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Flags down, then up, then down again for Sen. Robert Byrd

By Ed O'Keefe


Want a fun piece of trivia to offer up alongside the burgers at your July 4th barbeque? Read on.

President Obama on Wednesday ordered all American flags to fly at half staff until the evening of Sen. Robert Byrd's burial, scheduled for next week.

But in a twist of fate that the West Virginia Democrat -- a stickler for federal rules and procedure -- would likely relish, Obama's proclamation conflicts with elements of the Federal Flag Code.

The code states that a president can order flags to half staff whenever he chooses, but it also says that Old Glory must fly at full staff on 14 specific days of the year, including Independence Day. Since Obama's proclamation conflicts with July 4th, he also ordered flags to fly at full staff on Sunday "in honor and tribute" to Byrd, who he called "a great patriot."

(The proclamation applies only to Sunday, the actual 4th of July, and not Monday, when federal offices will be closed for observance of the national holiday. Flags should again drop to half staff on the 5th, until Byrd's burial.)

Flags must fly at half staff for 30 days from the death of a president or former president and for 10 days from the death of a vice president, Supreme Court chief justice and speaker of the House, according to the code. Make sure to lower your flags on the day of death until the burial of a Supreme Court associate justice, a Cabinet secretary or military branch secretary, a former vice president and state governor. Normally flags fly at half staff on the day a member of Congress dies and the day after, but Byrd is a rare exception.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 1, 2010; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  Congress, Miscellaneous  
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Comments

Obama was born in Kenya, what would he know about the Flag code?

Posted by: seraphina21 | July 1, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

The reason for the long time at half staff for Byrd is because, as usual, BO did not know of the rules for flags - certainly he did not know what the rules said! Apparently he did not know Byrd was the lofty head of the KKK. WVa has almost no blacks. Guess the KKK was successful in keeping them out of WVa. Have also heard that Byrd was one of the biggest takers of pork!! He should have stepped down many years ago.

Posted by: annnort | July 1, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

@seraphina21

"Obama was born in Kenya,"

Proof, please.

Hint: "I heard on Glenn Beck" doesn't count.

Neither does any source from hate radio.

As for Sarah Palin, you've gotta be kidding.

Now provide the proof.

Or keep quiet.


Posted by: ceefer66 | July 1, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

As one of the non-existent African Americans who call WVA home, I agree with O'Keefe. Byrd would have relished the adherence with the Federal Flag Code. RIP, Senator.

Posted by: Pearlsb4Swine1 | July 1, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Obama was born in Kenya, what would he know about the Flag code?

Posted by: seraphina21 | July 1, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

The reason for the long time at half staff for Byrd is because, as usual, BO did not know of the rules for flags - certainly he did not know what the rules said! Apparently he did not know Byrd was the lofty head of the KKK. WVa has almost no blacks. Guess the KKK was successful in keeping them out of WVa. Have also heard that Byrd was one of the biggest takers of pork!! He should have stepped down many years ago.

Posted by: annnort
_____________________
you should both read before you rant. Obama got the flag code correct (the article is a bit misleading in that regard) the proclamation itself says that on July 4, the flag shall be at full staff, just as the Flag Code requires, and that for the remaining days before and after, until burial, it shall be at half, which, as the article notes, the Flag Code permits the president to order as he pleases.

So, Obama is right, you sound absurd.

Posted by: JoeT1 | July 1, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Robert Byrd was not perfect, but he was also never head of the KKK... he was a member back in the 1940's at a time when he could gain political connections by doing so. West Virginia, though primarily white, is not the breeding ground for racism as it's played out to be. There are people of every size, shape, and color here... and that's just fine with 99.9% of us. It's that .01% that think that Pres Obama is muslim and use the n word regularly that get put on nationwide tv showing "typical" West Virginians. We're good people here, and deserve to be treated as such. Thank You.

Posted by: AdamRichards1984 | July 1, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, AdamRichards1984 for your comment.

As a West Virginian (like you), I can vouch that the vast majority of us are "good people."

RCB was not perfect (far from it), but his career is one that shows that redemption is possible. Too bad that the haters insist that we continue to denounce him as a KKK thug.

For myself, I think I admire most his opposition to the war in Iraq upon both constitutional (the resolution authorizing it was, in his view, a capitulation of the legislative branch to the executive branch of government) and moral (Iraq did not attack us and did not pose a clear and present danger to our national security) grounds. It was a courageous position, particularly since he was in a small minority. Would that he had prevailed over the neocons then.

There were things about Byrd I do NOT admire, but I still think that his service to WV and the nation is a conspicuous "net plus." We West Virginians have been well-served by Robert C. Byrd.

Posted by: post_reader_in_wv | July 1, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

When I read tin foil hat propaganda like that from "SERAPHINA" above, I always wonder how it is those people find the floor when they get up in the morning.


I mean, seriously - - how DO they make it out to the short bus?

Posted by: lquarton | July 2, 2010 2:23 AM | Report abuse

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