Earlier today, President Barack Obama issued an executive order lowering flags at federal buildings and military bases to half-staff in honor of the passing of Senator Edward Kennedy, who died at his home this morning after a 15 month battle with brain cancer.
City buildings here in Lewisville had flags flying at full staff today awaiting an order from Texas Governor Rick Perry. As Assistant City Manager Steve Bacchus explained, even though the President issued the order, the U.S. Flag cannot be flown at a level below the Texas flag.
Bacchus stated: "We have been in contact with the Governor's office throughout the morning and afternoon with the most recent contact about [2:47 PM]" City protocol is that both a Presidential and State order must be received, the the City Manager's office issues the order to the individual building managers.
At 4:33 PM, WhosPlayin received notification from the Governor's press office that the order had been officially given, though the representative could not provide an official link on the Governor's website at the time due to some technical difficulties. The website had problems that had caused Perry's staff to have to remove the press release noting Kennedy's passing from this morning. That press release has now been re-posted and says in its entirety:
“Senator Kennedy carried on his family’s tradition of service to our country, devoting his life to the causes that mattered most to him. We can all admire and should respect a life lived with such consistent adherence to a deeply-held set of beliefs. Anita and I extend our sincere condolences and prayers to his family and friends.”
As of this moment, the Governor's list of executive orders does not contain the flag lowering order as described to us via phone:
Governor Perry orders that the State Flag be lowered to half staff for the remainder of Wednesday, and all of Thursday. Friday the Lone Star flag is to fly at full staff, followed by a day of half-staff on Saturday - the day of Kennedy's funeral.
Perry's order differs from President Obama's order, which states that flags are to remain lowered "until sunset on August 30, 2009" Obama's order goes on to say: "I also direct that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff until sunset on the day of his interment."
Kennedy's funeral mass will take place in Roxbury, Mass on Saturday morning, August 29th, and he will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetary near the tombs of his brothers, John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy.
Kennedy is eligible for burial in Arlington due to his service in the U.S. Army from 1951 to 1953 as well as his Congressional service.
We think that although we may not have agreed with everything that Ted Kennedy believed, we all have benefitted from his service and from the bills that he has helped to pass. It is fitting that we honor not only the man, but the longevity and committment to public service.
We think that Governor Perry of all people, as a former elected Democrat whose terms overlapped with Senator Kennedy should modify his order to match that of President Obama.
Readers can contact the governor's office to register their opinions.