Local flags fly high despite presidential orders after Colorado shooting

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A presidential proclamation to lower flags to half staff was some how missed by local governmental officials.

President Obama issued the order on Friday, last week.

It was to be a symbol of national mourning for the 12 victims of the Colorado massacre and was to remain at half-staff until sunset on Wednesday.

However, it didn't happen at several county and city locations.

The stars and stripes flew high over the South Bend Police Department, the St. Joseph County Jail, the city's Department of Public Works, the County Superior Court, and outside the County-City Building, itself.

According to County Commissioner Bob Kovach, the county was unaware of the presidential order to lower the flags issued last week after the movie theater shooting in Colorado, even though the post office, the Federal Courthouse, and the Veterans Affair Outpatient Clinic are all flying the colors at half-staff.

For some the excuse just doesn't cut it.

"They should be on top of that, and know what's going on, I would assume," said Jody Jones.

"I am exceedingly disappointed in the city government for not flying their flags at half mast," said David Koppana, the son of a military veteran.

For others, they think the act has lost its significance, or is even being misused.

"I remember when I was a child, it was always in the news when it was being lowered to half staff and why it was being lowered to half staff, and now-a-days I see it lowered to half staff and often don't know the reason why," said Susan Haynes.

"The lowering of the flag has meaning and the meaning should not be indiscriminately given out. The lowering of the flag is in honor of our men in arms that gives their lives for our country and for our freedom," said Haynes.

"Everyone is entitled to an opinion; I wouldn't agree with her. The flag at half mast is evidence of a time of mourning or national loss; and it's well known as a very significant act," Haynes continued.

When asked if the county would lower their flags now that it knows of the presidential order, Kovach said it was unlikely, indicating that it would be too much work to lower them and then raise them again a day later.

But not everyone agrees.

"The tragedy in Colorado is a good reason to lower the flag," Haynes concluded.

ABC 57's Jason Aubry contacted the City of South Bend after he shot the video for this news story to ask them why their flags were not at half staff.

They have since lowered their flag and responded with the following statement:

"The City of South Bend will be putting its flags at half mast until sunset tomorrow evening, in accordance with the Presidential proclamation."

The county is still flying their flags at full staff.


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