John Burri, Father of Fallen Soldier, Burns NJ Flag to Protest Whitney Houston Tribute
I had mixed feelings when I read this article. Most of us associate lowering flags to half-mast with Memorial Day or mourning the loss of a President. And more recently on 9/11.
I thought, “I guess he could lower the flag of the state of New Jersey if he wants.” And the article said:
Federal law gives governors of American states power to have flags lowered for residents or state officials. There is no law requiring that person to have served in the armed forces.
The thing is, though, he also ordered the US flag to be lowered. Not cool according to the flag code:
7m…In the event of the death of a present or former official of the government of any State, territory, or possession of the United States, or the death of a member of the Armed Forces from any State, territory, or possession who dies while serving on active duty, the Governor of that State, territory, or possession may proclaim that the National flag shall be flown at half-staff…
I’ve read on some comment sections that he violated New Jersey Statues by lowering the state flag:
52:3-11. Flag at half-staff
The Governor shall, upon receiving timely notification and verification of the death of a New Jersey citizen who has been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by an act of the Congress of the United States, direct that the State flag at all public buildings throughout the State be flown at half-staff for a period of one week following the death of such a citizen.
I agreed with a poster who said that nowhere in there does it say that’s the only time he can fly it at half mast. So if he were to go by the rules, he shouldn’t have had the US flag lowered, but he probably could get away with lowering the New Jersey state flag.
Governor Christie felt Whitney Houston was a New Jersey native who should be remembered and mourned. I can totally see why people would be mad though, especially Mr Burris. Heroes and celebrities aren’t necessarily interchangeable. It’s especially difficult to swallow considering she died while battling her addiction to drugs and alcohol.
To his credit, Governor Christie has acknowledged many of his residents in uniform who made the ultimate sacrifice. The most recent before Whitney Houston’s passing:
The flag of the United States of America and the flag of New Jersey shall be flown at half-staff at all State departments, offices, agencies, and instrumentalities during appropriate hours on Monday, January 30, 2012, in recognition and mourning of a brave and loyal American hero, United States Marine Corporal Kevin J. Reinhard…1/26/12
I am very sorry for Mr. Burris’ loss. He said,
“Sometimes, you have to do something drastic and extreme for people to listen. I just hope it made a point that maybe someone will pick this up and get a new law made for flag etiquette.”
Whatever comes of this, we heard him loud and clear.
What do you think?