President George W. Bush was the first to lower the flag for natural disasters, including Hurricane Katrina and the Indian Ocean tsunamis.
President Bill Clinton approved legislation that requires the flag to be lowered each Dec. 7 in honor of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
Before President Lyndon Johnson, proclamations in honor of Memorial Day simply offered a prayer for peace and did not order flags to be lowered until noon.
And Johnson neglected to order flags lowered in his proclamation declaring a national day of mourning following the death of President John F. Kennedy, although Americans flew the flag at half-staff in Kennedy’s honor without an official decree.
Locally, there are other traditions for flag lowering. The Dayton National Cemetery flies its flag at half-staff during burial service hours daily.