McDonnell orders flags to half-staff hours after presidential proclamation

Posted at 1:32 PM, Sep 17, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-17 13:33:09-04

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) -- President Barack Obama sent out a an order Monday evening stating all U.S. flags at all public buildings, military posts and naval stations be flown at half-staff "as a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on September 16, 2013, at the Washington Navy Yard."  Despite the presidential proclamation, it wasn't until the next day when the flag at the Virginia State Capital and several other state buildings were lowered.

Some questioned why all flags were not flying at half-staff?  As it turns out some state and private businesses said they were waiting to follow Governor Bob McDonnell's lead.  While others took it upon themselves to lower its flags in honor of the 12 victims from Monday's mass shooting.

"This is a terrible, terrible tragedy for our country," Jon Hatfield, executive director of the Virginia War Memorial said.

It was at 8:51 a.m. when Governor Bob McDonnell's office issued that order for all U.S. and state flags fly at half-staff here in the Commonwealth.  But even before that declaration was made by the Governor's office, many flags including the 10 surrounding the Virginia War Memorial were going down.

"I think it's important that we honor the loss and that we are reminded that all citizens of our patriotic duties to our country," Hatfield said.

By noon there was a strong showing of support across the Commonwealth, in what has essentially become a nationwide sense of community.  The flags have been ordered to fly at half-staff until sunset on Friday, September 20, 2013.

Presidential Proclamation -- Honoring the Victims of the Tragedy at the Washington Navy Yard

As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on September 16, 2013, at the Washington Navy Yard, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, September 20, 2013. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.