Flags flew at half-staff one day in five last year

U.S. flags, lowered last week in honor of the 49 Orlando shooting victims, were at half-staff for 74 days in 2015 — 15 of them to remember and honor victims of mass shootings.

The lowering of flags for the Orlando victims, which ended at sunset Thursday, was the first in 2016 following a mass shooting.

Incidents of international terrorism accounted for at least five days of lowered flags in 2015 and at least five so far this year.

Many of the other days with flags at half-staff — which amounted to more than one out of every five days last year — honored service members, police and firefighters killed in the line of duty and politicians who have died.

Among them were Fox Lake Police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz, who later was found to have killed himself and staged the scene to look like he was shot in the line of duty, and McHenry County Sheriff's Deputy Dwight Maness, who died 11 months after he was shot while responding to a call at a home in Holiday Hills.

The flag hasn't always been lowered so often. Starting around 2004, several states — including Illinois — ordered honors for soldiers from their states who were killed in action.

In 2007, the state's flag display act was expanded to include Illinoisans in the military or law enforcement killed in the line of duty, with the flag being lowered two days before and on the day of the funeral for those honored.

And the list of those honored continues to grow. It now includes firefighters and emergency medical services crew members killed on the job and, starting this year, anyone training for active military duty.

Here are the days over the past two years when flags were ordered flown at half-staff, and the people who were honored:


Jan. 14-16: Firefighter Kenneth Harris of the Oak Park Fire Department.

Jan. 19-21: U.S. Army PFC Kenneth Leroy Cunningham of Ellery, Illinois.

Feb. 13-20: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

March 7-9: Police Officer (Francis) Scot Fitzgerald of South Jacksonville, Illinois, and former first lady Nancy Reagan.

March 22-26: Victims of attack in Brussels, Belgium.

May 15: Peace Officers Memorial Day.

May 30: Memorial Day.

June 12-16: Victims of the attack in Orlando.


Feb. 12-14: Chief Kenneth Lehr of the Medora Fire Protection District.

April 15: Abraham Lincoln.

April 29-May 3: Former Illinois Gov. Dan Walker.

May 15: Peace Officers Memorial.

May 18-June 3: Memorial Day, U.S. Marine Cpl. Sara Medina of Aurora and U.S. Army Air Force 2nd Lt. Harry B. McGuire of Chester, Illinois.

July 21-25: Victims of shootings at military installations in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Aug. 12-15: Tazewell County Sheriff's Deputy Craig S. Whisenand and U.S. Army Air Force 2nd Lt. Stephen B. Biezis of Chicago.

Aug. 18-20: U.S. Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. Maurice J. Fevold of Chicago and U.S. Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. Ward C. Swalwell Jr. of Chicago.

Aug. 27-30: U.S. Forest Service Firefighter Andrew Zajac of Downers Grove and U.S. Army Major Dale W. Richardson of Mount Sterling, Illinois.

Sept. 5-7: Fox Lake Police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz.

Sept. 11: Victims of 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Sept. 17-19: McHenry County Sheriff's Deputy Dwight Maness.

Sept. 27-29: Illinois state Rep. Esther Golar.

Oct. 2-6: Victims of shooting in Roseburg, Oregon, and National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service.

Nov. 16-19: Victims of attacks in Paris, France.

Dec. 3-7: Victims of attack in San Bernardino, California, and Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

Dec. 9-11: Firefighter Mark Zielinski of the Matteson Fire Department.

Dec. 16-19: Firefighter Daniel Capuano of the Chicago Fire Department and U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kevin Mose Weiss of McHenry.

Sources: state of Illinois,

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