Governor lowers flag to half-staff for Whitney Houston causes controversy: Right or Wrong?

Governor lowers flag to half-staff for Whitney Houston causes controversy: Right or Wrong?

Trenton : NJ : USA | Feb 19, 2012 at 11:03 AM PST
Views: Pending
State Flags

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ordered all New Jersey State and American flags to be lowered to half-staff on Saturday in honor of entertainer Whitney Houston, who passed away this week.

In a similar gesture, he ordered flags lowered for Clarence Clemmons, a member of the E Street Band, and last month for the passing of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno.

Some have taken issue with this practice saying that American servicemen killed do not deserve a Grammy Award; therefore, musicians and celebrities are not deserving of the lowering of the American flag. Simply, "not everybody gets every honor,” according to

The site states further that Houston and Clemmons are both children of our great state and were both wildly successful. Each has made a significant contribution to music, culture, and the arts, and both are deserving of many accolades, but lowering of the American flag.

Their position is that certain honors should and must be set aside.

Rifle salutes, aircraft flyovers, and half-staffed flags are among those honors and they should not be on the public menu.

Regulations governing lowering American flag

Can a governor order the flag half-staffed for anyone they choose?

According to the Flag Code, No. Section 7m of the Flag Code authorizes a governor to half-staff the US flag upon the death of a present or former official of the government of the state, or the death of a member of the Armed Forces from that state who dies while serving on active duty.

The President, by comparison, is authorized to half-staff the US flag by proclamation upon the death of principal figures of the US Government and the Governor of a State, territory, or possession, as well as in the event of the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries.

It is recommended flying the state flag at half-staff instead.

A recent change allows governors to order the flag to half-staff to honor fallen soldiers from their state (see Public Law 110-41). The change was the result of governor proclamations, like this one from Governor Granholm of Michigan.

What do you think? Should the governor be allowed to lower the flag to half-staff for celebrities?

Some object to this extension of a governor's authority because they feel half-staffing the flag for every fallen soldier can be seen as anti-war. Some feel that overuse cheapens the symbolic power of half-staffing the flag, traditionally reserved for political leaders.

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Governor of New Jersey ordered American flag half mast causes controverse.
Dava Castillo is based in Clearlake, California, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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