Why is flag at half-staff?

Byy On

Saturday, July 18, 2020

The flag is at half-staff in honor of U.S. Representative John Lewis of Georgia who died yesterday. The presidential notice for lowering today was only issued near noon today and specified only until sunset this evening, effectively half a day for the American hero and Civil Rights icon. Of course he deserves much more respect. Governor Inslee extended the half-staff respect in Washington state until Monday evening, July 20. We have had the flag at half-staff since April 25, “... to recognize those who have died as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.” and will continue at half-staff. For these few days we can and should recognize the half-staff flag as a mark of respect and honor to John Lewis.

You can read Dick Conoboy’s April 25 article on the extended half-staff of the flag on our Fairhaven Veterans Flagpole.

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This article will appear on the days when the Stars and Stripes are lowered to half-staff in our communities. This is either one of the five annual scheduled days of remembrance, or a day or days when the President or Governor directs flags to half-staff, as for a national tragedy, the death of a former President, or other officially notable death.

The Fairhaven Veterans Flagpole

Some of the owners and writers of NWCitizen, along with several community members, are responsible for the raising and lowering of Old Glory on the Fairhaven Veterans Flagpole, the 100-foot pole in front of the Fairhaven Library. The pole and flag are managed by the Historic Fairhaven Association. We periodically receive non-mandatory notices from the governor’s office to lower the flag to half-staff and we follow these notices; presidential notices are repeated by the governor. We also fly the flag at half-staff on five annual remembrance days: Police Officers Memorial Day on May 15; Memorial Day on the last Monday of May; Patriot Day on September 11; Fallen Firefighters Memorial Day on the first Sunday of October; Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day on December 7. Our group welcomes interested persons, military veterans or non-vets, to inquire about joining us in maintaining Fairhaven’s Old Glory. Email to: john@nwcitizen.com

Past half-staff days

Monday, December 30, 2019

Governor Inslee is deeply saddened by the death of Pierce County Deputy Cooper Dyson, 25, and directs that Washington State and United States flags at all state agency facilities be lowered to half-staff in his memory on Monday, December 30, 2019. Deputy Dyson died in the line of duty when his patrol car crashed while on his way to back up other officers on an urgent domestic violence call.

Saturday, December 7

Governor Inslee hereby directs that Washington State and United States flags at all state agency facilities be lowered to half-staff Saturday, December 7, 2019, for National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day was created by Congress in 1994 in honor of those Americans killed or injured as a result of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Wednesday, November 20

Governor Inslee is deeply saddened by the death of Michael Knapp, Interim Police Chief for Lynden, Washington, and directs that Washington State and United States flags at all state agency facilities be lowered to half-staff in his memory on Wednesday, November 20, 2019. Interim Police Chief Knapp, 79, passed away on November 6, 2019, from injuries sustained when he was struck by a truck.

Flags should remain at half-staff until close of business or sunset on Wednesday, November 20, 2019.

Thursday, October 24

Governor Inslee is deeply saddened by the death of Christian Johnson, Assistant Fire Chief for Okanogan County Fire District #3, and directs that Washington State and United States flags at all state agency facilities be lowered to half-staff in his memory on Thursday, October 24, 2019. Assistant Fire Chief Johnson, 55, passed away on October 2, 2019, from injuries sustained in the Spring Coulee Fire, south of Okanogan.

Thursday, October 17

Pursuant to Presidential Proclamation, Acting Governor Habib hereby directs that Washington State and United States flags at all state agency facilities be lowered to half-staff immediately, in memory of Representative Elijah E. Cummings, of Maryland, who passed from complications concerning long-standing health challenges.

Flags should remain at half-staff until close of business or sunset on Friday, October 18, 2019.

Sunday, October 6

Acting Governor Habib hereby directs that Washington State and United States flags at all state agency facilities be lowered to half-staff on Sunday, October 6, 2019, in honor of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service. This is pursuit to the communication received from the White House late Friday afternoon.

The flag is at half staff today and through Thursday until sunset. This is “in memory of the victims of the tragedy in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.” These are the two mass shooting deaths of 31 people and wounding of many others. The official presidential words - in double quotes - are vague.

Saturday, September 14

Governor Inslee is deeply saddened by the death of Sergeant First Class Dustin B. Ard, 31, and directs that Washington State and United States flags at all state agency facilities be lowered to half-staff in his memory on Saturday, September 14, 2019. Sgt. 1st Class Ard died from wounds sustained during combat operations in Afghanistan on August 29, 2019.

Monday, August 5

Pursuant to a Presidential Proclamation, Acting Governor Cyrus Habib hereby directs that Washington State and United States flags at all state agency facilities be lowered to half-staff immediately, in memory of the victims of the tragedy in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.

Flags should remain at half-staff until close of business or sunset on Thursday, August 8, 2019.

Tuesday, July 23

The flag is at half mast today in memory of Retired Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, John Paul Stevens. Retired Associate Justice Stevens passed away on July 16 from complications of a stroke at the age of 99.

Monday and Tuesday, June 3 & 4, 2019

Flags are lowered to half-staff in memory of the victims of the tragedy in Virginia Beach, Virginia. This is the shooting deaths of 12 people and shooting injuries to several other people at the Municipal Center of this community.

Monday, May 27

Memorial Day the flag is at half-staff from 8 am until noon, when it is briskly raised back to the top. This day is for rememberance of our armed service members who have died in battle or the line of duty. It originated in the Civil War times and was known as Decoration Day, with the decoration of soldiers graves with flowers and small flags. This custom continues. Raising it at noon symbolizes a continuing future for our country because of their sacrifice. This is one of five days each year that the flag is scheduled for display at half-mast.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Peace Officers Memorial Day. Each May 15, across the United States we lower the flag to half-staff to honor law enforcement officers who have died or been disabled in the line of duty. This is one of five days each year that the flag is scheduled for half-mast display.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Today is the funeral for Cowlitz County Deputy Sheriff Justin DeRosier who was shot and killed in the line of duty on April 13. Cowlitz County is on the Columbia River near Portland. This is the first time in the 165-year history of the county that a deputy has been killed. His alleged killer was a serial criminal who was in and out of jail and known to be violent. At the time of his death, DeRosier had been investigating an RV trailer that was partially blocking a remote, forested road. This Seattle Times article has the full story.

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About John Servais

Citizen Journalist and Editor • Fairhaven, Washington USA • Member since Feb 26, 2008

John started Northwest Citizen in 1995 to inform fellow citizens of serious local political issues that the Bellingham Herald was ignoring. With the help of donors from the beginning, he has [...]

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