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Police and Law Enforcement Home  >  Editorials    >    Governor Wrong to Have Flag Lowered to Half Staff for Celebrities


Police and
Law Enforcement News




Governor Wrong to Have Flag Lowered to Half
Staff for Celebrities
Police and Law Enforcement News
Thursday, February 16, 2012
  10:16 a.m.


Yesterday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie ordered all New Jersey State and American flags to be lowered to half staff on Saturday in honor of Entertainer Whitney Houston who passed away this week.

Last year, the governor did the same for Clarence Clemmons, the saxophone player for the E Street Band.

In January, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett ordered the state flag to half staff for three days in honor of Penn State Football Coach Joe Paterno when he passed.

We take great issue with this practice.

Ms. Houston and Mr. Clemmons are both children of our great state and were both wildly successful.  Each has made a significant contribution to music, culture, and the arts, and both are deserving of many accolades. 

But just as an American serviceman killed in Helmand Province, Afghanistan is not deserving of a Grammy award, musicians and celebrities are not deserving of the lowering of the American flag.

Simply, not everybody gets every honor.

There are few gestures as symbolic and as loud as an entire state lowering their flags at the same moment for the same amount of time. 

Seeing a flag at the half staff position should spawn pause and thought.  It should make one a bit unsettled but at the same time thankful.  It should make one ask, "what happened?"

A flag at half staff gives publicity to courage and nobility otherwise only mildly publicized.  For one day, it is an inescapable message announcing to an entire state that tragedy occurred and reminding everyone that the fruits of each free day come with a price.

Expanding this honor only diminishes its meaning and raises the question: where does it end? 

Between Ms. Houston and Mr. Clemmons, entire rooms could be filled with the distinctions they have each received throughout their lives.

In the coming months and years they will continue to be given well deserved recognition for their accomplishments.

But there are certain honors that should and must be set aside.

Rifle salutes, aircraft flyovers, and half-staffed flags are among those honors and they should not be on the public menu. 

It is eminently important that we protect the tributes that have become part of the military and public service fabric over the past two centuries.  They are part of our tradition and should not be for sale at any price.  They should not be available to take, and they should not be available to give.

The manner in which we lay the valorous when they fall helps define how we should carry ourselves while we live. 

Lowering the flag to half staff should be reserved only for those who perish as a result of public duty and service, protecting our nation and the Constitution, and for those who served as formal leaders and dignitaries.

This practice must stop.




Share your Thoughts on This Editorial

While all opinions will be considered, we will not post any messages that are inflammatory, that bash any ethnic group, or that are just beyond reason.  Letters will be reviewed and posted each day. reserves the right to alter, shorten, or decline any submission. 



Your Comments

Whitney Houston didn't deserve to have the flag raised at half last for her passing. Sorry, but there more deserving people who have passed before her (military service men) that haven't had the flag at half mast after dying for the county.

-US Veteran USMC

So this is basically what I got out of this: Unless your a member of some branch of the military, your not important enough to have the flag lowered in your memory when you pass?

I thought America was meant to stand for equality: What happened to "With Liberty and Justice for ALL?

"Yet in the code book it states the Flag is for all citizens of the United States of America. For the people not just service men and women. Let's face it she had made her contributions." 

With that said, should we lower flags for every American's death?  We all make our contributions paying taxes

Yet in the code book it states the Flag is for all citizens of the United States of America. For the people not just service men and women. Let's face it she had made her contributions. 

Is it election year, come on Governor, you've insulted most of the country!

I believe that Ms. Houston did indeed earn this honor because of the manner that she sang the National Anthem during the Persian Gulf war.  Our National Anthem was sung so well, with so much pride, joy, belief, that it became a billboard single.  It has never been done since.  Whitney Houston may not have been perfect.  She made her mistakes, America is not perfect either.  We have had presidents embarrass us a country, we have people starving, losing jobs and homes, and yet we bail out the banks.  I'm not saying that every celebrity should have the honor of having the flags lowered but Whitney because of the manner that she stood up and for just a moment represented our Anthem in a manner that I believe will never be done again.  Did deserve this honor.  Since then, we have been humiliated with celebrities that don't even know the words.  She loved her country, Love her back at least in death, and I don't care how angry anyone is, a man to disrespect any of our nations flags,  the very flags that his child died for, is a plain dishonor.  Who have we become as Americans? Does the hatred, envy, jealousy, anger, and vengeances ever end? Forgive and Love thy neighbor. What are we leaving for our children?   

Celebrities in the entertainment industry should not share the same honors in death as a man/woman in the service who has died defending our great nation. It insults and belittles the brave souls lost.

Regarding preceding comment:

I don't think anyone suggested flags lowered for all soldiers or VETERANS.  The flag code directs flags to be lowered for servicemen and women who die in the line of active duty.  Veterans don't rate a Whitney Houston style state-wide half-mast.  This is true even if the veteran was a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor.  So no, flags won't fly at half-mast everyday if the proper protocol is being followed.  Yet somehow Whitney Houston deserved an exception.

No, thinking realistically, you  cannot lower  flag  for  military  soldiers who  have  died  or Veterans. That would mean the flag  would  at half-mast everyday.

Really, think realistically here  with your head and not  emotions.

i loved loved  , was  a big  fan  of Whitney's.  How and  what age she died  had  nothing to do with  it.

I  totally agree  with the article.

I  see  some  posters  cannot  see  the whole as is the problem we have  with politics.  Flag  lowered at half mast  for  no entertainers, writers, sports stars, . This  honor is for  political  nat.  figures, you  local ones,  memorial services  like  WTC, major  nat. deaths  like  WTC, etc.

I  see  people  saying well at least  Elvis served  inn the military, Umm, no.  He was an entertainer who  died  by  his own on drugs, on his toilet.  Frank Sinatra, NJ flag was lowered half-mast. Um should have no. You  cannot pick and  choose  entertainers.  Sorry. 

Well said. And I think you for saying it as you did. I am definitely linking this to my FB page.

While Whitney Houston had an amazing voice and was a wonderful entertainer, I have to say that, in my opinion, Gov. Christie was wrong to have the flags in New Jersey lowered to half staff yesterday in her honor. I've always thought this was an honor reserved for real heroes.

I have to begin by stating that I don't want, in any way, to take away from the passing of a great singer. Whitney Houston, without a doubt, had a voice that we hope imitates that of an angel. Her achievements in the music industry will never be forgotten and we may never encounter another human being with such a remarkable talent. I, for one, enjoyed her music. It's become part of my life. To hear any of her songs is to travel magically in time. It's as if each song can take us to a place in our past that molded us in becoming who we are today. There is no question in any one's mind that she was truly blessed with a talent that we all enjoyed.

My dilemma, confusion, criticism, and even anger falls upon the mere thought of lowering our flag for the passing of a gifted singer. The only thing, in my opinion, between this talented singer and our flag is the fact that she's an American and she was the best at singing the National Anthem.

The original intent of lowering the flag at half staff was to honor those in high positions in federal or state offices. Throughout the years it has symbolized a lot of different things and among them are: valor, justice, vigilance, perseverance, dignity, heroism, pride and respect.

The loss of a talented singer should not be a motive to lower our flag especially when this particular person not only was a talented singer but a drug user and abuser. To fly our flag at half staff for Whitney Houston would be a slap in the face to all of our fallen heroes that have died for our country and continue to die for us with honor. It would be disrespectful and disgraceful; once again, in my opinion.

Honestly, I am disappointed in Americans calling this out! Half Staff is NOT just for people that served in the military, but it is to honor those that have had a great positive influence on society and to show respect for that person and to their family in this way, honoring them.

OUR FLAG STANDS FOR FREEDOM! The SAME freedom all of those in our military have fought for. In saying that, to show respect to someone that not only our nation loved, but the world. It shows how our freedom can be openly expressed and extended using one of the most powerful and meaningful symbols in the world, the American flag.

I am encouraged by her life that she NEVER sold out. She fought her demons and they fought hard. But she NEVER took it out on anyone else, and her influence and love that she gave through her music never faltered even though she was attacked on all sides. How easy do you think it would be to live in the business that she did and still have her integrity? Yes, she had her problems, but soldiers never leave the battle field unwounded. There is always a price. She paid it. And she let her love shine through to the very end.

How stingy of people to hoard the American Flag to only a select group of people. Our flag stands for freedom, for unity, and for each and every one of us that lived the best we could as Americans.

This particular American not only reached out to America, but to the world. Even in her death, there was dignity. Showing love. The love of God. Showing loyalty, friendship, compassion, faithfulness and just pure love. She had her problems. So what. America has problems. But through all of her cracks, the light of God and Love shined out.

At the end of the day, a State showed their honor and pride for someone that honored and gave so much to all of the US and the world.

America is showing her the respect and pride she deserves. We could all learn a little something about the Whitney Half Staff.

I am so tired of folks dictating to me what to believe and what not to believe.  These are the same folks that would have me believe that anyone who wears a flag pendant is a patriot or a Christian if she wears a cross and that all soldiers who die in combat are heroes and somehow more saintly than the average man on the street.  I am sometimes appalled at the funeral turnout and pomp and ceremony for firemen, policemen and others as if their service to country is more important than the lowly convenience store clerk who is shot dead minding the store for $8 an hour so you can have a loaf of bread, milk, scratch tickets or cigarettes.  We are so melodramatic in this country.  We don't want to lower the flag - which, BTW, symbolizes grief and mourning and national tragedy according to United States Flag store definition and which says absolutely nothing about it being solely for those who serve their country, elected officials, etc. -  Whitney Houston, but it will be lowered for the likes of Bill Clinton who as President and a married man, allowed an aide to such his weewee and then lied about it. 

Everyone who feels disrespected because the flag was lowered for Whitney should take a long hard look in the mirror.  I'm a female Vietnam Era Vet and all I get is disrespected every day by the likes of Rick Santorum and Liz Trotta who think that as a woman I'm not up to the task of protecting their backsides if push comes to shove.  Regardless of whether you agree or not, Whitney Houston was an international treasure and we should be glad that we produced her.  Get over your self righteous selves.

Many public faux pas (racial slurs, etc) have led to public apologies.  I would like to see a public apology for this insult to our military, firefighters, law enforcement--our real heroes who endanger themselves every day to protect and save others lives.  Sue, GA

The symbol of a half-masted flag has become eroded and trivialized because too many government officials have stepped outside the Flag Code (4 USC Chapter 1) and created their own rules or overused their government authority to exercise their own personal flag protocol.  The results we see today are flags being half-masted so routinely and for so many reasons, that it reduces the gesture to something so insignificant that we no longer pause to notice tribute being paid.  Where is the remembrance if no one knows why the flags are lowered?  Our known soldiers are becoming unknown soldiers by virtue of the degradation of the half-mast gesture.   They served silently, only to have their humble moment of honor overshadowed by celebrities who served popularly.  A decade from now, most people will never remember flags being lowered for a Marine named Corporal Kevin J. Reinhard of Woodbridge, NJ.  But they will always remember Whitney Houston from Newark because she is a super celebrity, and thanks to this controversy, they will associate flags being lowered in her honor

I agree that lowering of the flag should be reserved for those who served the country and those who sacrificed their lives. We should not degrade the meaning of this gesture. Celebrities are given their own accolades and it should stay that way.

Whitney Houston performed on the stage.  She sang.  She did not save lives, she did not serve her country in a patriotic, civic or notable way.  It is appalling, and an insult to veterans and those who have died for our country, that flags were lowered to half-staff.  Certainly, millions enjoyed her voice and loved to hear her sing but that's what she was -- a singer, not someone worthy of such a meaningful gesture.

All this outrage over Whitney but nobody seemed to care when Joe Paterno had the flag lowered for him.  Interesting, and even reading this comments he isn't even mentioned... he had his demons as well. Reply:  Read it again.  He was mentioned.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will pay tribute to Whitney Houston by ordering flags to be flown at half-staff during her funeral service on Saturday.

I always like and will continue listening to her beautiful songs, but What Governor Chris Christie did lowering the U.S. Flags half-mast was very wrong. I am a decorated war Veteran from the war of Vietnam and to me his action was a slapped to my face, to our veteran of all wars and ours soldier who still sacrificing their life fighting still in Afghanistan. The lowering of our flag is reserve to falling heroes, President and senators who had passed away. The Governor of New Jersey owed all of us veterans, soldiers, and falling heroes an apology. I lost my best friend in Vietnam when mines blow up his entire body in pieces and we had to collect every piece so that his family could give him a decent funeral. His family ends up having to bury my friend without being able to see him due to broken body. His funeral service was with a close casket.

How dare you slapped us veteran of all wars past and present presidents and senators??? These honors were made for those that gave their life and service for our country our nation. Would you dare to look in the face of those soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan, the WW1 WW2 veterans, Korean and Vietnam; this is the real heroes.

All Veterans should demand that New Jersey Governor Chris apologized to us veterans, service soldiers and their families for his action.

People who do good things should be rewarded for it. The flag was for the military.  Celebrities have their own ways of honoring their own with money and awards and that's how it should be.

Looking back now I can see a far backwards we have come and it is not good.


I think those of us who agree that what Christie has done twice now is wrong and illegal: once for Houston and once for saxophonist Clemmons (and who knows who else he'll consider) should start a petition that politicians cannot decide -at their discretion- when this honor is bestowed. For those of you who think it should 'just be ignored' - that's the typical apathy that's infecting this great country. That's the typical 'gray area' that people consistently produce. There is a right and a wrong. There are regulations as to how the flag MUST (not "should") fly and WHEN it MUST fly half-mast. Nowhere do the regulations state they are at some politician's discretion to follow. And that is the bottom line. Christie has been wrong twice now. Clemmons was wrong. This is an abuse of power. Period. And if these politicians do not want to uphold the laws for which they serve office, they should resign.

We loved & cried for Whitney's passing,,,,,Please do not start something by lowering the flag. This is an honor & should be used as in the past.

The over the top worship of celebrities in this country is disgusting.

I think it is ok to lower the flag if the individual celebrity or not-if they have made a great contribution in any field.

What ever maybe thought of her personal issues Miss Houston was more than just a "pop star". What many people do not know is all of the charitable work she did. She performed free concerts for returning troops and their families. She even m...ade HBO, who broadcasted the concert, unscramble their broadcast so it could be watched for free. 100% her proceeds from her 2001 Star Spangled Banner release were donated to the NYPD and FDNY relief funds. She did concerts all over the world to raise money and in support of may charities and organizations ranging from Hale House, Rainbow House, The Children's Defense Fund, University Hospital of Newark NJ ( which named its Pediatric Special Care Unit after her because of all of her giving), and many more.

While the media chooses to focus so much on the negative, Whitney Houston will be honored and remembered for the many things she did for others. She did her best to make sure that these vets and their service were not forgotten.

SPC Mckee, Joshua - I agree with you - this was dead wrong!!!

The good, Whitney was a great singer, her songs put a smile and some happiness on many faces in the World.

THE BAD - Whitney did everything that was low-live! She should have been arrested for ruining her child's life, exposing her to years of drug stupor - how did child service, the law look the other way? ... money??!! Unfortunately the values in the USA are in miserable shape!! We celebrate the bad, ugly, rotten, illegal, offensive, and drug riddled. We tolerate to be offended by foul language, idolize rappers who use the worst slurs and spits, miss or are afraid to speak up when lowlifes ridicule and offend us, our values are so screwed up, that it has become "cool" if you can talk about your "jail time and arrest" - Considering the above reality - how can we think straight what is wrong or right?? How can we expect that people know the meaning / value / respect of a National Flag?? Is moral even lower in NJ

As a service member currently serving in Afghanistan, I don't see a problem with the flag being lowered. Whitney provided the nation one of the best national anthems ever when we were at war. That was her contribution to military service when she sung her heart out. I'm ashamed of all the people complaining about this wonderful gesture that was done by Gov Christie (I'm a Democrat). Shame on the hypocrites for criticizing her about her drug use. Let those without sin throw the first stone...


A flag at half mast is not for celebrities. This governor is abusing his authority and disrespecting U S soldiers across the globe.

The lowering of the flag to half staff should only be used in mourning for Military and Heads of State.

I absolutely agree that Gov. Christie's lowering of both the state and national flags was an error in judgement.  Those who serve their country in the military or national elective office should be accorded that honor not those who win GRAMMAY AWARDS!  This act cheapens an event that should be reserved for those in harm's way!


I would just like to say, I could not agree more... I am In the ARMY and currently serving in Afghanistan. My father served 20 years in the Air Force. I usually tend to keep my mouth shut about stuff like protesters and anything like that, but I couldn’t do that this time. One thing my father told me before I joined the service was “I want you to realize one thing. Not everyone is going to like you for what you do and some people might say things, but I want you to remember you fight for their right to be able to say those thing and they’re right to feel that way.” I believe this is wrong and I agree when you said not everybody gets every Honor. And as for the guy who is talking about when Nixon asked Americans to lower their flag for Elvis Presley, at least Elvis Presley served in the military. That’s all I have to say thank you for your time and also for standing up and saying something.

-SPC. Mckee, Joshua

In my humble opinion I loved John Wayne.  I remember the sentiments when he died but even though we commemorated a special coin in his memory we did not dip the flag.

Way to go , I could not have said it better I AGREE 100%  PLEASE no Grammy for Governor Christie, he was not "acting" in AMERICA'S best interest

No one who has never been in harm's way defending or protecting our country should have the power to lower the flag.  The power to do so should lie with the highest elected official who has served in that capacity.

Where was this outrage when Richard Nixon back in 1977 asked all American's to lower their flags to half mast when Elvis Presley died???????????

I believe 100% in what you said and it does need to stop.

I agree 100% with your opinion and hope this NEVER happens again in NJ or any other state

There are many other ways that NJ can honor her. Lowering t

he flag to half staff is a huge slap in the face. Will it be flown half staff for me when I die? Of course not, because I am not a famous celebrity, however I am a vet- a lucky one who's still alive- but no one will ever know when I die, this I am sure of.

Big Jon Stossell   " Give me a break". stamp!   Just blew his chance for future presidential run.  Get your priorities straight Mr. Christie !    Our military men and women are far better people than Whitney Houston.... Give me a break!!!

I agree, not everyone gets every honor. As a Vietnam veteran, and the son of a WW2 disabled veteran, I "salute" your article. 

I too believe that our flag is one of our Nations greatest honors that should be reserved for those who have given the greatest sacrifice for America and Americans. If the Governor insists on raising a flag at half mast than maybe he should use the flag he is really representing, the flag of New Jersey. Leave the decisions about the American flag to America's Commander and Chief, the President of the United States of America. The President should be the only one who can decide this.

Thank You  

-Greg Bangle    

As an individual who has family members who are members of the military, police, and teachers, I am incredibly offended by Christie's decision. What made it worse is the more he tried to defend it, the worse his answers became. Just say "she is a daughter of NJ." Not that it makes it right regardless. Just unreal.

This was absolute B.S. 

I thank you for stating this so clearly. I agree and am disgusted that we are honoring these celebrities with something they do not deserve.

I honor all the men and women who defend this country and put their lives on the line for this country. But do not ever thing you are a better human being because of it. Whitney gave a lot to this world through her music and whether you liked her style...she was a great human being who gave joy to the world. There is no flag on her casket. No 21 gun salute...they just lower the flag to a child born in NJ who rose to be a world star...honor her as all our days are numbered.

This world has become more confused in it's attitude toward words. When I was a young child my mother told me that 'sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me". This was true but has been replaced with a lie- that words are more important. Mean words are now a criminal act, killing someone is a crime, but saying bad words in the act makes it a 'greater crime'. The Japanese government near WW-I formed the 'thought police' and criminalized people for their association with others as it was assumed their thoughts matched the thoughts of others. The United States is there now. Only God can bless America and only God can save it.

Richard Hoover- Michigan (former member NJ National Guard)

First off I m retired Army...If Soldiers who do not return from war do not get the flag flown at half mast, then why should a singer who had everything handed to her who was hooked on drugs supposed to be some kind of roll model) and more than likely died from them get a honor like this.  She did nothing for that flag.  She surely did not die for that flag or defend it.  Soldiers who die in combat are worthy of this honor but we do not see it.  This governor from NJ is an idiot to render this honor to those not deserving.  I am sure he has never served!

I agree, Chris Christie just dropped several notches in my book. In 2003 my brother-in-law was killed on the battlefield in Afghanistan; he did not receive a Grammy for his sacrifice. What we received was the folded flag after it had been displayed "in Mourning." Moreover, simply being able to sing the national anthem should not entitle one to such an honor. @ Ann Coulter, I trust that you agree with me, otherwise, you too will be demoted!

Well said! Where is the outrage in the media?? I guarantee if a journalist were to go door to door anywhere in this country, you would get the same response as stated in this article, nine times out of ten. This act is a disgrace to all of the true fallen heroes throughout this country's history! Shameful!

This makes me sick!!  What did this lady do for our country?  She sang the national anthem once. What about the men and women who give their lives for the freedom to keep that song sacred???

They are the only ones I will ever lower my flag for...

I agree that this was done to win votes.  The flag should not be lowered for Whitney Houston.  Where is the outrage about the drugs? If she had been shot there would be outrage.  Putting drugs in her hands was the same thing. My flag/our flag should NOT be lowered MOST DEFINITELY for this entertainer.

At first I was confused after reading this post.  I think it's a good idea my payers and thoughts go out to the family.

Man, I can't WAIT to move out of this f!@#% state!

Could not have been said better.

I don't agree with the lowering of the flag for any celebrity at all.  It doesn't matter if it was Whitney Houston or if it was Elvis Presley.  It is wrong and it is disgraceful to those that have earned that honor.  I know of soldiers, young 19 year old kids that came back home in body bags from war and my state did not lower the flag for them.  Mrs. Houston was a singer/celebrity/drug addict/  What about that says American hero?  What about that says American servant? NOTHING!

I agree completely!!! The more this honor is missed used the less value it holds. It absolutely should be used as it was designed!

Here's another suggestion. Have the Great Governor encourage the family to 'respect' the public/fan base millions who want to show their respect by attending the memorial that was 'suppose to be' at the Prudential Center.  After all, the millions of dollars in sales (past/future) from the public was given to the Star as a sign of  respect and appreciation. She was always 'personal' with the public on performance day. Is that fair to have a 'private' homecoming/funeral when the masses want or perhaps deserve to give respect in her departure.

That was done to generate votes. The Governor as alienated people in public service and now he is pandering to minorities.  Despicable. How insulting to black people, and how insulting to those of us on the job and people in the military.

Additionally, a Gross misuse of power within leadership. The flag flown upside down is a sign of 'distress'; this topic alone is distressing to even hear it. Show you support for this great singer another way...but not with the proud and age-old respected tradition that is mostly indigenous to our Armed Forces, and Public Servants.

Does the NJ Governor have any military service? Case closed. He lacks sensitivity to this issue. In fact, if he did his homework, perhaps he could of asked the President of the United States/Commander in Chief for his blessings. After all, the President did acknowledge and give his condolences

Thank You From The Bottom of My Heart!
Signed....A Singer/ Female Veteran of 8 Years Active Duty Service to my Country. God Bless Those Service members who are still Serving. In that case, lets just fly the flag for their continuous service and hazardous duty.

-Sgt (Veteran) Cousar

Should be no question. The answer is no. A speech, tribute, fine but the flag? no. It is reserved for people that help the U.S. and community. She died a drug addict; what message do we send our children

I am in complete agreement with this article. I have several (deceased) family members who were either in the military or police departments. We (fortunately) learned how to treat our flag respectfully. While it goes without saying that Ms. Houston was a terrific singer, she held no public office, was never in the military and does NOT deserve that honor which should be kept in its highest esteem. While I once thought well of Mr. Christie, now I think him nothing more than a media-hound, seeking ONLY to please celebrities.


I am a serving member of our military on my 6th deployment and I have no issue with this.  The governor simply appreciated her talents and recognized the impact she had on her community and state on a global basis. Nothing wrong with showing due respect as such.  If anything instead of criticizing this decision it should be looked upon as an opportunity to demonstrate the enormous talents but also the magnitude of what greatness could have occurred with better life decisions.  I am truly appreciative of the support of fellow Americans and I have family, friends, and loved one’s who have died but do not use our service to negatively speak on the actions of others when their intent is good hearted.  It tears me up to see what I am fighting for is senseless bickering over these petty matters rather than issues of greater consequence.

Mr. Presley at least served in our military, Ms. Houston did not. Lowering the flag for him was not right, lowering the flag for her is totally wrong.

I personally believe the flag should have a quarter mast and a 3 quarters mast as well as the half mast. the half mast to honor anyone who dies giving up their life protecting another such as police firemen military personal and yes even a common citizen who runs into a burning building to try to save someone trapped inside. the 3 quarters mast to be flown only during wartime to remind us of the lives lost each day to protect our freedoms. and the 1 quarter mast to honor anyone else whom the government feels may be deserving of the honor but not as much of an honor as someone who dies while in service. Anyway that's just my take on the subject. God Bless America

I commend Governor Christie for his decision. It is so dismaying to read such negative comments on this.  I never heard the outcries when the flags were lowered for Sinatra and Presley (keeping in mind he also was drug addicted!  While there is no one who is without fault, we never seem to want to focus on the many positives of a person!  And for those who never took the time to learn more about Ms. Houston, not only was she a great artist, she was also a wonderful philanthropist. May she rest in peace! 

Lowering the flag should be reserved for those who gave their life for their country. Period. End of story.

Disgrace to those who have served!!!!!!

-U.S. Air Force Veteran

Why should the flag be at half-mast for Whitney? Did I miss that she was in the military? I am very offended that the Governor took such action. I know the flag is suppose to honor our military whom died in action. This is a slap in the face to our military.

Has Governor Christie taken leave of his mind. Is he going to be there to welcome home our living solders comes home, NO! Why should we honor a drug addict? Do we want our youth to follow his actions? Houston is not a hero! Gov. Christie is a disgrace!! Whom is Christie trying to impress? Does Christie not have anything better to do?

I so agree with you.  My nephew died in Afghanistan and the flag was not flown at half-mast.  What makes an actor or actress more important than those that have given there lives in the name of Freedom and our country.  I am a veteran of the US Army and I am greatly offended by the Governor's actions.

Simply put flags should only be lowered for those who have perished in the line of duty.

New Jersey should hide their heads in shame, my hubby was in service 25 years, he did not get flag at half mast when he past, what's wrong with this picture.

Absolutely wrong to fly the US flag at half Staff for Whitney Houston!!! What a dishonor to our Presidents and servicemen who have died serving our country .NO celebrity should ever have this honor unless they died SERVING their country !!! HORRIFIC!!!

Gov. Christie I guess you never will understand what the flag is for.

I am very disgusted by this action. These people although talented are not to be idolized.

-US Navy Veteran Retired

Governor Christie!!! What were you thinking!!!  Pretty soon we will just need to leave the flags at half-mast! Should only be lowered for Heroes not drug addicts.  What are we teaching our children!!!

Gov. Christie has made a grave mistake in signing this order. This act will dishonor the men and women this honorable act is intended for. If he chooses to lower a flag, let it be the state flag which he represents. Not the National Colors.

Totally agree.

Mr. Christie should definitely know better. What an insult to our heroes and dignitaries.

While he never joined any political party, Elvis Presley's political views were somewhat mixed. During the early 1960s he was an outspoken admirer of liberal President John F. Kennedy. He later confessed to "weeping openly" at the news of Kennedy's death.

Later in life, however, he made a more conservative move on the political spectrum. He began singing the praises of President Richard Nixon, and his right-wing streak culminated in a visit to the White House in December 1970. During the visit, Presley was photographed giving the President a handgun, which was (for security reasons) presented but not given.

Presley spoke of his admiration for Nixon, revealed his disgust at the hippie counterculture, spoke disparagingly of The Beatles (he said that having earned their money in America, they had then left for England to promote "anti-American" feelings), fervently expressed his patriotism, offered to infiltrate and go undercover in left-wing hippie groups, asked to be appointed a federal narcotics agent, and even hugged the president twice.

Nixon, for his part, was not sure if Presley was serious or not, but granted his request and made him an honorary federal agent. Nixon said he was equally parts bewildered and amused by the encounter, thanked Presley for his support, and the picture of the duo has become one of the most famous photos taken in the White House. On Presley's death in 1977, the former president asked Americans to lower their flags all over the country as a mark of respect.

Government agencies should not be involved in entertainment business.  

They need to stop this, its wrong Christie should know better.


-Don Creel

I think the Governor did what he felt was right; it's his choice.  For those that disagree, it's like everything else - ignore it.

I agree. She should not be given a half staff salute. It goes to the military & its heroes.  My dad got a salute when he died recently, but he was in WW II. She has not.

I whole-heartedly agree wit this!!

I think it NEEDS to stop because when America's military fallen are deserving of this honor, it will have become so diluted that it will be meaningless.

Any man or woman who served in the military is more deserving than Miss Houston. Might as well leave the flag at half mast permanently.

this is a terrible mistake by the governor who I usually agree with. This honor should be given to our service men and woman who have given their lives for our freedom or someone who has done a great public service for humanity. I'm sorry for her passing and she was a wonderful entertainer who had a drug addiction.

I am reading that some think it is because she is African American that we don't want the flags at half staff for Whitney Houston. I want to say that I and many others were also against lowering the flags for Sinatra and Presley. I feel that honor should be reserved for those who do heroic deeds or make great contributions to America. I would not object to Martin Luther King as I am objecting to Whitney Houston. 

I could not agree more. Personally, I will never have a flag flown for me half staff. There won't be any fly-overs or even a flag given to my family at my death. These are choices that I made by not being in the military or a public servant.  I even believe a public servant should only be honored with a flag for the area they, county, state or federal..  We have gone too far. A Governor should ONLY be allowed to lower HIS state flag.

What an insult to every American soldier who has given their life to protect this great nation.

This is disgusting. she was a pop star for God's sake. She was no hero, in the true since of the word. She did not put her life on the line to Protect others. Has Christie done this for all the military personnel who will "come home" to New Jersey in a body bag????

Flying the flag at half mast is for heroes not singers. It is so disrespectful to bestow this honor to a drug abuser.  Christie over stepped his power big time.

Absolutely correct. We've become a nation of "sensationalistic journalism".  More than 2.6 million Americans died in honor of the American Flag.  The USC Code is very clear regarding proper display.  Let's get it right!!!

I wholeheartedly agree! Our children should be taught about giving honor to those who deserve it. To dilute the importance of the lowering the flag for a celebrity teaches them the wrong thing. They should learn what real honor is by lowering the flag only for those who served their country or gave their lives for their country.

For the person that posted the "Read more: "  you may want to actually read that portion of the US Flag Code yourself and tell us where it states anything about "citizens who have died, etc...".  You will find that you yourself are posting something that you "think" is a fact but is truly NOT an actual FACT.  Get the Code straight, this is NOT a lawful event to fly the National Flag at half-staff.

When in NJ in'53 stationed at Ft.Dix, I thought NJ was the pits.  Now I know why!!  What a disgrace to the people of NJ.  Hope you vote him OUT

In this country the lowering of our flag is one of the highest honors we have to recognize those who have in some heroic way served our Country; mostly through their military service.  I have no malice for Ms. Houston, but she is not deserving of this sacred honor and I for one will remove my flag from my flag pole on Saturday rather than fly it at half staff.

When a government makes a decree that is as egregious as I believe this to be (yes I am a daughter of a veteran) than it is our duty to show our displeasure; and we can. 

On Saturday February 18, 2012 do not put your flag out.  Individuals, volunteer firehouses, Veteran’s halls, car dealerships, and any and all of you who hold dear to the principles of what it means in this country to bow our heads to those that have served, let your voice be heard. 

King Christie can make a decree to cheapen the honor that the lowered flag brings to mind.  Let us honor the true meaning of our tradition and respect our past.  If you do not put out a flag at all you honor those that so willingly went forth and truly deserve our respect, admiration and gratitude. 

This is a letter to the editor that I wrote. It has been denied by 3 papers and removed from twice. 

I am writing to express my disgust and disappointment in the media, Governor Christie, and much of society. Since the news of Whitney Houston's death, it has been the top leading story in the media. Though Ms. Houston was a celebrity and in the public eye, her tragedy is no different than the thousands of people who fall victim to substance abuse throughout the country. For twenty years or more she battled substance abuse. Or let me say that is how long the public knew of her troubles. Now that she has passed it is all the media seems to care about; making top news even in small town papers and markets. Everyone is now mourning her loss. When in reality we should all have mourned the loss of her talent and potential more than a decade ago. Unfortunately, in the end the only difference between Ms. Houston and the thousands that suffer a similar fate, was she had money and fame. In 2002 she can be quoted as saying "Crack is cheap. I make too much for me to ever smoke crack. Let's get that straight, OK? I don't do crack. I don't do that. Crack is whack." We do not nationally morn every other victim of drug abuse and she should be no different.

The same day as Ms. Houston's unfortunate death a 20 year old Marine, Lance Cpl. Osbrany Montes De Oca, of North Arlington, NJ died heroically defending his country in Afghanistan. Did this brave young man get even 1/100th of the publicity or credit as Ms. Houston? Absolutely not. He was not even on this earth as long as Ms. Houston was a drug addict and wasting her talent and potential. Was Lance Cpl. Montes De Oca's truly tragic and heroic death top news nationally and in every local community? No, and he died for you and me. How do you think this makes this brave young man's family feel? By the way he had an identical twin brother, who also is a US Marine fighting for us in Afghanistan and another brother also a Marine. I am mourning Lance Cpl. Montes De Oca, because he gave more to me than any actor or musician ever has.

Governor Christie has ordered all flags in NJ to be flown at half mast on Saturday February 18, 2012 in honor of Ms. Houston. This is a disgrace and a gesture of disrespect to every fallen soldier, police officer, firefighter, and other hero this honor is normally bestowed to. The flag of this country deserves to be flown at half mast for those that dedicated and gave their lives in the service of their country, community, and to others. For the men and women in uniform, both overseas and here at home, certain things are sacred. For example: a flag draped casket, “Going Home” being played on the bagpipes, a 21 gun salute, a black band over a badge, and yes a flag at half mast. It is a symbol of respect for service and a life lost. I am sure our governor has never put himself in harm’s way for anyone, let alone a complete stranger. But for those who have, his ordering flags be flown at half mast for Ms. Houston is disrespectful. It will not mean the same if we bestow this honor to every celebrity that won some awards for acting or musical talent. I am not saying Ms. Houston does not deserve respect and to be acknowledged for her musical achievements and the charity work she has done. But rather she should not be given the same respect and honor as those who have sacrificed their lives, often in violent and unthinkable ways, so that you and I may sleep in peace at night.

I am ashamed Governor Christie, the media, and society are so thankless and so oblivious to the fact that our brave men and women here at home and overseas are an afterthought to many of you. It is time people realize without the men and women of our military, law enforcement, and fire service this country would not be what it is today. Without their sacrifices who knows where we would be as a society and country. These men and women who make the ultimate sacrifice do not expect to receive your respect, tears, or prayers...they just deserve them. And they deserve them way more than Whitney Houston. So to the family of Lance Cpl. Montes De Oca, I thank you for your brave sons, their sacrifice, and your sacrifice. I hope to see many front page stories about your hero’s remarkable and honorable life, but I won't be holding my breath.

It is a disgrace. It is disrespectful for all veterans and those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

This is a travesty. the governor tried to explain his action as to why he did it but I don't care to hear his reason. He is completely overlooking her drug addiction and just summing up her success and that's his final word. He is an embarrassment to NJ

Lowering the flags to half mast is a travesty and completely disrespectful to anyone who has ever served in the military. I am appalled this would even be considered.

I feel the flag should be upside down. This is ridiculous.   I am sick of her name.

Some people are saying that Christie, as governor, is within his rights.  Technically, that may be, but the fact is, what he is doing is misusing the right.  In addition to fallen heroes, whom people here of course rightly mention, the flag may rightly be lowered for people who serve the country in an official capacity, such as governing or serving (not necessarily dying) in an important police capacity, fire fighting capacity, etc.  Officially serving, not arguably bringing glory to the state by virtue of singing songs.  This is disgraceful.  And as far as people like Rush Limbaugh, who tout their patriotism all the time, defending this, that's really disappointing and disgraceful as well.

Thank you for the commentary.  You have clearly articulated why it is inappropriate to fly the flag at half mast for "social icons". 

Bless you.  It drives me crazy when people think anyone - even a very good person - should have the flag flown at half mast to commemorate him when he dies.  Not so!  Rush Limbaugh and many others who should know better are saying that the governor is right, because - well because they lowered it long ago for Frank Sinatra.  Other people are saying "It's not illegal, the code is just a code, just guidance."   It may not be illegal, but it is highly improper, and  shame on people who disregard the code just because they want to do so.

I have a lot of respect for Governor Christie on how he is turning NJ around. But, the Governor blew this Whitney Houston flag lowering big time. Our society is in decay when we start idolizing false gods. celebrities and sports figures are just what they are. They are not heroes.

Governor, you are disrespecting the American Flag.

Christie is wrong in ordering flags half mast for anything other than military, dignitaries and people who have help make our country notorious...Although Houston and other entertainers, and sports figures may have contributed to our country it is not in our best interest to fly flags half mast...and especially since drugs and/or alcohol is involved with most of these deaths presents a very serious role model reflection...we should not honor such behavior as young people try to copy their example and they do not realize that drugs, alcohol and bad behavior is not proper to portray as a role model...that is not to say that Houston contributed to the music with her fabulous voice, and sports figures did their job well but they do not represent a great role model otherwise...

I agree!!  When we start to lower our great flag for every well-known person that passes we diminish  the honor of doing so for our service men and women.  When a flag is seen flying at half staff it should cause us to think, "A hero, a defender of our freedom has passed"  

Christie can say that he ordered the flags lowered for all service men and women killed in Iraq/Afghanistan Conflicts, but he misses the point...These young men and women "Contributed" everything they had to their country and their fellow citizens.  They didn't need a contract rider demanding this and that in order to appear, they didn't need to be seen, they just wanted to protect their country.

Houston and Clemmons were icons of the music industry, but these men and women were heroes to their country and an example to more kids and adults than any entertainer could ever hope to reach.

It never ceases to amaze me that when a Medal of Honor is received, it usually doesn't get half the fanfare, ticker tape parades, or the general acknowledgement that a Super Bowl, NBA, or World Series Championship gets.  Most kids don't even understand what it means for a flag to be lowered at half mast.

I'm not going to apologize for this, I am disgusted with anyone that agrees with our great Governor's opinion.  Anyone who does is spitting on the memory of these brave men and women.

I am totally against flying flags at half staff for Whitney Houston addict yes hero no, sick yes hero no, next we will have Whitney Houston Day...come on people

Half Mass Flag for Whitney Houston was inappropiate.

Its hard to believe, that is a slap in the face to all military that have given their life's for this country, flag half mast for dope heads

Lowering of The flag should definitely be reserved for world/national leaders And those who lost their lives fighting for our American freedom!

I feel the Governor of The Great State of New Jersey has gone a little too far. He has ordered all government offices to lower their flags to half staff in honor of Whitney Houston. This is an honor reserved for dignitaries, or high ranking officials. Whitney Houston “was” a great singer and entertainer, and I love her music, but does she really deserve that honor? I hope the governor sees fit to be at the Casualty & Mortuary Affairs Services Center in Fort Dix, NJ, anytime a plane load of our fallen service member arrives there to salute and honor them. They did more then just sing or entertain, they gave their lives so everyone in he nation, NO, in the world could have freedom.

A gross miss-use of State Honors.

I fully agree .  It is disgraceful that Christie does not honor the people who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country.  Furthermore, I may be wrong but I was always taught that only the President of the United States of America has the power to order the United States Flag lowered.  If I am correct then have the Christie  lower the state flag instead.

How dare you disgrace the American flag by wanting to raise it to half mast on Saturday for Whitney Houston. This will only lessen the meaning of what our flag stands for. Only a liberal would do what you're doing. The country is already falling apart and losing it's real American values and morals, you don't need to add to it.

I'm already ashamed of NJ because of all the political corruption and left wing liberal nonsense. We don't care about Whitney Houston just because she was from NJ. You should keep you personal agenda, "personal"!

Half mast is a tradition from the Civil war, when we honored not only our fallen but the fact that we spilled our own blood over our diverging visions of freedom so Ben Franklin has nothing to do with it. Half mast is reserved for all those who gave of themselves to the state, the country, or the public good. For a conservative republican who says he supports our troops, I find it confusing that he would have the audacity to honor someone who gave only to herself with those who gave all they had to others.

Well said. Let's lower our flags for the true heroes and heroines.

The questions should be Why is he lowering the flag?

When Benjamin Franklin died - the flag was not lowered half mast for him. Reply:  Benjamin Franklin was the equivalent of the Secretary of State during the Revolutionary War and almost singlehandedly procured money and resources from France to help win the war. 

I feel this is a vote getting. No other reason. Honor those who gave something besides a song.

I couldn't have put it better. This Honor should be for those who have laid their lives on the line for the citizens of this country. That's it! No exceptions!

Perfectly put. Not only does this cheapen the meaning of why and for whom the flag is lowered, though it serves as an insult to the truly deserving. The fact that we're now "honoring" entertainers (this includes athletes) is disturbing. In my opinion, this practice is indefensible.

Love your article and agree totally but check the typo - should be public duty towards the end.  You missed an L!        Reply:  Got it.  Thanks.

I wish people would post facts instead of what they think facts are:

In addition to the traditional half-staff salutes when proclaimed by the President, the Flag Code mentions the use of our Flag for honoring citizens who have died, especially government officials and prominent citizens. However, the Flag Code does not exclude any citizen, whether they belong to an organization or not, whether they are recognized very locally or regionally. Examples of deceased citizens that might be honored with by lowering the Flag to half-staff include local religious leaders, youth leaders, honored teachers or sports coaches, local politicians, or a local hero. There need be no authorization from the government for the private sector (non-government) to use the Flag to honor any citizen.

Read more:

I totally and completely agree.  Flying the flat at half-mast for celebrities diminishes the meaning of it.

I agree completely! Just because someone is successful doesn't entitle them to a flag at half staff! This HONOR should be reserved for fallen heroes and high government officials who actually gave of themselves for the greater good of our country. Whitney Houston was highly compensated for what she did. And in the end, she died of a drug addiction.  Does she deserve the same honor given to a fallen Marine or U.S. President? I think not! Stop this craziness now, please!!

Our politicians seem to only care about their own pockets, and not the few that give them the freedom to be rich. A perfect example is the 9/11 responders that can not get a dime to help them with their illness. I will not vote for anyone ever again who is not an independent.

I agree 110% this is an insult to the men and women who have given their lives in service of the country and the state. I was always under the impression that the flag at half staff was a way to show the nations sorrow for the loss of a hero. (anyone who gave their life for duty)

Not to lessen the loss of Ms. Houston but what has she done for the Country or the State!

Every time I see a flag lowered to half-staff, I research to find out WHY they've been lowered if I missed a news report.  I always say a little prayer for the military member or first responder who lost their life, thanking them for their service.  I would not be happy if it were my state who lowered a flag for a celebrity who graced us with their talent but not with their willingness to sacrifice their all for our safety.  Public recognition of the death is fine, but flags at half-mast for a celebrity?  No way!

Another example of our government getting involved in ALL aspects of our lives! Maybe if they spent more time "governing" we wouldn't be in the poor shape we are in as a country. In my opinion Christie's credibility just took a nose dive - I don't think he has the intelligence to be our President!

I agree entirely, where does it stop?  I never even heard of her name until this came up.  She sang a song or two?  

I think this is a crock of you know what.  To display the flag at half mast for entertainers is disgusting.  It's an insult and disgrace to all veterans and those who have died performing a service for our country. 

Couldn't agree more.  When I first heard of this I was wondering myself but no one seemed to be making a stink.  Glad I'm not the only one thinking this.







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