Half-staff holdout

Lakeview postal worker refuses to lower flag over convictions

flag lowering

Kip Powell, a postal support employee at the Lakeview Post Office, refused to lower the flag to half staff earlier this week because he says the repetitive raising and lowering of the flag trivializes the memorial salute. The flag in front of the village post office was lowered by another employee. (EXAMINER PHOTO | REUBEN MEES)


A Lakeview postal worker is taking a stand on the U.S. flag — although it might not be a popular stand to take.

After Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, President Donald Trump ordered flags be flown at half staff for a week. That presidential order filtered down through the ranks of the U.S. Postal Service until it reached Kip Powell in the Lakeview office.

A part-time postal support employee in the village post office, Powell refused the order. 

He says it’s not because he doesn’t feel sympathy for the victims of the bloodiest mass shooting in U.S. history or because he doesn’t like President Trump, but because he believes the continual lowering of the flag “trivializes the impact” the symbolic act should have.

“The pertinent section of the Flag Code says, ‘By order of the President, the flag shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of principal figures of the United States Government and the Governor of a State, territory, or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory,’” Powell said.

“I have not found any provision for the lowering of the flag for all of these tragedies. The National Flag Foundation refers to this as ‘good faith misunderstanding’ but also as a ‘trivialization of this memorial salute.’

“It’s not about not supporting families of the victims,” he said. “It’s about me and the lowering of the flag. The flag code says we do it for presidents or governors or other government officials, but it doesn’t say anything about victims of attacks.

“I think it trivializes this memorial salute if we are constantly raising and lowering the flag for whatever is popular politically,” Powell said.

“I don’t know why it bothers me so much, but it does,” Powell added. “It’s not a Trump thing, either. I had to do it when Obama was in office. I didn’t like it then and I don’t like it now.”

The postal worker, who said he did not object to having another employee lower the flag at the Lakeview office, said he is prepared to accept disciplinary action up to and including being fired from his job.

According to the website halfstaff.org, which maintains a database of flag-lowering data since 2011, both domestic and international mass shooting incidents have become commonplace reasons to lower the flag.

Read complete story in Thursday's Examiner
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