Why Are the Flags at Half-Staff Today? They’re Half-Mast for the Shooting Victims


Why are  United States flags flying at half-mast today? You’ll be seeing U.S. flags at government buildings across the country flying at half-staff through sunset on August 8 in memory of the shooting victims in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. Some states are also flying their flags at half-staff at state buildings too. Read on to learn more details about the flags flying at half-mast this week.

Flags Are Flying Half-Staff in Memory  of the El Paso & Dayton Shooting Victims

Two horrific shooting events happened within hours of each other. Twenty people died at an El Paso, Texas shooting at a Walmart and nine people died in a Dayton, Ohio shooting near a bar.

On Sunday, August 4, President Donald Trump ordered that all flags be flown at half-mast through sunset on Thursday, August 8, 2019. His proclamation reads:

Our Nation mourns with those whose loved ones were murdered in the tragic shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, and we share in the pain and suffering of all those who were injured in these two senseless attacks. We condemn these hateful and cowardly acts. Through our grief, America stands united with the people of El Paso and Dayton. May God be with the victims of these two horrific crimes and bring aid and comfort to their families and friends. As a mark of solemn respect for the victims of the terrible acts of violence perpetrated on August 3, 2019, in El Paso, Texas, and on August 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I 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, August 8, 2019. 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.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourth day of August, in the year of our Lord two thousand nineteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America two hundred forty-fourth.”

Flags Are Flying Half-Staff at Many State Buildings Too

You may also notice that flags are flying half-staff at some state buildings too. In fact, Texas was the first state to declare that flags would fly at half-mast, even before Trump issued his proclamation.

Gov. Greg Abbott made the declaration through August 8 also. His proclamation for Texas reads:

The El Paso community was struck by a heinous and senseless act of violence today. Our hearts go out to the victims of this horrific shooting and to the entire community in this time of loss. As such, it is fitting that flags should be lowered immediately to half-staff in memory of those who lost their lives.

Therefore, pursuant to Chapter 3100 of the Texas Government Code, I direct the Texas flag be immediately lowered to half-staff statewide on Saturday, August 3, 2019, in memory of those who lost their lives. Flags should remain at half-staff through sunset on Thursday, August 8, 2019. Flags should be returned to full-staff on the following day.

Individuals, businesses, municipalities, counties, and other political subdivisions and entities are encouraged to fly their flags at half-staff for the same length of time as a sign of honor and respect.

The First Lady and I extend our prayers of comfort to the survivors and the families of the victims and we will continue to keep them in our thoughts and prayers.”

Some other states are flying half-staff for different reasons. In Michigan, flags will fly half-staff through sunset on Monday, August 5 in honor of the 70th anniversary of the Mann Gulch Fire. This was a wildfire on August 5, 1949. A team of 15 smokejumpers approached the fire when unexpected high winds caused the fire to grow, cutting off their way out. The fire blew up 3,000 acres in just 10 minutes, and 13 firefighters died. Only three in the group of 15 smokejumpers survived.

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