Nelson Mandela and flying the U.S. Flag at half-staff
There has been some grousing that President Obama has order the U.S. flag to fly at half-staff in honor of South African President Mandela’s passing.
“The president may order the flag to be flown at half-staff to mark the death of other officials, former officials, or foreign dignitaries. In addition to these occasions, the president may order half-staff display of the flag after other tragic events.”
— U.S. Flag Code, para 3.
Twice before has a president directed the U.S. flag to be flown at half-staff for a foreign dignitary.
President George W. Bush ordered flags to fly at half-staff at the passing of Pope John Paul II in 2005, and President Lyndon Johnson bestowed the honor in recognition of the passing of Winston Churchill in 1965.