President Obama, Our Flag and Nelson Mandela

U.S. Flag at half-staff in Remembrance of Nelson MandelaIt helps to know the history of your country, the rules and etiquette of your nation’s flag and the authority your nation’s leader has regarding the nation’s flag.
If you haven’t already, keep reading the internet web and/or listening to the news and social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. There you’ll see, read and/or hear trending stories of people and pundits making a fuss over President Barack Obama’s order to lower our nation’s flag to half-staff in memory of former South African president Nelson Mandela who passed away Thursday, December 5,Barack Obama 2013. Click Nelson Mandela: A Timeline to read my post and get a quick view of his life. On that date, President Obama issued a presidential proclamation ordering our flags to be lowered to half-staff until sunset Monday, December 9, 2013. Click Presidential Proclamation – Death of Nelson Mandela to read the proclamation. There is one particular story trending where a sheriff in South Carolina is defying the president’s flags at half-staff order in his department. Read that story here. NOTE: There is no legal penalty for defying the presidential order.

Some people are saying that lowering our flag for foreign leaders is not customary – which would be true to some extent if American history of the past forty-eight years didn’t suggest otherwise. Others are saying that since Mandela was not an American citizen then President Obama is/was wrong to order that the flag of the United States be lowered in his honor. And, as has so often been the case where half-staff-flags2Barack Obama is concerned, there are those people who are jumping on the ever-moving and ever-growing Obama-hate bandwagon to add their own senseless criticism of our president against something which they know little to nothing about. All of these people apparently refuse to check facts or do any research. As usual, I’m here to set the record straight and help quell the senseless argument(s) on this non-issue!
Here are the facts:

  1. By law, the President of the United States has the authority to order the U.S. flag flown at half-staff upon the death of a foreign dignitary. Click to read the U.S. Code regarding the Flag of the United States.
  2. The rare or customary practice (these terms are debatable so take your pick) – if we are to judge American history on this issue, was most notably first put into place by:
    • President Lyndon B. Johnson – upon the death of England’s former Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1965 
      followed by
    • President Ronald Reagan – upon the death of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981
    • President Bill Clinton – upon the deaths of Israel Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 and of Jordan’s King Hussein bin Talal in 1999
      and
    • President George W. Bush – upon the death of Pope Paul II in 2005.

    Keep in mind that by the United States lowering its national flag for our friendly yet deceased foreign dignitaries in these situations, we show Nelson Mandela 1918-2013solidarity and respect as a nation to our allies. President Obama is/was legally and morally correct in his action in giving the order to have our nation’s flags lowered to half-staff in memory and respect of the late Nelson Mandela.

    Now, how do I know all of this? Simple. Not only did I live in all of those moments just mentioned, I also spent twenty years in the Navy and had lots of burial detail duty. I recall quite a bit about flag etiquette. I also did my homework and rechecked my dates to make sure my memory of these facts was accurate. I encourage each of you to do the same.
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    ** And now, this quick semi-related “NTK” (nice-to-know) info **
    Perhaps you’ve heard the terms half-staff and half-mast used interchangeably and wondered which term was correct.
    Here’s all you need to know:
    In American English, a flag flown halfway up its flagpole as a symbol of mourning is at half-staff  while a flag flown halfway up a ship’s mast is to signal mourning or distress and is referred to as being at half-mast.. Outside North America, half-staff is not a widely used term Flag at half-mast on ship inportand half-mast is used in reference to half-raised flags both on land and at sea. The term half-mast is also preferred in Canada for both uses, though half-staff appears more frequently there than it does outside North America.
    Reference: My personal U.S. Navy experience – supported by Grammarist.com
    Now you know!

    Keepin’ It…REAL!

Nelson Mandela: A Timeline

Nelson Mandela

R.I.P,  Nelson Mandela.
Our African ancestors welcome you home.

Here was a man who had been an inspiration to people the world over! Study this timeline carefully and learn something! (Click photo below to enlarge and access link.)
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Nelson Mandela: Before Prisoner, Beyond President
Source: http://www.bestmswprograms.com/nelson-mandela/
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Keepin’ It…REAL!