Whitney Houston – Flag at Half Staff or Not?
Earlier today, Liz Ryan posted on this site, her thoughts on the Governor of New Jersey having the united States Flag lowered to half staff for the funeral of Pop Star Whitney Houston. The topic of Houston's passing has remained in the post light and listeners have reached out to us to share their opinions. And as journalists we believe in Freedom of Expression, that's why we would like to share one listener's response with you. We have omitted his/her identity for privacy reasons. The email read as follows:
"In addition to the traditional half-staff salutes when proclaimed by the President, the Flag Code mentions the use of our Flag for honoring citizens who have died, especially government officials and prominent citizens. However, the Flag Code does not exclude any citizen, whether they belong to an organization or not, whether they are recognized very locally or regionally. Examples of deceased citizens that might be honored with by lowering the Flag to half-staff include local religious leaders, youth leaders, honored teachers or sports coaches, local politicians, or a local hero. There need be no authorization from the government for the private sector (non-government) to use the Flag to honor any citizen. It is important to note that the Flag Code is a code, it is intended to provide guidance and is not obligatory. It carries no civil or criminal penalties for "misuse" of the Flag. Individual are not acting illegally when using the Flag according to their own usage. Only on government / public building is the flag code required to be followed."
Now in response, I give you from United States Code Title 4 Chapter 1 - The Flag, paragraph 7, sub paragraph m gives the entire authority to who can and cannot be given a half staffed funeral. This entire document covers the laws concerning the United States Flag.
It should be read entirely before making any decisions on when, or where, or who to bestow the honor of flying an American Flag at half staff during their funeral.
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