Flags at half-staff: who’s being honored?

COVID deaths, mass shootings, notable deaths

half-staffWalking home from the store back on March 31, I wondered why the flag nearish the police station was at half-staff.

According to this: “Governor Andrew M. Cuomo ordered flags on state government buildings to be flown at half-staff in honor of New York State Trooper Joseph Gallagher, who died from injuries he suffered three years ago when he was struck by a vehicle while on duty assisting a disabled motorist. Flags will be at half-staff beginning on [March 28] and through interment (April 7, 2021).”

This may explain why the nearby school had its flag at full staff. It’s not a state building. It is also possible they didn’t get the memo since my wife’s school has complied.

Flags Express notes when a state, or the nation, lowers flags. Just in March, Alaska had three successive days. March 29: Vietnam Veterans Day. March 30: death of former Alaska State Representative Katie Hurley. March 31: the passing of former Alaska State Representative Ramona ‘Gail’ Phillips.

From one to the next

March 23-27, 2021 – Half Staff Alert – Entire United States. “As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on March 22, 2021, in Boulder, Colorado… I [Joe Biden] hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, March 27, 2021.

“I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.”

The problem is that …in response to… “the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on March 16, 2021, in the Atlanta Metropolitan area,” the flags were at half-staff from March 18-22. In other words, the country went from noting one set of “senseless acts of violence” to the next. (I wonder what is meant by “sensible acts of violence.”)

So flags were ostensibly at half staff in New York State from March 18 through April 7, and a casual observer would not know why. The US flags were down for April 2-5 because the Capitol policeman killed on April 2.

Occasions

It’s interesting to see what warrants a state to have its flag at half-staff. Illinois did it for a YEAR because of COVID deaths. Other states took similar measures for much shorter periods.

Maryland designated February 20, the anniversary of Frederick Douglass’ death, as Civil Rights Heroes Day. Florida noted January 27, 2021, as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Georgia lauded Atlanta Braves’ baseball legend Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron from January 22-27.

This is an interesting cultural study. Anyway, I’ve signed up for alerts for New York State and the United States.