Lowering the Flag

Lowering Flag For War’s Dead Brings New Rift
by Ian Urbina
This article from the New York Times brings up an interesting debate on why and for whom we fly the flag at half-mast. According to The United States Flag Code, the desicion to fly the flag at half-mast can only be made by the United States President and the individual state governors.
Traditionally, the flag has been lowered for a month at a time to honor the death of presidents and government officials. But since the start of the Iraq war more than half of the states’ governors have decided to lower their flags for 24 hours when a soldier dies in combat.
Some people feel that the constant lowering of the flag for every soldier who dies in combat cheapens the tribute and is in fact an antiwar comment. Most military families feel it is a welcome a sign of respect for fallen soldiers.

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, who has lowered the flag 127 times since 2003, says it is “Not a comment about the war. But it is a statement about service and about soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”

During a recent funeral for a Michigan soldier, the car procession passed through several towns that the young soldier had grown up, gone to school, and worked in. The state agencies had the flag lowered but the post office, which takes its direction from the federal government, did not lower the flag.
A postal employee said, “If you lower every time a soldier dies, it will be down so often that people will only notice and ask when it is up.”

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1 Response to “Lowering the Flag”


  1. 1 Chuck July 3, 2007 at 12:30 am

    Yeah, some people think that a picture of a flag draped coffin is an antiwar statement, too. I think some folks are more comfortable in a reality that doesn’t acknowledge reality. Me, I’m thinking I’ve gotta ask the governor to have the flags flown upside down till we get outta this time of distress. (I’m reacting to the Scooter Libby pardon a little bit here).


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