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    Default Mayor Refuses To Lower Flags For Fallen Firefighter

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    Last edited by ehs7554; 01-27-2012 at 09:58 AM.

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    I think the Edwardsville FD. should Lower the flag anyway. Like the Mayor said "there is not set punishment."

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    Excerpt from the U.S. Flag Code:


    (m) The flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day. On Memorial Day the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff. 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. In the event of the death of a present or former official of the government of any State, territory, or possession of the United States, the Governor of that State, territory, or possession may proclaim that the National flag shall be flown at half-staff. The flag shall be flown at half-staff 30 days from the death of the President or a former President; 10 days from the day of death of the Vice President, the Chief Justice or a retired Chief Justice of the United States, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives; from the day of death until interment of an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, a Secretary of an executive or military department, a former Vice President, or the Governor of a State, territory, or possession; and on the day of death and the following day for a Member of Congress. The flag shall be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day, unless that day is also Armed Forces Day. As used in this subsection—
    (1) the term “half-staff” means the position of the flag when it is one-half the distance between the top and bottom of the staff;
    (2) the term “executive or military department” means any agency listed under sections 101 and 102 of title 5, United States Code; and
    (3) the term “Member of Congress” means a Senator, a Representative, a Delegate, or the Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico.
    Now, I guess you could interpret this a couple of ways. It states that the President shall declare that the flag be flown at half-staff under various circumstances, and also that the Governer of a state or territory may make this declaration in the event of the death of a local official. But this line:

    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.
    ...would seem to indicate that local municipalities may also elect to do so, so long as it is displayed in accordance with the rest of the Code. At least that's how I read it.

    At any rate, I'd go ahead and do it. Nobody's going to come after you and prosecute you for it.
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    — C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    Default Kansas is not the only ones

    From the Daytona Beach News Journal:
    November 29, 2007

    Order to raise flags angers firefighters honoring comrade

    By LYDA LONGA
    Staff Writer

    Colleagues of fallen firefighter John "J.J." Curry were fuming Wednesday -- one day after his death in a training accident -- when they were ordered to raise American flags lowered to half-staff at Volusia County Fire Services stations in honor of the 30-year-old.

    The directive to raise the flags came by midmorning from Fire Chief Jim Tauber's office, fire union executive member Jeremiah Greathouse and fire union president John Calache said.

    Tauber did not return a telephone call Wednesday and officials said the county's office of communications would be speaking for the fire chief.

    An angry Greathouse said Tauber's office sent a text message ordering all the stations to raise flags that had been lowered for Curry, killed Tuesday when a tree fell on him during brush fire training exercises.

    "The flag at our station -- Station 11 on Derbyshire Road (near Holly Hill) -- was lowered when the text message was sent," Greathouse said quietly. "I've been getting phone calls about this all day.

    "I'm pretty sure every firefighter is upset about this," he said.

    Calache said he had spoken to Tauber on Tuesday evening concerning lowering the flags and was told it was not allowed, but "I got the impression that they (the county) weren't going to enforce it," Calache said.

    County officials did, and then they didn't.

    A few hours after Tauber's message, the county scrambled to change the situation.

    The stink raised by the firefighters -- many refused to raise the flags at their stations even though they faced the threat of punishment -- reached the county manager's office and "a conversation took place at the county manager's level," county spokesman Dave Byron said.

    "We wanted to get this resolved before it went sideways and became something more," Byron said. "Out of respect for the firefighter, we will allow signs of mourning such as wreaths, signs and lowering the flag."

    By early afternoon, and after angry firefighters had placed calls to the offices of Gov. Charlie Crist and U.S. Rep. John Mica, a second text message was dispatched from Tauber's office informing the fire stations the flags could be lowered again.

    Byron said the county's decision was not influenced by the governor or Mica.

    "I don't think any of the fire stations raised the flag to begin with," Calache said.

    One firefighter who works at the same fire station where Curry was assigned -- Station 41 in DeLeon Springs -- was so enraged by the initial directive he went on TV and chided Volusia County Fire Services' administration.

    Byron said the county follows guidelines set down by the federal government regarding when the American flag should be flown at half-staff. One provision states that only the president can order a flag flown at half-staff "for stipulated periods upon the death of principal figures of the United States government." Governors also may make the order in their states, the guideline says.

    While Volusia County will continue to follow the national guideline, Byron said, requests to lower the flag in deaths such as Curry's will be taken on a "case-by-case basis."

    "We were looking at how we could put some sensitivity and common sense in this matter, being it was a local firefighter's death," Byron said.

    Known as "J.J." among family and friends, Curry, who lived near DeLand, was killed Tuesday morning at the Volusia County Fire Training Center on Tiger Bay Road. Curry and 14 other firefighters who belong to the department's Wildland Fire Team -- a specialized unit that fights forest and brush fires -- were cutting down pine trees with power and chain saws in a wooded area just south of the training center.

    The tree Curry and his team were working on fell on Curry, killing him at the scene, said Greathouse, a member of the same unit who was also training in the woods that morning. Greathouse rendered aid and said the pine tree mainly injured Curry's neck and back. The incident is under investigation by the Volusia County Sheriff's Office and other agencies.

    Wednesday afternoon in front of Station 41, Curry's uncle, Lt. Kristian Gundersen of the Orange County Fire Rescue Department, made a statement on behalf of Curry's wife, Kristen, their 3-year-old son, Owen, and other family members.

    "He was a loving husband, dedicated father, son and friend and passionate firefighter," Gundersen said. "His mission was to save and help others on Tuesday, Nov. 27, and our community suffered a great loss."

    -- Staff Writer Joe Crews contributed to this report.

    lyda.longa@news-jrnl.com

    Curry's Funeral

    WHEN: 10 a.m. Saturday

    WHERE: Stetson Baptist Church, 1025 W. Minnesota Ave., DeLand

    PROCESSION: Full firefighter's funeral, including bagpipes and firefighters visiting from other cities, according to John Calache, union president

    CALLING HOURS: 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at Allen-Summerhill DeLand

    DONATIONS: John "J.J." Jacob Curry Charity Trust at any SunTrust Bank
    ______________________________ ______________________________ _____
    I believe the light is blinking Chiefs

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    Again, my take on it is this...the President can order that all flags in the nation be lowered to half staff....a Governer can order that all flags in the State be lowered to half staff. But the Code does not, as I see it, prohibit local municipalities from lowering their flags under local directive, as long as the flag is still displayed in accordance with the Code....my take on it, anyway....
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    — C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    What a boob.

    This guy can order if he wants to. A firefighter would be considered a "pricipal figure of the government" and the flag, if lowered, should comply with the US flag code.

    He just wants his 15 min of fame at the expense of a dead brother.

    MUTT!!!
    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

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    Ha! if you think thats bad............ We had to have someone call one of our congressmen and then have him call the city manager(in a not so nice conversation) to get the city manager to let us lower the flags for President Regan's death! Nothing like a city manager denning a presidential order.

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    Let start off by saying that I believe the flags should lowered in respect for the fallen. With that said, I though the mayor could only order the town or city flag to be lowered. The govenor could only lower the state flag.

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    ..........................
    Last edited by ehs7554; 01-27-2012 at 09:58 AM.

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    I have read the flag code. I take great pride in the American Flag! I try to do most things right by the code, but it gets broken every day by thousands of people! Simply by wearing it as clothing etc. The government lets it get broken by athletes draping the flag around them. If events like this can occur...why is it such a big deal to lower it for a fallen brother? Most of the stations/departments all around here will lower them for an area fallen brother. It blows my mind that it is even an issue. My hats off to those that stood their ground on keeping the flag lowered. Shame on the politicians!
    The success of a fire department depends on the willingness of its members to put aside their differences and work for the benefit of the dept/community.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MassFireGuy View Post
    Let start off by saying that I believe the flags should lowered in respect for the fallen. With that said, I though the mayor could only order the town or city flag to be lowered. The govenor could only lower the state flag.
    I can't entirely blame the mayor in this case, he's technically right, IMHO.

    IMHO, we've done this to ourselves. Lowering the flag to half-staff is a major, significant symbolic gesture that, IMHO, we've come to devalue by doing it too easily, for too long, and without the proper etiquette for authorization.

    As personally painful a firefighter LODD is to us in the fire service, lowering the US flag should really be reserved for occasions when the nation mourns -- either literally or figuratively -- not just our small corner of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by ehs7554 View Post
    ....would a city be in violation of contract for failing to obide by IAFF rules?
    Absolutely not.

    In any rational dispute the Flag Code takes precedence of an organization's private funeral protocols. Those prtocols should be amended to reflect that proper authroization should be received before lowering any US flag.

    Quote Originally Posted by wcfpd2601 View Post
    I have read the flag code. I take great pride in the American Flag! I try to do most things right by the code, but it gets broken every day by thousands of people!
    I'm right with you until after this point. I can't agree that we should endorse ignoring the Flag Code on the basis that everybody else does. IMHO, we of all people should be setting an example -- not following the lemmings.
    Last edited by DeputyMarshal; 11-30-2007 at 10:19 AM.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    DM, it does not surprise me at all that you would find some way to take the city administration point of view, again.
    That is one of the great things about the United States, we a re not a city state and individual municipalities have some ability to be autominous. Even the "Flag Code" allows for that.
    Firefighting is a local endeavor done by local people, protecting local citizens. So to cheapen their death by not allowing the local flags to be lowered to half mast is, at minimum, completely disrespectful.
    My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
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    Firefighting is a local endeavor done by local people, protecting local citizens
    ...and yet, people are upset that an entire County did not lower their flags to half mast? HIS locality did it. They are upset that another city in the same County did not....
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SPFDRum View Post
    DM, it does not surprise me at all that you would find some way to take the city administration point of view, again.
    And why is that? Last time I looked I was still an IAFF member... I can see the mayor's point of view because I happen to agree that he's right. It has nothing to do with him being "city administration" or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by SPFDRum View Post
    So to cheapen their death by not allowing the local flags to be lowered to half mast is, at minimum, completely disrespectful.
    I agree with you. One small problem. The US Flag isn't a "local" flag, it's the federal flag representing the entire US no matter where's it's flown or by whom. Proper protocol requires that either the President of the US or the Governor of one of those sovereign states authorize displaying the flag at half staff. Local governments don't get to make protocol decisions about federal matters.

    I could make the same "disrespectful" argument that lowering the flag inappropriately "cheapens" the symbol for those times when it would be appropriate to do so. The US flag isn't even dipped in respect to the flags or heads of state of foreign countries on their own soil. The protocol for displaying the flag at half staff should not be taken lightly.

    Do you have Town/City flag? A fire deparment flag? If so, display them at half staff whenever you wish but have enough respect for the flags of your state and country to fly them according to their own protocols.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    I just checked the CPSC website. There was a mass recall for flag poles where the pulley at the top of the pole would only allow the flag to be raised halfway. Also, the ropes had a propensity for getting wrapped around the top of the pole so they were not able to be raised from the ground.

    Don't you suppose that some of these flagpoles were installed in Wyandotte County?
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    .........................
    Last edited by ehs7554; 01-27-2012 at 09:57 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SPFDRum View Post
    DM, it does not surprise me at all that you would find some way to take the city administration point of view, again.
    That is one of the great things about the United States, we a re not a city state and individual municipalities have some ability to be autominous. Even the "Flag Code" allows for that.
    Firefighting is a local endeavor done by local people, protecting local citizens. So to cheapen their death by not allowing the local flags to be lowered to half mast is, at minimum, completely disrespectful.
    I totally agree with the brother from Minnesota!
    (being a mud duck and all even )
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    Altoona, WI

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    with all respect to the fallen brother...
    A mayor does not have the rights, and thought people brake the laws everyday does it make it right? Call the Govs office.
    I hate when people without the authority to do so do it anyways, it is in the code for a reason.
    Josh Ball
    FF/EMT - Zoneton Fire Protection District
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    .............................. .
    Last edited by ehs7554; 01-27-2012 at 09:57 AM.

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    Unbelievable. "Brothers" agreeing with a Mutts decision to NOT lower the flag to honor and remember our fallen Brothers. FTM-PTB
    AJ, MICP, FireMedic
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