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Should flags fly at half-staff for Whitney Houson?

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Should flags fly at half-staff for Whitney Houston?

Joerg Koch / AFP - Getty Images file

Whitney Houston in 2009.

Controversy continues to swirl around the death of Whitney Houston, and now New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has stepped into the fray. The Republican governor has ordered U.S. and state flags flown at half-staff at all state government buildings on Saturday, the day of her funeral.

Christie defends his decision by deeming the singer a "cultural icon" of the state, along the lines of Jersey musicians Frank Sinatra, Count Basie and Bruce Springsteen.

He goes on to say, "Whitney Houston was an important part of the cultural fabric of this state … Her accomplishments in her life were a source of great pride for many people in this state and for this state as a whole. On that basis, I think she's entitled to have that recognition made for her."

Governors of American states are authorized by federal law to make this order at their discretion to honor state officials or residents who have died. Nothing requires that the person honored must be a politician or service member; in fact, Christie approved a similar order when Springsteen band member Clarence Clemons died last June.

But some are arguing that due to Houston's public struggles with drugs, such an honor is not deserved.

“Whitney Houston was truly an icon whose life was cut short by her own demons. I don't think that flags should be flown at half-mast to honor her, when so many of our servicemen have lost their lives fighting for our country and have not gotten the same recognition,” comments Rbegyn on The Huffington Post. “To honor a woman who by her own choice was addicted to drugs, and to promote that kind of celebrity rather than honor our distinguished servicemen who gave their lives, not by their own choice. Another wise decision by our esteemed governor.”

Tom concurs on New, “I am an American service member and do not agree with this at all! She has done nothing for the country other than entertain, and should not be given an honor reserved for people who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country! I feel this degrades such an honor.”

Even some of those who are those most supportive of the late singer can’t wrap their heads around it.

Sara DiMeglio tweets, “Wow #NJ hit a new low today. Half mast flags should be for heroes that died.. I love Whitney but come on let's be real here!”

Rest assured the governor will be hearing about it. His phone number has already been posted on numerous websites with a call-to-action. Wrote Ipalumbo on The Huffington Post, “When I called a nice lady let me vent about the status of flying flags at half staff. Apparently­, she is being inundated with phone messages that feel the same way as I do.”

One person commenting on a story on went as far as to say that some state employees will willingly disregard the order. Under the name General Rant, the commenter wrote: "Don't worry, I work at a state building and trust me, it'll be at the discretion of the management. If you think there'll be full compliance with the order, think again, because there won't."

Some are in favor of the honor, mentioning Houston's national anthem performance at the 1991 Super Bowl as an example of her patriotism. Derek Price wrote on's Facebook page, "She represented the United States to the world and inspired millions with her voice and beauty. I see no reason they should not lower the flags since she sang arguably the greatest ever rendition of the Star Spangled Banner."

And someone going by Plato1973 posted on that dying in the line of duty is not the only way to serve one's country. "It is important. WH was the best, most beautiful singer of our lifetime. ... Your message is that you have to be killed in order to be appreciated by this country. Whitney gave us far more than we could have ever given her back. Her songs will last forever and that deserves a ton of recognition."

by on Feb. 15, 2012 at 1:49 PM
Replies (211-220):
by ~FreeSpirit~ on Feb. 20, 2012 at 7:57 AM
1 mom liked this


Quoting JonJon:

I haven't read any of the other replies so forgive me if I repeat:

They say servicemen who die for their country did so unvoluntarily unlike Whitney whom they apparently believe voluntarily killed herself.  1)  People in this man's and woman's branches of the armed services absolutely volunteered to risk their lives for this country and are honored with military ceremonies.  As a mere civilian, no one's going to drape a flag over MY casket and no honor guard is going to carry me to the cemetary and I sure as shootin' ain't gonna get no 21-gun salute.  2)  I have read nor heard any reports Whitney committed suicide.  Have I missed something?  Whitney was rehearsing to appear at the Grammys.

Did anyone complain about the other, I surmise, WHITE performers this Governor honored with flags flown half-mast?  I mean, I'm sure some did but was his office innundated with phone complaints?  Did the author of this article do so before Whitney was ordered honored?

Whitney Houston's music uplifted me.  Whitney's music soothed me.  Whitney's music comforted me.  Whitney's music touched me.  Whitney's music empowered me.  Whitney's music inspired me.  I don't believe I'm the only one.  I believe she did one or more of those things for millions of other people not only in this country but around the world.

"In 2009, the Guinness World Records cited Whitney Houston as the most-awarded female act of all-time.[1] Houston was also one of the world's best-selling music artists, having sold over 170 million albums, singles and videos worldwide.[2][3] She released seven studio albums and three movie soundtrack albums, all of which have diamond, multi-platinum, platinum or gold certification."

A local fireman died, or was it a cop? and the flags were flown half mast in THIS state.  Did any military personnel complain it shouldn't be done because he died serving only Washington State or his city or his neighborhood or one human being or one family, rather than dying while fighting for the WHOLE U S OF A? 

No one made any such complaint publicly, that I'm aware.

No one complained when they put ELVIS PRESLEY on a stamp!  That stamp was produced and sold and looked at me from envelopes way longer than the one day the Governer of New Jersey wants to honor Whitney Houston.  HER I wouldn't mind seeing on a stamp but she has to be dead a while before she receives that honor, only to have knuckleheads like the author of this article complain.  I say knucklehead because the idiot doesn't know a governor cannot order ALL flags in the country to be flown half mast!  I had no problem with the Elvis stamp; it could be said he gave his life to his career and his fans.  All the pills he popped was so he could lose weight and stay awake to record and perform and then to go to sleep to come down from all the excitement of recording and performing.  His music did all the same things for me that Whitney's did.

Sylvester Stallone donated the statue from Rocky III to the City of Philadelphia.  Ol' Rocky stood on the steps leading to the Philadelphia Art Museum!  Then he was moved to a place outside a stadium, then he was moved to his final resting place on the grounds of the museum.  Yes, there was controversy about this homage to a fictional movie character but I agree the statue has been good for the city, and so was Sly Stallone's invention of a Great White Hope.  I don't disapprove except it will be funny when in 3012 they look at the statue in the ruins of old New Jersey and believe Rocky Balboa was a real, live person!

Make no mistake about it, Whitney Houston WAS and IS a national treasure and absolutely is deserving of having her state formally mourn her passing! 


by Bronze Member on Feb. 20, 2012 at 7:59 AM
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by Ruby Member on Feb. 20, 2012 at 8:14 AM

I have to apologize to the author in that I reread the article and see that she said the Governor ordered all the government buildings flying the Stars and Stripes and/or State flags to fly them half-mast.

Mayors and Governors honor their famous citizens with keys to the city, days in their names, streets in their names; high schools and colleges honor their famous alumni with days and honorary degrees if they didn't graduate from the school. 

Those honors are for perpetuity; how could anyone object to one day of respect for Whitney who lived to be loved by and to please her fans (except when she was offstage trying to have some personal time)?  It isn't costing the taxpayers one thin dime.

by Ruby Member on Feb. 20, 2012 at 8:33 AM

You know what?  Not all military personnel who receive medals of honor and courage deserved them, either.  Many wounds are self-inflicted and some are due to carelessness as the result of smoking pot and doing other drugs.  Some of THEM die from drug overdoses and some of them commit suicide.

Military personnel in the Middle East have easy access to cheap opiates on the streets.  Some careless has nothing to do with drugs which is worse than drug-induced carelessness imo.  Too many military deaths are due to friendly fire or fights and rivalries and that old buggaboo, racial, sexual and other intolerances.  Military personnel have raped and killed and looted all throughout this country's history; a relatively small number of people but one must realize or remember that uniforms do not magically embue all who wear with good characters or courage or any other positive attributes.  Many people joined the military because they weren't skilled at anything else and believed they could get training for good civilian careers.  And military burials DO cost the American citizens a LOT of tax dollars so be pissed off and indignant and the people in the military who get a hero's welcome or burial who didn't deserve it.  But wait, THEY aren't so easy to identify, right?

No, I don't begrudge them their honors.  Many people were assholes and opportunists when they joined the military but many BECAME assholes and opportunists and rapists and murderers when they joined.  And I mean as to rape a girl and then kill her so she won't report what they did.

Quoting charleyd68:

I am the Mom that likes this, and I am glad you have a sense of humor. I have been learning some facts to come back at you,in respect and intellect. I have a lot of ores in the fire! But, I will come back.

Quoting EireLass:

Ok. If that's what excites you.

Quoting charleyd68:

THANK YOU, Now I can honestly say that I saw in writing,why A.S.S.U.M.E!  makes a ASS out of you and me! MORE YOU!

Quoting EireLass:

Your sad. I'm assuming you're training your children that this is appropriate.

Quoting autumn129:

Why not- One of the reasons among others - She had a beautiful gift (her voice). They lowered the flag for other celebrities (see below). And I'm sure she won't be the Last celebrity to have the flag Lowered.

Quoting EireLass:

Why not? Because they're entertainers, that's why. Navy SEALS don't get half mast.

Quoting autumn129: Why Not?   By: REX BOWMAN | Times-Dispatch Staff Writer     Published: February 18, 2011 Updated: February 18, 2011 - 9:48 PM   MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Feb. 20, 2001) --   After Earnhardt's death all across North Carolina, state flags whipped in the wind at half staff.    At Earnhardt's garage, four flags lowered on their poles snapped fiercely in the wind: the U.S. and North Carolina flags, and a checkered flag.    Flags have been flown at half staff in the state before for other celebrities.  The most recent is Clarence Clemmons from the E-Street Band.  Again he had a lot of talent and was a source of pride for the state.and the Penn governor doing it for Joe Paterno.


by Member on Feb. 20, 2012 at 8:35 AM


by Member on Feb. 20, 2012 at 8:36 AM
Hello No. She was a singer.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
by Ruby Member on Feb. 20, 2012 at 8:55 AM

If you are who you say you are (and you very well may be), you would know all this.

Quoting charleyd68:   Is there somewhere were I could see any of these mandates? A reference Point? I posted several times, I am from a military Family(Army Brat), and granted, there are counterparts in each branch of the military, I've never heard of this non ident,for the Navy Seals. We are Army,hooaa,and of course there is the good natured ribbing of the "swabbies" "Jar heads" "Grunts"etc.And, some Family members, went to Air force,and marines,( a deal but not big) My Dad was the driving force,not only did he influence peoples choices,He became a Recruiter! But, I know the counterpart for the Seals,for Army are the Green Berets! My Dad and Lil Bro were in them,or trained with them,my Dad was an MP as well! Also, I had the HONOR as I said,to know many of the enlisted,we lived not on the Navy base,but our Deers made it special to go to Fort Dix,The Navy Base in My Hometown of (that's right,Eagles24/7 Baby) Philadelphia Pa.I even gave birth at the Navel Hospital! So,I have a working Knowledge of the Military, and A Lifelong Admiration,Respect,Loyalty, Pride and Love of The Men and Women of the Armed Forces! If not the "Government" This is why I weighed in the way I have,and still I never heard of it, I am not certain you've seen it, yet,but I quoted you to tell you I was looking up some thing to get with you,this is not it,this is my life,History,Heritage! What I was looking in to was what is available to non-Military,us. And presently a movie is coming out soon about, this is how it is promoted,the real NAVY SEALS. It is following honest to goodness SEALS, names, and nick-names in all. From their perspective,so if  that is honestly more documentary,with real SEALS, they can't be too secretive of their Idents! If you give me a guid to finding the source of your info,I'd appreciate it. I don't want to post anything without the info and knowledge to back it up.
Quoting EireLass:   Well, it's not a theory. It's fact. And yup, fallen soldiers. But the best soldiers? Nope. 
Quoting Thomigirl:   Here's the problem with your whole theory.  I've seen the flag flown half mast here in my town for fallen soldiers...
Quoting EireLass:   No, you missed what I said. The SEALS, as individuals are not to be known by 'us'. This is also why the pics of bin Laden have never been shown. The SEALS are not to have their photo taken 'in action', lest we know their identity. They are government property, this is the rule. Once's the government's choice to reveal their identity and anything else about them. Just no half-mast flag flown. The 'loved ones' that I know are more than willing to have their identity known, as the support they are then given by 'citizens' is larger than life.
Quoting Thomigirl:   Perhaps there is a reason why only their identification be revealed.  Perhaps not all the families wished their deceased loved ones information to be released, etc.
Quoting EireLass:   See, the issue is what the government has decided/allowed. They will allow for a singer to be honored with a government symbol, which the President declared 'ok' in '07 (I think). However, what he declared for the SEALS at that time, was that their identification be revealed. Whoop-di-doo.
Quoting Thomigirl:   Then that's something that should be taken up with his hometown, etc.  The inablity to honor THIS man has NOTHING to do with Whitney Houston or what HER hometown chose to do for her.

by Silver Member on Feb. 20, 2012 at 10:30 AM

Quoting charleyd68:

Wow,I guess you should suggest that next time around, since it's been done to DEATH(S) already!

Quoting Aislinn:

Quoting AdellesMom:

Not nationally.

But, Chirstie only did this for NJ.

It's no different than when other celebrities die, and their home states/cities lower the flag to half mass for them.

 No flags should ever fly half mast for ANY celebrity. Period. 

 No, maybe the people in this country should wake the fuck up and realize most celebrities are not worth flying a flag at half mast. How in FUCK do you put a crack head and a SOLDIER who dies at WAR in the same catagory? Lots of Americans have become idiots. Especially the ones who feel flying the flag at half mast for a crack head and a soldier are a GOOD idea.

by Platinum Member on Feb. 20, 2012 at 10:49 AM
1 mom liked this

Who the FUCK put Whitney Houston in the same category but the fuckers bitching about what the Govenor decided to do?  Get the fuck over it.  She was more than just a crackhead to other people.  If she wasn't to you, then oh hell, oh fucking well.  They've done it for others, they've done it for soldiers.  Don't like it, cry two tears in a bucket.  This shit is getting ridiculous.

Quoting Aislinn:

 No, maybe the people in this country should wake the fuck up and realize most celebrities are not worth flying a flag at half mast. How in FUCK do you put a crack head and a SOLDIER who dies at WAR in the same catagory? Lots of Americans have become idiots. Especially the ones who feel flying the flag at half mast for a crack head and a soldier are a GOOD idea.

by on Feb. 20, 2012 at 10:52 AM
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