Why are flags half-staff this weekend, December 14-15? Although there are no national half-staff proclamations from President Donald Trump today, a number of states do have proclamations in place from sunrise to sunset. Here’s a look at the people being honored or remembered this weekend by lowered flags across the country on Saturday or Sunday.
States Are Lowering Their Flags in the Memory of Those No Longer with Us
In Maine, U.S. and state flags are flying half-staff on Saturday, December 14 at the State Capitol and in the city of Westbrook in honor of former State Representative Ann Peoples. Her funeral is December 14 at 3 p.m. at Blais & Segee Chapel in Westbrook and visitation is from 1-3 p.m. Peoples died at the age of 72 and was serving her fifth term in the Maine House of Representatives, Press Herald reported. She passed away after facing several health issues.
In Connecticut, U.S. and state flags are flying half-staff on Saturday, December 14 in the memory of the 20 children and six adults who were killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown. Gov. Ned Lamont said in a statement: “We will never forget the twenty innocent, gentle children and six devoted educators whose lives were taken all too soon that terrible morning seven years ago. The tragedy that occurred that day is one of the worst in our history, but in its aftermath, we witnessed an unprecedented outpouring of humanity, hope, and kindness cascading into our state from over the entire world, spreading a message of love that we must proactively protect.”
In Indiana, flags are flying half-staff on the day of the funeral of Cpl. Larry Litton, Jr. on Saturday, December 14. Litton, 29, was found unresponsive at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center. His cause of death has not been released, Army Times reported. Spokeswoman Staff Sgt. Beth Houx said: “The National Guard is working in conjunction with local authorities to conduct a thorough investigation. Cpl. Litton was taken to St. Vincent Jennings Hospital in North Vernon, Ind., after he was found unresponsive.”
Litton was an assistant squad leader for the 384th Military Police Company and had been enlisted with the Army National Guard since 2012.
In New Jersey, the U.S. and state flags are flying half-staff from Friday, December 13 through Friday, December 20 in mourning of those who died in the Jersey City shooting. Four people died in the shooting: Detective Joseph Seals, Mindy Ferencz, Moshe Deutsch, and Douglas Miguel Rodriguez (according to the governor’s flag half-staff proclamation.) The two suspected shooters also died.
Flag Half-Staff Traditions
It’s customary to only display the American flag from sunrise to sunset, unless the flag is well illuminated overnight. In those cases, the flag might be displayed 24 hours a day. A number of holidays call for the U.S. flags to be lowered to half-staff every year. In addition, the President of the United States may order a proclamation for the flags to fly half-staff when someone of prominence dies or when there is a national tragedy. State governors may also call for national flags to be flown at half-staff in their state when a present or former government official passes away.
If you’re wondering about the term half-mast vs. half-staff, in the United States half-mast refers to flags being lowered on a ship, while half-staff refers to a pole on a building. However, outside the United States, the more commonly used term is actually half-mast. The terms tend to be used interchangeably in common vernacular.