Obama Ordered Flags to Half Staff for Newtown, But Not 5 Military Personnel Murdered in Tenn.

By Brittany M. Hughes | July 20, 2015 | 1:48pm EDT
(AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – As of Monday morning, July 20, the U.S. flag continued to fly at the top of the pole above the White House and at the U.S. Capitol building, five days after a gunman launched attacks in which he murdered five U.S. military personnel at facilities in Chattanooga, Tenn.

President Barack Obama has yet to order the flags to half-staff following this tragedy. By contrast, in 2012, President Obama did order the flags flown at half-staff on the same day  as the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Last Thursday, 24-year-old Mohammod Abdulazeez, armed with multiple weapons, opened fire at a local military recruiting center before continuing his rampage at the nearby Navy Operational Support Center and Marine Corps Reserve Center Chattanooga.

Four Marines died the day of the shooting at the second facility, while U.S. Navy Petty Officer Randall Smith died Saturday from multiple gunshot wounds to the abdomen.

Abdulazeez died after being shot by police during the incident.

Tenn. Gov. Bill Haslam (R) ordered that the Tennessee State flag be flown at half-staff the day after the shooting, according to local reports.

Federal law states: “By order of the President, the flag shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of principal figures of the United States Government and the Governor of a state, territory, or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory. In the event of the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries, the flag is to be displayed at half-staff according to Presidential instructions or orders, or in accordance with recognized customs or practices not inconsistent with law.”

The law also states that a governor can lower the U.S. flag in his or her state following the death of a state official or “the death of a member of the Armed Forces.”

Similar tragic shootings have resulting in a presidential proclamation ordering the U.S. flag to be flown at half-staff.

(AP photo.)


After 32 people were killed and 17 others were wounded during the mass shooting at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007, former President George W. Bush ordered that the flag be flown at half-staff the next day.

The flag was also lowered following the shooting at Fort Hood, Texas on Nov. 5, 2009 that left 13 people dead and at least 30 more were injured. The following day, Obama issued an order to lower the flag.

Obama also ordered the flag lowered on Dec. 14, 2012, the same day that a gunman shot and killed 20 children and 6 adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

The flag was lowered to half-staff the day following the terrorist attack during the Boston marathon on April 15, 2013, which killed three people and injured more than 260 others.

Obama also ordered the flag to be flown at half-staff the day after 12 people were killed and three more injured during a shooting at the Washington Navy Yard on Sept. 16, 2013.

Following the death of former South African President and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela on Dec. 5, 2013, the flag waslowered to half-staff the same day.

Following the recent Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage nation-wide, Obama also had the White House lit up with the rainbow flag celebrating the court’s decision mere hours after it was handed down, later calling it a “moment worth savoring.”

CNSNews.com called and emailed the White House Monday morning inquiring why Obama had not yet ordered the flags to half-mast in honor of the service members murdered in Tennessee, and whether or not the flags would be lowered in the immediate future. As of 3 p.m. Monday, the White House had not responded.

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