Communities throughout New York State have been ordered to fly their flags at half-staff this week.

The order comes just two weeks after flags were seen at half mast throughout the state due to the death of Captain Christopher J. Garrow after an illness that resulted from exposure to the World Trade Center site during the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001.

While the flag was lowered for two days to honor Garrow, the most recent order will only be effective for this Wednesday, June 28.

Why are flags flown at half mast?

Deciding to fly a flag at half-mast is a strictly regulated process. While some local municipalities maintain control over how flags are flown in their jurisdiction, it's the State of New York or the federal government that usually decides to honor a solemn occasion by directing flags to be flown at half-staff.


According to the State of New York, flags at individual schools, counties, towns, or other organizations and municipalities are under the supervision and control of the locality in which they reside. However, most of these local governments usually follow the lead of state and federal governments.

There are only four permanent occasions during the year when the flag is directed to be flown at half-staff. Those dates are Memorial Day, Pearl Harbor Day (December 7), Peace Officers Memorial Day (May 15) and September 11, known as Patriot Day.


Flags ordered to be lowered on Wednesday, June 28

Governor Kathy Hochul announced that flags on all New York State buildings will be flown at half-staff on Wednesday, June 28 to honor former Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch.

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Ravitch died in a Manhattan hospital on Sunday at the age of 89. The former Lieutenant Governor started his career by being appointed to help New York manage its finances during the 1970s. Eventually, he served as chairman of the MTA where he was credited with saving the system from financial collapse in the 1980s. Most recently, Rafvitch helped New York get through the resignation of Governor Eliot Spitzer by working alongside David Patterson as lieutenant governor.

Governor Hochul honored Ravitch's legacy while announcing the lowering of flags on Wednesday.

Whether guiding the MTA through a pivotal era or serving as Lieutenant Governor, he exemplified unwavering, astute leadership, embodying the true essence of a dedicated public servant. As Governor, I appreciated Dick's wisdom and thoughtful advice and join his wife Kathy, his loved ones, friends, and all New Yorkers who knew him in mourning his passing and remembering his tremendous achievements.


Flags will be flown throughout New York State at half-mast until Thursday, June 19.

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