Peace Officers Memorial Day

Categories:National Holidays
Jim Bolinger

Peace Officers Memorial Day – May 15th: U.S. Flags To Be Flown At Half-Staff

Peace Officers Memorial Day is designated in honor of the Federal, State and Municipal officers who have been killed or disabled in the line of duty. This day, May 15th of each year, ensures that the valor of the more than 15,000 law enforcement officers lost since 1794 will never be forgotten. On this day, the Flag of the United States should be displayed at half-staff in honor of those Peace Officers.

Public Law 87-726, amended by Public Law 103-322, authorizes the President to issue appropriate proclamations and directs that the Flag of the United States be flown at half-staff on May 15th. These laws and the related Presidential proclamations invite the governments of the States and communities and the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities. The calendar week during which May 15th occurs is designated as Police Week in recognition of the service given by the men and women who stand guard in our midst to protect us through the enforcement of our laws.

The U.S. Flag is lowered to half-staff at the direction of the President of the United States as a mark of respect, memorializing, or mourning for the death of certain individuals. When the U.S. Flag is flown at half-staff, no other flag can be flown at full-staff. It is disrespectful to fly any flag higher than the U.S. Flag (there are two exceptions).

For U.S. Flags that can not be flown at half-staff, such as a flag displayed against a wall or on a short pole on the front of a building, the use of black “ribbons or streamers” as a sign of mourning is appropriate. The black streamers or ribbons should be attached at the top of the pole just below the finial. The streamers should not be attached to the flag.