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why do we fly the american flag at half mast

As a mark of respect for the memory of Reverend Billy Graham, IPhereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the UnitedPStates of America, that on the day of his interment, the flag of the UnitedPStates shall be flown at halfstaff at the WhitePHouse and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on allPnaval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the UnitedPStates and its Territories andPpossessions until sunset on such day. P I also direct that thePflag shall be flown atPhalf-staff for the same period at all UnitedPStates embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels andPstations.


IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentyfirst day of February, in the year of our Lord twoPthousandPeighteen, and of the Independence of the UnitedPStates ofPAmerica the twoPhundred and forty-second. DONALD J. TRUMP
Last week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada ordered that the country's flag no longer be flown at half-staff when troops are killed in Afghanistan. But who decides when the American flag should be lowered? The short answer is, everybody. Until World War I, little thought was given to standardizing the display of Old Glory. Then, in 1923, the American Legion and other groups adopted a National Flag Code. It was adopted as a joint resolution of Congress on June 22, 1942, and is now known as the Federal Flag Code.


Whitney Smith, director of the Flag Research Center in Winchester, Mass. , noted that the code is a set of recommendations and not law. Presidents under the code have almost unlimited discretion in choosing when to order that American flags be flown at half-staff. It is prescribed by the code on ceremonial occasions like the death of "principal figures of the United States government and the governor of a state, territory or possession. " But a president could also have the flag lowered on the death of soldiers, or to honor private citizens, as President Bush did for the burial of Coretta Scott King on Feb. 7. Strictly speaking, said Jeanie Mamo, a White House spokesperson, such orders apply only to federal property.


But their moral authority usually induces most state and local governments to follow suit. Lesser officials can exercise the same authority over their domains. In 1970, responding to the anger over the killings of four young protesters at Kent State University, in Ohio, Gov. Francis Sargent of Massachusetts ordered the United States flag at the Statehouse flown at half-staff. Mayors routinely lower flags in deference to community wishes. And private citizens and businesses, too, can decide to lower the flag. In 2004, McDonald's lowered flags at its franchises after the death of its chief executive, James Cantalupo. After an uproar, the flags were hoisted again.

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