LOS ANGELES, February 16, 2012 - Republican Gov. Chris Christie of Newark, N.J. has a reputation of being one Governor you just do not cross.
On Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 Christie made a decision to remember N.J. native Whitney Houston, by ordering that American flags be lowered to half-staff on Saturday in memory of the fallen singer.
The decision to have the American flag flown at half-staff, or one breadth lower to allow for the invisible flag of death has long been the prerogative of the President of the United States. Recent amendments to the code do allow Governors and the Mayor of the District of Columbia, to order a half-staff flag be flown.
However of late people from Attorney General Janet Reno to Mickey Mouse have given the order.
The raising of the flag to full staff, before lowering to half-staff is a symbol of respect and mourning. According to the U.S. Flag code, it is to be lowered “upon the death of principal figures of the United States Government and the Governor of a State, territory, or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory. In the event of the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries, the flag is to be displayed at half-staff according to Presidential orders, or in accordance with recognized customs or practices not inconsistent with law.”
More recently it is also appropriate as a symbol of respect for great Americans who are noted for their non-government service and achievement.
The governor says he his intent is not to portray Houston, who was born in Newark and was raised in nearby East Orange, as a role model. Instead, he says, Houston deserves the honor because of her huge cultural impact and as “a daughter of New Jersey.”
“I am disturbed by people who believe that because her ultimate demise — and we don’t know what is the cause of her death yet — but because of her history of substance abuse that somehow she’s forfeited the good things that she did in her life,” said the governor during a briefing in northern New Jersey. “I just reject that on a human level.”
Rejecting the criticism, Christie says: “What I would say to everybody is there but for the grace of God go I.”
Some people have mixed emotions about the flag being lowered and Christie says some people are being critical “without the facts,” including those going so far as to accuse him of treating Whitney Houston better than fallen American soldiers.
The governor acknowledges he has ordered flags flown at half-staff for all 31 fallen New Jersey soldiers and every fallen police officer during his time as governor in office.
Chris Christie also ordered the American flags to be lowered last June for Clarence Clemons who died last year. He was the saxophonist for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.
In memory of the late Steve Jobs, U.S. flags were also hung at half-staff at Apple headquarters and Disney World.
These two displays are not in accordance with the Flag Code.
More appropriately, at Microsoft’s headquarters, the American flag flew at full-staff and to honor Steve Jobs the Microsoft corporate flag flew at half-staff.
The Republican Governor is taking a stand. Does Whitney, or any celeb, deserve the honor of the half-staff flag?
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