Why is the Flag at Half-Staff?


The US flag is flown at half-staff until sunset, Sunday, December 30 to honor former President George H.W. Bush who died on Friday, November 30. Visit halfstaff.orgopens a new window for up-to-date information and sign up for alerts.

BRIEF HISTORY

The tradition of flying a flag at half-staff began in the 17th century. Sometimes you'll hear "half-mast" but that is reserved for usage aboard a ship. The president can issue an executive order for the flag to be flown at half-staff, often upon the death of a notable figure or because of a tragic event. When such an order is issued, all government buildings, military bases, schools and offices are to lower their flags half-staff. Why are other flags flown at half-staff? Because no flag can be placed above the flag of the United States. Governors of U.S. states and territories can also order U.S. and state flags to be flown at half-staff, often when a member of the armed forces dies in active duty or when a current or former state official dies. Learn more about the flag and Flag Dayopens a new window, a date that celebrates that red, white and blue.

FLAG ETIQUETTE

Read about flag code and etiquetteopens a new window

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