Apparently there's now some controversy over the governor's proclamation that flags should be flown at half staff in New Jersey on Friday for Whitney Houston. I wondered why anyone would have an objection to that, but evidently, the custom in New Jersey has been to fly flags at half mast only after the deaths of those who were in service, either to the military or the state (police officers, members of the highway patrol etc.). I guess they've decided to leave compliance to the governor's declaration up to the individual state/local facilities, but some polls--however accurate or inaccurate they may be--have indicated a strong feeling that flags shouldn't be flown at half mast for anyone who didn't serve the nation/state.
Does anyone happen to know if other celebrities have gotten the half mast honor before in their states? I can't think of anyone who has here, and I suppose some celebrities, especially older ones, might have been in the service at some point in their lives too. Seems to me flags were flown at half mast after 9/11, but realistically, some of the people killed that day were indeed cops and firefighters, so I don't know if they were flown specifically for that reason or for the sake of everyone. I assumed it was for everyone, but I don't remember what was mentioned as the reason at the time.