Why Our Flag At Half Staff Should Be Restricted
By law, only the president and state governors can order the United States flag flown at half staff. Many years ago when a person saw our flag at half staff he or she knew immediately why. These days, it seems to me that flags are being flown at half staff on a regular basis, more often then not. Almost as if this country is in perpetual mourning.
When I see the flag at half staff I assume there is national mourning for a national tragedy but that is not often the case.
Too often flags are being ordered lowered when police officers or other tragic events happen at the more local level. I'm not indifferent to the sorrow of others but when I travel to another state or city and see the flag lowered I want to know why. If the cause happens to be a local or state tragedy then that city and/or state flag should be lowered, not our national flag. I also believe that the power of ordering flags flown half staff should be taken away from state governors and that power placed solely in the hands of the president of the United States.
Half the time I have no idea why a flag is being flown at half mast. Granted, these days terrible things are happening to the United States and her citizens. Everyday overseas, people are being killed, embassies being breached, bombings and the fighting we are involved with in the Middle East, but the flag flying at half staff so often dilutes the whole symbolic gesture this is supposed to represent.
The Flag should be flown proudly and only flown at half staff as a consequence of a national tragedy or commemoration.
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I think many people, including myself, become indifferent to always seeing our flag at half staff while most of the time not even knowing what incident triggered the flag to be flown in this manner. I also think that the flag being flown this in this postion so often fosters a defeatist attitude to a war weary public.
We also have a handful of customary days set aside aside to flying the flag at half staff, with about half of those days the general public has no idea about. I didn't know about these days myself until I read the superb Gettysburg Flag Works web site. Sure it's a commercial site (I'm not affiliated with the site nor is it my intention to recommend any of their products) but has decent information about our flag.
In my view the only day that should be set aside annually to fly the flag at half mast should be Veteran's Day.
I understand why some people would disagree with me on my ideas here as tragedies affect different people on different levels and are certainly more personal to some individuals then others.
That being said, I would like to see the flag once again being flown half staff maybe two to four times a yearso that when a person notices the flag at half staff they may pause and give thought of the tragedy or commemoration the flag represents.