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Carnation Explainer: Why Were Town Center Flags at Half Staff?

Our flags were at half-staff yesterday in honor of United States Representative Donald McEachin of Virginia, who passed away on Monday, Nov. 28.

In accordance with the United States Flag Code 4 USC 7 (m), Governor Charlie Baker ordered that the American and Commonwealth of Massachusetts flags be lowered to half-staff at all state buildings on Tuesday, Nov. 29.

This order applied to state-owned and military facilities and the main or administration buildings of each public institution of the Commonwealth, including Tewksbury’s town hall.

The decision to fly flags at half-staff comes from the Governor. The Bureau of the State House notifies other state-managed facilities in Massachusetts of this decision. This notification is by way of email.

Flags are always at half-staff on May 15 for Peace Officers Memorial Day, Memorial Day, Sept. 11, Sunday of the week in which Oct. 9 falls for Fire Prevention Week and Dec. 7 for National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

Note that only the President or a state Governor may order a flag to fly at half-staff. The town may not lower the flag on its own.

If you often wonder why flags are at half-staff, you can be added to the Mass. email notification list by sending a blank email to:

Thanks Jim Harmon for the question and Select Board member Jayne Wellman for the answer. Got a question the Carnation can help answer? Shoot it along to

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