Surf City Announces Guidelines for Flying American Flag at Half-Staff

Nov 28, 2018

Two months after a resident challenged borough officials on their protocol for lowering the flag to half-staff, Mayor Francis Hodgson announced a list of dates when the flag would be lowered.

Those dates include Peace Officers Memorial Day, May 15; Memorial Day; Flag Day, June 14; Korean Armistice Agreement Day, July 27; Patriot Day, Sept. 11 and Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, Dec. 7.

In September, resident Pete Williams questioned officials on why the flag outside town hall wasn’t lowered on 9/11 or for the death of Sen. John McCain. At the time, Williams noted the flag position in the borough was inconsistent with other communities on the Island and with the borough fire company, located across the street from the municipal building.

“It’s my fault we missed it. We won’t miss it anymore,” Hodgson said, noting the list can be changed at any time.

The flag flies at half-staff when the nation is in mourning, according to the official guidelines for how to fly the American flag. It can be found at  A presidential proclamation accompanies a period of mourning. Local governments, businesses, school districts and even federal agencies can fly their flags at half-staff for the death of an employee, student, officials or emergency personnel. They do not have to follow how the executive branch flies its flag.

In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed that the flag should fly at half-staff for 30 days at all federal buildings, grounds and naval vessels throughout the U.S. and its territories and possessions after the death of the president or a former president. The flag is to be flown for 10 days at half-staff after the death of the vice president, the chief justice or a retired chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court or the speaker of the House of Representatives, according to the proclamation.

Eisenhower’s declaration also mandates the flag be lowered to half-staff at all federal buildings, grounds and naval vessels in the Washington, D.C., area on the day and day after the death of a U.S. senator, representative, territorial delegate or the resident commissioner from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. It should also be flown at half-staff at all federal facilities in the state, congressional district, territory or commonwealth of those officials.

“Upon the death of the governor of a state, territory or possession,” according to the proclamation, “the flag should be flown at half-staff on all federal facilities in that governor’s state, territory or possession from the day of death until interment.”

— Gina G. Scala

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