Utah Governor orders flags to half-staff to honor victims of attacks in Paris

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File Photo: American Flag

SALT LAKE CITY — In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is ordering the American Flag and the flag of the State of Utah be flown at half-staff through sunset on Thursday, November 19.

Herbert issued the following statement in the press release announcing the move:

“Jeanette and I express our deepest sympathies to the victims in Paris and to all those who will feel the pain and loss from this tragedy for years to come. Through this small gesture, Utahns from across the state demonstrate that our hearts are united in support of the nation of France during this difficult time.”

The Governor’s Office could not immediately say whether or not this was the first time the flags of the United States and Utah have been ordered to half-staff following a tragedy on foreign soil, but they stated it was “obviously a very rare occurrence.”

A vigil was held at the Utah State Capitol Sunday to show support for the people of France, click here for details. 

The French Flag was flown at half-staff at the LDS Church’s Temple Square beginning Saturday.


  • Dan Gray

    Um sorry. Unless these people were citizens of the US, and or they were the President-Vice President-State Senator or Rep-Federal Senator or Rep or a member of the SCOTUS who is from that state or a national hero like Audie Murphy, the US flag is not and CANNOT be lowered. To do so violates the US Flag Code which is federal law and it overturns any state law or proclamation like what the Utah Gov has done. As a Vet I am getting pretty tired of my flag being lowered at the drop of a hat for silly reasons.

    • miles (dave)

      the support and respect we show to France is more important than a legal document that may exist. keep in mind France is an ally and like it says in other fox stories France has been doing military work in the war against isis, thats work that you, nor i, nor our other troupes, nor our other allys needed to do. now i cant say how much help they are being because i honestly dont know, but id support anyone who would fire one bullet in our cause, and mourn there losses, when they take a hit in the unified fight.

      • Dan Gray

        So what you are saying is that you approve of the Gov doing something that can have him arrested and charged with a federal felony and end his political career, is justified because he wants to show support? New York did by coloring the Empire State Building in French colors. Frisco did in lighting up the French Flag colors on the Golden Gate Bridge. So you are going to try and tell me that he could not show support in any other way then to break federal law?

      • miles (dave)

        correct many things change and should change. and some things should stay based on bad, good, better, and best results. we the people recognize the lowering of the flag as a universal show of respect.

        just as things like language and public opinion change so do and should laws. the understanding of what it means to lower the flag is both evolving and growing more popular than it did in the past. in this case the governor and other governing parties and entities who both lowered flags and decorated in french colors all said in there ways, we respect and morn the french people and recognize that there part in this is not free nor easy. i too stand with those people and say as well thank you france for your part (even tho i dont know how big that part is) and im sorry this happened to you.

        however i can understand that to you the lowering of the flag perhaps means the lowering of the pride in the US or that were saying we are less than we are and if you believe that then i can understand why it would upset you, however i dont feel that way and i dont think most people do either. i would like to encourage you to to stand with your french brothers in arms and respect them and morn with them, and im also going to encourage you to support our political way of saying that we respect and morn with france. regardless of what the letter of the law is. in this case the spirit of the law is more important.

        also i re read your earlier post again and thank you as well for your service as a vet.

      • Dan Gray

        Fine, then lets keep on doing this in violation of US Federal Law. When a kid is killed in an accident, oh lets lower the flags. When a famous local person dies, lets lower the flags. When the Queen of England dies, hey lets lower the flags Do you even begin to understand how silly that is? If this is the case, then why didnt we lower the flags when Diana was killed in the car crash? Or to show sympathy with Russia when the plane was bombed over Egypt? Or when the Tidal wave hit Japan or Indonesia? This BS has to STOP NOW. Our flag is NOT a ping pong ball and there are strict federal limits on when it is to be lowered and when it is to be left alone. If people are not going to fly it correctly, then take it down and stop flying it in the first place.

      • miles (dave)

        i could be wrong but i dont remember any time when the flag was lowered during, When a kid is killed in an (normal) accident, When the Queen of England dies (a normal death) (as a matter of fact you stated your self that we didnt lower the flag during that time), When a famous local person dies (a normal death). and i agree those times would not be highly appropriate times to lower the flag. because those are times where our nation as a whole would not be morning as a whole. however id bet each time the queen has died and america and england had been in good standing with each other id bet a more modest show of respect and morning was given on a political level.

        with that plane bombing, if i remember right, that was an extension of the feud between russia and ukraine over crimea. and neater of those countries have there heads on right and im pretty sure nether is considered to be an ally. at best we put up with russia and ukraine is just kinda there.

        as for the tidal waves those are things that we typically dont morn about we typically just get to work helping

        i dont believe were looking for more silly reasons to lower the flag but like i said the reason for lowing the flag is evolving and becoming more popular.

      • Dan Gray

        Then you have not been watching the news. It happened in Michigan-Conn-Mass-Washington State-Colorado-California-Ill-NY-Maine Hawaii and at least 16 more states. And no I said we didnt lower it for Diana, I ASKED if we were going to lower it for Elizabeth. get the points correct please. And so what if it was a feud between Russia and the Ukraine, the attack on Paris was a feud between France and ISIS, so whats your point? And why didnt we morn about the Tidal waves? How can you morn for Paris and not for japan and indonesia? Or is it because we are not as close to them as we are France? And sorry, it CANT evolve as it is federal law and cannot be changed without changing federal law, and only Congress can do that. Here is the law

        As Adopted by the National Flag Conference, Washington, D.C., June 14-15, 1923, and Revised and Endorsed by the Second National Flag Conference, Washington, D.C., May 15, 1924. Revised and adopted at P.L. 623, 77th Congress, Second Session, June 22, 1942; as Amended by P.L. 829, 77th Congress, Second Session, December 22, 1942; P.L. 107 83rd Congress, 1st Session, July 9, 1953; P.L. 396, 83rd Congress, Second Session, June 14, 1954; P.L. 363, 90th Congress, Second Session, June 28, 1968; P.L. 344, 94th Congress, Second Session, July 7, 1976; P.L. 322, 103rd Congress, Second Session, September 13, 1994; P.L. 225, 105th Congress, Second Session, August 12, 1998; P.L. 80, 106th Congress, First Session, October 25, 1999; P.L. 110-41, 110th Congress, First Session, June 29, 2007; P.L. 110-181, 110th Congress, Second Session, January 28, 2008; P.L. 110-239, 110th Congress, Second Session, June 3, 2008, P.L. 110-417, 110th Congress, Second Session, October 14, 2008; P.L. 111-41, 111th Congress, First Session, July 27, 2009; and P.L. 113-66 113th Congress, First Session, December 26, 2013.

        Lowering the flag as the Gov has done is a violation of federal law. Period, end of story.

      • miles (dave)

        sorry i re read your post and realized i got the two plane bombings mixed up… anyway i dont remember anything bout the plane bombing over egypt however i could guess that like i said before because we more less put up with russia and were closer to cool enemies than allies, most of the people of america did not morn that day (at least im guessing we didnt morn as a whole that day, it was so mundane to me that i dont remember it or i didnt hear about it). so as a whole id guess most americans thought something like “gees russia we wish you would get your business together”. rather than being sad.

      • miles (dave)

        i see ok then well i cant speak for the actions of a governor for there individual state, for they have there own individual reasons which i dont know what they are, mostly because i dont live in those states. as far as elizibith goes i imagine it will depend on the emotional reaction of the people rather than anything set on a peace of paper, the lowering of the flag is not so much a political contractual agreement that we are sorry, as much as it is the political version of walking up to someone you care about and giving them a look in the eye and saying solemnly “hay man im sorry that happened to you and i back you up. thats the evolution that i spoke of before. public opinion and understanding is what is evolving and in this case the spirit of the law is doing more good than the letter of the law. now both the spirit and letter of the law are important but we need to use discrimination to decide when its best to do one or the other. by lowering the flag we give a better chance of increasing positive relations with france, also i and others honestly feel its just the right thing to do, like if your friends got beat up way bad and put in the hospital you would say something to them and you would do it for the right reasons (or at least you should)

        as for so what about russia or ukraine. well i already addressed that nether is a friendly. they are both not doing like they should as a country, to morn russia would be like morning if your drunkard neighbor who keeps coming over to your house ringing your door bell at odd hrs and sending your nasty mail etc. got beat up and put in the hospital sure you might wish it didnt happen but in the end your more thinking he probably deserved it… picked a fight with the wrong guy.

        as for japan or Indonesia well were not really close to them and those are more expected acts of nature. those things typically we get a little sad about many of us even pray for them but its not such an emotional event as it is a situation where we get to work helping. that sends the right message to me in my opinion.

        as for all the legal documents you sighted well regardless like i said before the spirit of the law is doing more good than the letter of the law. sometimes its just more important to do whats right. we can focus on going through the political process to change the laws when its less time sensitive

        perhaps you feel that the disrespect of those laws or whatever will lead to disrespect for other much more important laws, and if that did happen then yes that would be a bad thing. however here in the usa the paramount idea is its government by the people for the people and seen as how most people agree with the lowering of the flag i believe they too will look past all the legalities and walk toward the greater good.

        do the laws make the man or did man make the laws? the answer is both. in the end the law is not the end all be all of the universe, and most people understand that they will in there lives need to answer for there action not just to the law but to there g0d,(or other spiritual entity), there family, them selves, and last but not least reality. in the end we all need to live with the choices we make. the letter of the law is often important but sometimes there are more important things.

      • Dan Gray

        What most people seem to forget is the law, even if you disagree with it; is still the law and until it is changed you MUST follow it! The law (US Flag Code Title 4 US Code Chapter 1) is very clear on when and how the US Flag can or is to be lowered and for whom. Sympathy and Support of a cause is NOT mentioned anywhere in that federal law. As such the Gov had NO legal authority in any way to order the US flag to be lowered. Done, end of story. He committed a federal felony and should be taken to task for it.

      • miles (dave)

        i suppose you would have said the same thing about the laws that escaped slaves found in the north needed to be returned to there slave owners.

        i also suppose because you dont see the purpose of the spirit of the law then the next time you you are pulled over for doing so much as 1mph over you will not expect to be let off with a warning no matter what. because the spirit of the law is not important to you. or if you find your self in violation of any other law.

        have you ever been let off with a warning from an officer and did you insist the officer give you a ticket?

    • Dan Gray

      I agree, but Federal law clearly says that there are specific people where the US Flag can go to half mast, and the French people are not one that is listed. Nor is solidarity allowed as a reason.

  • Rationale

    If we fly our flags half-mast for victims of foreign terrorists on foreign soil, what is the rational nexus? What of the thousands of people killed by terrorists just this year in the Middle East, Asia, or South America? It raises the question of what qualifies a victim to be honored with a half-mast flag. In this case, the answer seems to be that those in developed western countries deserve it where others do not. And what inherent characteristic is it that qualifies a French victim of a terrorist attack for honor as opposed to a Syrian one?

    Outside of being a political reactionary statement, I don’t see the purpose of lowering our flags for the French if we won’t lower them for everyone.

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