Why are flags half-staff this weekend, January 18-19? Although there are no national half-staff proclamations from President Donald Trump, a number of states have proclamations in place from sunrise to sunset on Saturday or Sunday. These are honoring people who have served their state or country and are no longer with us. Here’s a look at the people being honored this weekend by lowered flags across the country.
States Are Lowering Their Flags in Honor of Those No Longer with Us
In Texas, flags in Lubbock are half-staff from January 14 through January 19 in honor of Eric Hill, Lubbock Fire Rescue Lieutenant, and Nicholas Reyna, a Lubbock police officer. Hill and Reyna were killed in the line of duty. They were working on accidents along Interstate 27 when a vehicle struck them.
Reyna had served with the Lubbock Police Department for a year. He was only 27. Hill, 39, had been with Lubbock Fire Rescue for 10 years and had been promoted to lieutenant on July 2019.
In North Carolina, flags are half staff from January 13-19 in honor of SSG Ian Paul McLaughlin, 29, and Pfc. Miguel Angel Villalon, 21. They died in Afghanistan after their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb, WTVR reported.
McLaughlin, 29, was a squad leader and had been in the Army since 2012. He had a wife and four children, FayObserver.com reported. Villalon, 21, was a “quiet, unassuming leader” who served from his heart, one of his teachers, George Allen, told The Fayetteville Observer.
In Illinois, flags are half staff through January 18 in honor of Army SPC Henry Jarrett “Mitch” Mayfield Jr. Mayfield was killed in an attack by al-Shabab on a base used by U.S. and Kenyan military in Manda Bay. Mayfield, 23, was killed along with two Department of Defense contractors, Townhall reported. Mayfield joined the Army in 2017.
In West Virginia, flags are half staff on January 18 in honor of Mark Elliot Horwich, a local firefighter. Horwich died in the line of duty on January 11 when the firetruck he was driving crashed while responding to a call, Metro News reported. He had been a firefighter since 2001.
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.