. Even if it’s not, there are probably no actual teeth in whatever rules the state/county/whatever uses for flags on public property.

Half-mast and half-staff are actually synonyms, so you can’t do one without doing the other.

Actually it is supposed to be flown at half staff until noon. Technically speaking.

He was a communist and a terrorist. Haven’t you heard?

So wait, what I’m getting out of this is that sherriffs aren’t State employees? But they have the full force of the Law? I always thought they worked for the county, which is a State sub-government? Isn’t it?

He’s a State official, but not a Federal employee, so he isn’t directly bound by Obama’s declaration.

That said, I always figured States had laws instructing their institutions to follow federal decrees regarding the flying of the US flag. I work at a public university, and they seem to follow the Feds lead regarding flying the flag at half-mast, as well as doing it a few additional times every year for local tragedies by order of the Governor.

The guys statement was certainly phrased to make it sound like he was going against some sort of formal order to fly the flag that he would’ve followed normally, though I guess he might just be a loudmouth trying to get in the papers by loudly declaring he wasn’t required to do anyways.

The flag at my branch post office has been at half mast for Mandela,
I presume.
As for county sherriffs dictating when and where flags can be flown at
half mast, I know that the FBI will pay them a visit if they violate someone’s
civil rights. This happened at Driscoll, Texas recently. The former sherriff had a habit
of confiscating (impounding) personal motorcars for unpaid traffic violations.
This apparently is a violation of Federal law.

Cheers, Singanas 12-9-13

There’s absolutely no chance that the FBI will visit the county sheriff over this. No one’s rights are being violated.

Those of us who spent 18 years as a Navy brat, or are Canadian, or both, will continue to use half-mast, thank you.

I saw a flag at half-mast on Saturday in front of a car dealership and initially thought it was for Paul Walker. It was only when I saw a bunch of different locations had it half-mast that I realized it must be for Mandela.

Canoes have masts?


Dick Cheney.

Dick Cheney Didn’t Regret His Vote Against Freeing Nelson Mandela, Maintained He Was A ‘Terrorist’

Can we just go ahead and rename him “Darth Cheney”?

It doesn’t work that way. County governments are separate entities from the state. They generally have no power to create statutes but can pass county ordinances. The county government has control over county property, the state does not.

With regard to the OP, here is what the Flag Code says. I do not believe it is legally binding but certainly establishes protocol.

It clearly does not require honorees to be U.S. citizens. The sheriff is being obstinate and making up his own rules. However, he may be legally entitled to do so.