During his presidency, Barack Obama has ordered the flag at half-mast 66 times, more than any other president in U.S. history. This surpassed George W. Bush’s 58 and can in part be attributed to the vast number of national tragedies since his inauguration in 2008. From the Sandy Hook shooting in to the recent killing of 49 people in Orlando, Obama has lowered the flags to show that we as a country are united even during times of disaster and mourning.
However, some are wondering where to draw the line. It took President Obama 5 days to lower the flag after a terrorist killed 5 military men last year in Chattanooga, which raised the question of what goes into deciding whether or not to lower the flag. According to USA Today, after the presidency of Dwight Eisenhower, there were regulations made for how long to lower the flag after the deaths of public figures. The flag should be lowered for 30 days for the death of a President and 10 for House speakers. President’s have a lot of flexibility in determining when and how long to lower the flag, and in recent years Congress has established certain memorial events in which the flag is to be lowered.
While there are still many questions regarding why or when the flag lowered, we can all agree that the lowering of the flag in recent days certainly signifies that we as a country are grieving the loss of Americans on our own soil.