When does the U.S. flag fly at half-staff?

Hampden County

In wake of the recent mass shooting at a synagogue where 11 people were killed, flags around the country were lowered to half-staff.

Only the President can order the flag to fly at half-staff across the county, and it occurs when the nation is in mourning. This year alone, the U.S. flag has been lowered nine times. 

The flag is lowered to mark the death of an official, dignitary or in the wake of a tragedy like this weekend’s mass shooting in Pittsburgh.

Although you can follow the executive branch’s protocols for flying the flag, it is not a requirement. Local communities can decide to fly their flags at half-staff to honor a fallen police officer, a mayor, or community member.

“It is disappointing that it’s lowered so often now,” Longmeadow resident Vin Grassetti told 22News. “But I don’t believe it loses its meaning for people who appreciate what the flag stands for.”

According to the U.S. government’s website, the flag should be briskly run up to the top of the staff before being brought down slowly to the half-staff position.

When a flag is worn, tattered, ripped or soiled beyond repair, it is no longer fit to fly and should be retired appropriately.

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