Flag etiquette extends to half-staff displays

From Staff Reports

   A national tragedy and the loss of a city government official have kept many U.S. flags flying at half-staff around the city of Elizabethton during the last two weeks.
   President Bush ordered flags be flown at half-staff to honor the seven astronauts killed when the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas on Feb. 1.
   Flags at Elizabethton City Hall and other municipal sites flew at half-staff this week to mark the death of Councilwoman Diane Morris.
   Federal law spells out standards of etiquette including events and duration of time to fly the U.S. flag at half-staff.
   According to U.S. Code Title 36, Chapter 10, commonly referred to as the "Flag Code," the president may order the flag 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 orders, or in accordance with recognized customs or practices not inconsistent with law.
   The Code reads that the flag is to 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 U.S. House of Representatives.
   The Flag Code specifies half-staff time span to extend from the day of death until the 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 Code also specifies that in the event of the death of a present or former state government official of the United States, the governor of that state may proclaim that the national flag shall be flown at half-staff.