WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump ordered flags to be flown at half staff in honor of those who have died due to COVID-19.
“I will be lowering the flags on all Federal Buildings and National Monuments to half-staff over the next three days in memory of the Americans we have lost to the CoronaVirus,” the President tweeted on his way back from a trip to Michigan.
He added that flags will be at half-staff on Monday to honor service members who have lost their lives fighting for the nation, as is tradition.
It would seem, judging by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ guidelines for when the flag can and should be lowered to half-staff, that the current pandemic very much qualifies. Here’s the VA’s guidance:
“An easy way to remember when to fly the United States flag at half-staff is to consider when the whole nation is in mourning. These periods of mourning are proclaimed either by the president of the United States, for national remembrance, or the governor of a state or territory, for local remembrance, in the event of a death of a member or former member of the federal, state or territorial government or judiciary. The heads of departments and agencies of the federal government may also order that the flag be flown at half staff on buildings, grounds and naval vessels under their jurisdiction.”
A number of governors have taken this action on their own. On Tuesday, Democratic Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz ordered flags to fly at half-staff in the state to remember the lives lost from Covid-19 and said that the flags would fly half-staff on the 19th of every month for the rest of the year as a remembrance.
Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in early April that flags would fly at half-staff for the foreseeable future in honor of coronavirus victims.
Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo did the same thing at around the same time.
To date, more than 93,000 people have died from Covid-19, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins.