Do a quick search for “@GovChristie” on twitter and you will find that many folks, including veterans and families of service members, are expressing displeasure at the governor’s decision to fly flags at half mast on the day of Whitney Houston’s funeral. Christie has defended the decision, noting that her cultural contribution warrants the honor. Gee, wouldn’t it be helpful if there were some sort of official rules related to this issue?
Turns out there is such a set of rules – United States Code Title 4 Chapter 1, also known as the Flag Code. And while “actions not specifically included in the Code may be deemed acceptable as long as proper respect is shown,” section 7m specifically notes the circumstances under which the flag can be flown at half-mast.
None of the listed conditions seem to match the death of an entertainer. That is, of course, not to minimize in any way Houston’s contribution to popular culture or the many lives she touched with her music. That is simply to say, there are lots of entertainers from New Jersey; exactly how famous and/or influential does one have to be to receive this honor? The subjectivity involved with having to decide who does and doesn’t get flags flown at half mast seems like exactly the kind of reason we have a Flag Code in the first place. But that’s just me.
(Click here to the the U.S. Flag Code.)
Open thread – what do you think?