Why are flags half-staff today on Saturday, January 25? Although there are no national half-staff proclamations from President Donald Trump, a number of states have proclamations in place from sunrise to sunset today. 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 today by lowered flags across the country.
States Are Lowering Their Flags in Honor of Those No Longer with Us
In Texas, state and U.S. flags will be half-staff in Cameron County and surrounding counties in honor of Spc. Miguel A. Villalon on January 23 through sunset on the day of his burial on January 25, The Valley Star reported. Villalon is a native of Brownsville. Individuals, businesses, and others are encouraged to also lower their flags. Villalon and Staff Sgt. Ian Paul McLaughlin of Virginia were killed in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan while conducting operations. Villalon had just joined the Army in 2018.
The Texas and U.S. flags will also fly half staff at the state Capitol on January 25.
In Wyoming, the state and U.S. flags will fly at half-staff on January 24 from sunrise until sunset to honor Michael Wilder, 51, a Wamsutter paramedic. He died in the line of duty on January 11 when he responded to a fatal crash and experienced a cardiac arrest, Sweetwater Now reported.
A memorial service will be January 25 at 1 p.m. at the Rawlins High School Auditorium, with a reception at Michael’s Steakhouse at 2 p.m. Emergency service organizations are welcome to attend, a Facebook post read, but are asked to RSVP if participating in the procession. You can send donations to the family via Rawlins Bank of Commerce to the account name Belinda Irick.
In Illinois, U.S. and state flags are flying half staff until sunset today in honor of SPC Miguel Angel Villalon of the U.S. Army. Villalon and Staff Sgt. Ian Paul McLaughlin of Virginia were killed in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan while conducting operations. Villalon’s hometown was in Aurora, Illinois. He was also honored with flags flying half staff in Texas.
In Montana, flags are flying half staff in honor of Montana Air National Guard Pilot Lt. Col. Ian McBeth. McBeth died on January 23 while combating the fire in Australia. Gov. Bullock said in a statement: “Ian was a devoted father and husband, a brave first responder, and a selfless service member who made the ultimate sacrifice helping the people of Australia combat the catastrophic wildfires devastating their country. Our service members and their families already sacrifice so much, and Ian took his call of duty even further to help those in need across the world. The thoughts and prayers of my family and administration are with the family, friends, and the fellow guard members of Lt. Col. McBeth. We will always be grateful for Ian’s service to our state, our nation and the world.”
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.