And he should by angered by the lowering of the National Colors by the mayor of Buffalo, Russert's home town, and at NBC headquarters, where be spent most of his career.
With all the self-importance of a small time politician, Buffalo's mayor announced, "To honor Tim Russert's memory, I have ordered all flags on City property to be lowered immediately to half-staff."
Buffalo and NBC didn't lower the flag last week for our friend and national hero, Jack Lucas, Medal of Honor--Iwo Jima. (The governor of Mississippi ordered flags to half-staff for one day in Jack's honor--which is proper.)
Not only are NBC and Buffalo violating the US flag Code, by doing so they diminish one of our most rare and solemn national gestures.
If governors and mayors and city waste managers take it upon themselves to lower our flag based on nothing more than personal desire, then the symbolic value of the honor is destroyed.
News flash, Your Honors... George Bushis President and you aren't; besides, even George Bush cannot lower the flag for Tim Russert. Just being a hard working professional does not meet the criteria... not the same universe; and he can't be buried in Arlington either.
I had a running battle with the dipwad principal of Columbine High School after the shooting which claimed 13 lives in 2001; he lowered the flag outside the school and left it that way for at least a week.
No veterans organization, the mayor or the governor called him on it.
Some are so fearful of upsetting people who disrespect the flag... that they disrespect the flag.
Only the president can order the flag lowered to half-staff and only for specific reasons and figures: the death of principal figures of the US Government and the Governor of a State, territory, or possession, as well as in the event of the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries.
Recently the governor of Utah ordered the flag to half-staff in honor of a prominent religious leader. Wrong... not authorized by the Flag Code. But why was it lowered for the Pope...? Because the Pope is obviously a "foreign dignitary," which is authorized.
You want to lower the flag for the kindly janitor who was a WWII vet? No. Again .. only the President of the United States or your Governor can order the US flag lowered to half-staff and those instances are very restricted.
As a private citizen you may lower your flag to half staff on these occasions:
- May 15 — Peace Officers Memorial Day: half-staff from sunrise to sunset
- Last Monday in May — Memorial Day: the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon
- September 11 — Patriot Day: half-staff from sunrise to sunset
- December 7 — National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day: half-staff from sunrise to sunset
And, of course, on reliable information that a past or present President, Vice-President, Chief Justice, or Speaker of the House has die, or on proclamation from the President or your state's governor.
If my comrades from the Vietnam war do not rate the lowering of the flag for sacrificing their lives for this country, how can it be lowered for a journalist who never served a day in uniform?
"But GA, isn't the a case of "their hearts being in the right place"?
Nope... this is a case of their heads being in the wrong place.
I live in Gainesville Texas... the most patriotic town I've ever called home, but it doesn't take me driving three minutes from my house to find and improperly displayed or soiled, tattered US flag.
I once encountered a "display" in a store consisting of three hay bales, draped with an American flag and topped off with a old saddle. Took me a week to convince management that I would keep complaining until they took care of it, which they did.
Those patriotic US Flag floor mats in your truck?.... no: Section 8b of the Flag Code reads, " The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground..."
Is a flag T-shirt a flag..?. yes.
Flag lapel pin a "flag"? Absolutely, and should only be worn over the heart, not on your damned VFW cap.
The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. and as such is due all appropriate respect.
A couple of hundred servicemen parade a gigantic flag across the field at the Super Bowl. Violation?--yes. "The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free."
Here's a photo essay from Seth Butler on desecration of the flag.
I refuse to watch the Summer Olympics every four years (instead, I write angry letters) because of the vile and disrespectful way US team members treat my flag... as a shawl, as a head towel, a prop to wave for the photographers while wadded in a fist or as something to trail on the ground behind them as the "represent" their country.
These jackasses are far more respectful of their bling.
Do I think most people will even bother to find out of their flag etiquette is sound... no, but just use common sense. Better not to display the flag than to do so improperly.
Lastly, and this is for all my Texas amigos... especially Don: Is Texas the only state flag allowed to fly at the same height as the US flag?
Texas law is consistent with those of the other states. See: Texas Flag Code.
No. Americans should not have to be threatened to treat our flag with respect.
And by the way: There is an elite group where, by executive order, the flag is to fly 24 hours a day:
- Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, Baltimore, Maryland
- Flag House Square, Albemarle and Pratt Streets, Baltimore Maryland
- United States Marine Corps Memorial (Iwo Jima), Arlington, Virginia
- On the Green of the Town of Lexington, Massachusetts
- The White House, Washington, DC.
- Washington Monument, Washington, DC.
- Fifty flags of the United States are displayed at the Washington Monument continuously.
- United States Customs Ports of Entry which are continually open
And... the flag flies 24 hours a day at the South Pole and on the Moon.