Sheriff Rick Clark told The Greenville News that
he has ordered the flag be raised at the end of today because he said
the honor of lowering flags to half-staff should be reserved for
"The flag at half-staff is for Americans' ultimate
sacrifice for our country," Clark said. "We should never stray away from
The flag has flown at half-staff and will continue to
during daylight hours today in honor of a Lowcountry law enforcement
officer who was killed and in honor of Pearl Harbor Day, Clark said.
However, come tonight, the flag will be raised, he said.
On Thursday, Obama ordered that flags be flown at half-staff on public grounds until sunset Monday.
federal flag code "does not prescribe any penalties for non-compliance
nor does it include enforcement provisions" and "functions simply as a
guide to be voluntarily followed by civilians and civilian groups,"
according to a U.S. congressional report commissioned by the U.S.
In a proclamation issued Thursday ordering flags at
half-staff, Obama said that Mandela "achieved more than could be
expected of any man."
"While we mourn his loss, we will forever
honor Nelson Mandela's memory," the president said. "He left behind a
South Africa that is free and at peace with itself - a close friend and
partner of the United States. And his memory will be kept in the hearts
of billions who have been lifted up by the power of his example."
is regarded the world over for his leadership in bringing South Africa
out of the racial discrimination known as apartheid. Mandela was
imprisoned in 1964 for his revolutionary activities and wasn't released
until 27 years later.
In 1994, Mandela was elected president of South Africa and lived a philanthropic life until his death Thursday at the age of 95.
order to fly the flag at half-staff to honor a person who wasn't a U.S.
citizen isn't unprecedented. In 2005, President George W. Bush ordered
flags lowered to half-staff in honor of Pope John Paul II.
Friday, Clark posted a message to his Facebook account saying that he
wouldn't lower the flag in honor of Mandela, though he said Mandela "did
great things for his country and was a brave man."
The post received hundreds of messages of support and a few expressions of dissension.
"I think Pickens County is God-loving and military-loving people, and they've just been real supportive," Clark told The News.
Crawford, president of the Pickens County chapter of the NAACP, said
the sheriff should keep the flag at half-staff as Obama instructed
because Mandela was a transformational figure revered the world over.
expect for him to follow proper protocol and fly the flag at half-staff
because that's the respect I would like to give Nelson Mandela as a
citizen of Pickens County," Crawford said.
The refusal isn't a
commentary on Mandela, Clark said, but rather a statement on what flying
a flag at half-staff means for Americans who have died for their
Clark said bestowing that honor on those who aren't U.S.
citizens "weakens what it means to that person who has died for the
United States of America."
"I've always liked (Mandela) and been very proud of what he's done," he said, "but it's reserved for Americans, in my opinion."