Date: July 16, 2010
Byline: James V. Mineo
Letter: Lowering flag to half-staff is overdone
Half-staff? Consult the U.S. flag code
Watching the Major League Baseball All-Star game Tuesday night, we were informed of the passing of George Steinbrenner — a sad loss to the Yankees, fans and others. He was a regimented and successful business man. However, I was upset because the announcer mentioned that the national ensign would be flown at half-staff during the game in his honor.
Our flag does not play a role in the passing of a successful businessman. A couple of years ago a very popular NFL football player passed away and the stadium flew the flag at half-staff in his honor. At that time remains of those killed in action were arriving at Dover Air Force base from combat zones without this honor.
Flag code violations are flagrant. Local fire departments, emergency squads, municipalities, etc., lower the flag when a member is lost. When this occurs, the city or organizational flag is half-staffed. In the case of Steinbrenner, if would have been appropriate to lower the Yankee pennant in his honor.
The gesture of placing the flag at half-staff means the nation or state mourns the death of a highly regarded national or state figure, or returning military dead. The president of the United States or any governor may order the flag to be half-staffed. Individuals and agencies that usurp authority and display the flag at half-staff on inappropriate occasions are eroding the honor and reverence accorded this solemn act.
JAMES V. MINEO
President, Joint Veterans Council
Forks of the Delaware
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