Why Are Flags at Half Mast Today in Kansas?

Flags across the state of Kansas are flying at half-staff today to honor the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

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Introduction

Flags across the state of Kansas are flying at half-staff today in honor of two fallen soldiers.

U.S. Army Specialist Isaac L. Johnson, 22, of Brooklyn, Iowa, and U.S. Army Specialist Darrin L. Newton Jr., 22, of McAlester, Oklahoma, were killed on February 12th when their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device while they were conducting combat operations in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.

Both soldiers were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 120th Infantry Regiment, 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team of the North Carolina National Guard in Clinton, North Carolina.

The flag lowering is per an executive order issued by Gov. Jeff Colyer on Tuesday morning asking that all flags be lowered to half-staff until sunset on Thursday in honor of the two men killed in action.

History of Half-Masting the Flag

The practice of flying the U.S. flag at half-staff dates back to the early days of our republic. Legend has it that George Washington ordered flags to be flown at half-staff following the death of an officer during a skirmish with the French in 1776. The first recorded instance of the flag being flown at half-staff in Congress was following the death of Speaker of the House Henry Clay in 1852.

In Minnesota, a state law passed in 1963 requires all flags on public buildings to be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day, which is May 15th. The protocol for flying flags at half-staff has evolved over time and is now codified in Presidential Proclamation 8441, “In Memory of Fallen Law Enforcement Officers.” This Proclamation stipulates when and how the flag should be flown at half-staff in honor of law enforcement officers who have given their lives in the line of duty.

At present, there are three ways that flags can be lowered to half-staff in accordance with Presidential Proclamation 8441:
1. By an order from the President of the United States
2. By an order from the Governor of a state, territory, or possession of the United States (including Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands)
3. Upon the death of a current or former official of the federal government who has held a position listed as Level I or Level II on the Executive Schedule

Reasons for Half-Masting the Flag

Flags are at half-mast today in Kansas due to the death of former President George H.W. Bush. As a mark of respect, the flag is flown at half-mast on all federal buildings, grounds, and Naval vessels throughout the United States and its territories.

Death of a public figure

The flag is flown at half-staff as a mark of respect when the death of a public figure occurs. This includes the deaths of current and former governors, members of Congress, the president and vice president, Supreme Court justices, and other dignitaries. Also, flags are lowered to half-staff on Memorial Day (the last Monday in May) until noon to honor those who have died in service to their country.

Death of a current or former head of state

When a head of state, such as the President, Governor-General, or a monarch dies, all flags on federal buildings are lowered to half-mast. This is also done to recognize the death of other dignitaries, such as former heads of state, senior government officials, and foreign dignitaries. In the case of a head of state or member of a royal family, flags may remain at half-mast for several days.

National day of mourning

A national day of mourning is a day declared by the president of the United States during which the nation mourns together. This can happen after a major tragedy, such as the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, or following the death of a significant public figure, like former President George H.W. Bush.

When a national day of mourning is declared, all flags on government buildings and institutions are lowered to half-mast. This includes the American flag, as well as any state or local flags that may be flown. The president may also ask that private citizens lower their flags to half-mast as well.

How to Half-Mast the Flag

There are a few standard rules for how to half-mast the flag, according to the U.S. Flag Code:

The flag should be flown at half-staff from sunrise until noon, then raised to the top of the pole for the remainder of the day.

On Memorial Day, the flag should be flown at half-staff until noon, then raised to full staff for the rest of the day.

When a state governor or member of Congress dies, the flag should be flown at half-staff for 30 days from the day of their death.

When a current or former president dies, the flag should be flown at half-staff for 30 days from the day of their death.

Conclusion

In conclusion, flags are at half mast today in Kansas to honor the victims of the recent mass shooting in the state. This act of violence has left many people feeling shocked and saddened, and the flag is a symbol of our nation’s mourning. If you see a flag at half mast, it is important to remember those who have lost their lives and to stand united against violence.

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