Why is the American flag in NY's Union Square Park flying at half mast today?
September 19, 2004 4:50 PM   Subscribe

The American flag in New York's Union Square Park is flying at half-mast today. What is the occasion? (And where can I find a resource for finding this out in the future?)
posted by werty to Grab Bag (11 answers total)
There was severe flooding due to the remnants of hurricane Ivan;
a number of subway lines were shut down - one due to electrical fire -
while sewage flooded a number of areas.
posted by Smart Dalek at 5:07 PM on September 19, 2004

pedanticfilter, but it has to be said.

Unless Union Square Park was moved to a barge in the river, it's half-STAFF, not half-mast.
posted by baltimore at 5:34 PM on September 19, 2004

i always wonder that too.
posted by amberglow at 6:08 PM on September 19, 2004

werty, in my earlier response, I forgot to add that any branch of civil service for information related to flag status. Once a federal/state/municipal observance is enacted, police, fire, EMS and park service are required to ensure the flag is lowered or raised. Hospitals and schools follow observance as well, though a firehouse or veteran's association would be the better places to inquire.
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:09 PM on September 19, 2004

maybe for that dead Ramone? or all the soldiers in Iraq?
posted by amberglow at 6:23 PM on September 19, 2004

29 soldiers killed this past week in Iraq. 80+ dead in Florida.
posted by Ufez Jones at 6:37 PM on September 19, 2004

I was just about to ask this question too. Is there some central government webpage which tells why the flags fly at half-staff? They've been down all day here in DC, too.
posted by brownpau at 8:29 PM on September 19, 2004

You can find the current flag status at Flag Half Staff.

Sadly, the state flag area seems to be out of date.

So far, I haven't found a better resource, so I'd love it if someone else knew of one.
posted by frykitty at 12:03 AM on September 20, 2004

The flag over Grant's Tomb was at half staff yesterday, so clearly someone knows the answer.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:24 AM on September 20, 2004

Nation-wide half-staffings generally require a presidential proclomation. I don't see one in this case, however, which is strange.

According to U.S. law:

The flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day. On Memorial Day the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff. By order of the President, the flag shall be flown at half-staff 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 instructions or orders, or in accordance with recognized customs or practices not inconsistent with law. 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, the Governor of that State, territory, or possession may proclaim that the National flag shall be flown at half-staff. The flag shall be flown at half-staff 30 days from the death of the President or a former President; 10 days from the day of death of the Vice President, the Chief Justice or a retired Chief Justice of the United States, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives; from the day of death until interment of an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, a Secretary of an executive or military department, a former Vice President, or the Governor of a State, territory, or possession; and on the day of death and the following day for a Member of Congress. The flag shall be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day, unless that day is also Armed Forces Day
posted by ChasFile at 8:33 AM on September 20, 2004

Slightly off-topic, but for those annoyed/confused/interested in the half-mast vs half-staff debate, there is a good article on CBC’s Words: Woe and Wonder site.

Basically, both are correct but half-staff is the preferred term in the US while half-mast is the older of the two and is used in the rest of the English-speaking world.
posted by Monk at 10:10 AM on September 20, 2004

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