Because I said so

City flag should fly at half-staff

On Oct. 1, a gunman opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas, killing 58 people and wounding nearly 500. The shooting is the deadliest in modern U.S. history. 

The next day, the President of the United States made a proclamation for all flags to be flown at half staff. In part, the proclamation read:

“Our Nation is heartbroken. We mourn with all whose loved ones were murdered and injured in last night’s horrible tragedy in Las Vegas, Nevada. As we grieve, we pray that God may provide comfort and relief to all those suffering.

“As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless act of violence perpetrated on October 1, 2017, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds...until sunset, October 6, 2017.”

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts then announced that in accordance with the president’s proclamation from President Donald J. Trump, all U.S. and Nebraska flags were to be flown at half-staff in honor of the victims of the act of violence in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ricketts said, “Please join Susanne and I in keeping the victims and families of the horrifying tragedy in Las Vegas in our thoughts and prayers.” 

It was brought to my attention on Thursday that our city flag at the park was not flying at half-staff. This was bothersome to me, and I hoped there was a reasonable explanation. 

The city clerk informed me the flag was not at half-staff because it’s essentially on a fixed pole. 

Since people at the park “have been destructive,” the city has the pole set not to slide up and down. 

Okay. I suppose this makes sense. But I’m still struggling. 

I wrote last week not to criticize what you don’t understand, so I don’t want to be a hypocrite. But the following seems pretty clear...

“I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds.”

To me, that sounds like the flag should have been flying at half-staff at our city park. 

It’s unfortunate that people have been destructive at the park, but I feel strongly it’s the city’s responsibility to honor our national and state proclamations “as a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless act of violence perpetrated on October 1, 2017.”

To not do so, in this case or any other, is disrespectful and shameful.

I hope the new flag pole the city is receiving takes care of this issue.

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