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Why Is the Flag on Old Main Lawn at Half-Staff?

If you’ve walked on Old Main Lawn since Sunday, you might have noticed that the Pennsylvania state flag has been flying at half-staff. Here is the order issued this week:

At the direction of Gov. Tom Corbett, all Pennsylvania flags in the Capitol Complex and at Commonwealth facilities in Philadelphia County are to be lowered to half-staff immediately, in honor of Philadelphia Fire Department Captain Michael R. Goodwin, Sr., who died in the line of duty on April 6, 2013.  Flags shall remain at half-staff thru sunset on Thursday, April 11, 2013, the day of interment.

All Pennsylvanians are authorized to join in this tribute.

Besides set holidays when the flags are lowered, either by law or by custom, the President, in the case of the American flag, or the Governor, pertaining to the Pennsylvania flag, can issue an executive order to lower the flags to half-staff for a period of time, mainly to commemorate and honor the deaths of government or service figures.

At Penn State, spokeswoman Lisa Powers, explained, the process goes like this: the Governor or the President makes the call, and then the Pennsylvania Capitol Police in Harrisburg send out notifications. Once this notification is received by the Penn State Office of Physical plant, they send a listserv notification to all campus offices.

If you’re in doubt, you can check this website to see which flags are flying at half-mast on any given day.

About the Author

Dan McCool

Dan is a senior and has been writing for Onward State since January 2010. Did you miss him? Nah, neither did we. He's returning after a semester abroad in England and will be serving as Arts Editor. Favorite things in life include references to The Big Lebowski.

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