If it seems like the American flag has been flying at half-staff a lot lately, that’s because it has.
President Barack Obama has ordered flags lowered in honor of national and international tragedies and the death of government officials more than any previous president, according to an I-Team examination of proclamations and executive orders.
But he’s not the only one to lower the flag for reasons outside those dictated in the flag code.
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.