Why Are Flags Half-Staff Today? See Proclamations for January 8

Why are flags flying half staff?

Getty Why are flags flying half-staff?

Why are United States flags flying at half-staff today? In some locations, U.S. flags are flying at half-staff today on Saturday, January 8, in honor of former Senator Harry Reid. Other states are also flying their flags at half-staff to honor other people who are no longer with us. Read on to learn more details about why the flags are lowered.


Flags Are Flying Half-Staff for Harry Reid in Many States Today

In many locations, flags are flying half-staff today in memory of Reid.

President Joe Biden issued a Presidential Proclamation that flags would fly at half-staff on the day of Reid’s interment (burial), which has not yet been determined. FlagSteward reported that there was confusion and some believed this would take place on January 8, the day of his funeral. However, it will likely be at a later date on or after he lies in state on January 12.

Here is Biden’s proclamation:

From humble roots in Searchlight, Nevada, Harry Reid rose to become one of the great Senate Majority Leaders in American history.  He was a man of action, and a man of his word — guided by faith, loyalty, and unshakeable resolve.

Throughout his long career of public service, Harry Reid was instrumental in passing landmark legislation that made a positive difference in the lives of countless Americans and made our Nation stronger and safer.  His devoted service to our Nation was not about power for power’s sake.  It was about the power to do right by the American people.

As a mark of respect for his memory, I hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, that on the day of his interment, 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 on such day.  I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same period 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 twenty-ninth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-sixth.

JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

Reid’s funeral has been scheduled for today, January 8, 2022, in his home state of Nevada, FlagsExpress reported. However, Reid is lying in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on January 12, 2022, so he will not be buried on January 8, FlagsExpress shared in an email. Thus, flags were not expected to be flying half-staff nationally on January 8. Heavy will share another article on the day of the national proclamation.

FlagsExpress noted in an email that some state proclamations erroneously placed Reid’s day of interment as today, which is not the case. With or without a national proclamation, however, many states have issued their own half-staff proclamations for Reid that are in effect today.

In Nevada, a half-staff order was issued for former Sen. Reid, beginning on December 29 and will last until the day of Reid’s interment.

FlagsExpress also shared in an email that Illinois and North Carolina have half-staff notices in place today for Reid that are independent of Biden’s proclamation. Flags in these states will be flying half-staff today in honor of Reid.

Tucson Sentinel reported that flags will fly at half-staff today in Arizona due to a proclamation from Gov. Doug Ducey to honor Reid on the day of his funeral.

On January 7, Gov. Chris Sununu issued a half-staff order for January 8 in New Hampshire in recognition of Reid’s funeral, according to his website.

It is also possible that you may see flags flying at half-staff in some other states in honor of Reid today too, even if they are not listed here.


States Have Additional Half-Staff Proclamations of Their Own

Some states have issued their own proclamations today to remember others who have died.

In Maryland, flags are flying half-staff until January 11 in memory of Officer Keona Holley, who died on December 23 after she was injured on December 16 in the line of duty. Her funeral is scheduled for January 11, WBALTV reported.

In Ohio, flags are at half-staff at the statehouse, the Vern Rifle Center, the Rhodes State Tower, and in Cuyahoga County through January 11 in memory of Cleveland Police Officer Shane Bartek. Bartek was killed on New Year’s Eve when he attempted to disarm a robber, Cleveland.com reported


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 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 dies.

If you’re wondering about the terms half-mast versus half-staff, in the United States half-mast refers to flags being lowered on a ship, while half-staff refers to a pole on the ground or a building, according to the Naval History and Heritage Command’s blog The Sextant. However, outside the United States, the more commonly used term is actually half-mast, according to The Sextant. The terms tend to be used interchangeably in common vernacular.

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