You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

S.C. sheriff refuses to lower flag to half-staff for Mandela

Less than 48 hours after Nelson Mandela's death, a South Carolina sheriff is drawing national attention for refusing to lower his office's American flag to half-staff.

Pickens County Sheriff Rick Clark says even though President Obama has ordered all flags flown at half-staff in honor of the former South African leader until Monday, his department isn't participating. (Via WIS-TV)

Why? In the statement he posted on Facebook, Clark said Mandela was not an American. He adds the appropriate place for the flag to be lowered is at our embassy in South Africa.

CLARK: "This struck me, in my opinion, that having the flag at half-staff is for Americans who sacrifice for their country and who serve for their country. That's just a simple opinion, and that's what I thought." (Via WSPA)

While a president ordering flags be lowered for non-U.S. citizens is rare, it has been done in the past. (Via NPR)

George W. Bush ordered flags be lowered for Pope John Paul II in 2005. The same was done for former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in the 80s and 90s following their assassinations.

Clark told The Greenville News that the practice of lowering the flag to half-staff would lose its value if it was done for Mandela, but a local NAACP member said she hopes the sheriff lowers it in honor of Mandela as a sign of respect.

MSNBC points out the flags actually were lowered to half-staff at the sheriff's office — but for a different reason. Clark said it was lowered Friday to remember a deputy who died in the line of duty and Saturday in remembrance of Pearl Harbor Day.

Even though President Obama ordered flags be lowered, Clark likely won't face any consequences for his decision, as there's no penalty for those who don't follow the order.

The Congressional Research Service says the Flag Code, "functions simply as a guide to be voluntarily followed by civilians and civilian groups." (Via Congressional Research Service)

Nelson Mandela died in South Africa on Thursday at the age of 95. He is expected to be laid to rest Dec. 15.

- See more at

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Nation World

End of an era as Ringling Bros. gears up for last two shows 
End of an era as Ringling Bros. gears up for last two shows 

It’s the end of an era.  After 146 years, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is folding up the big tent forever, shuttering the ticket windows and putting the animals out to pasture. The circus has been a staple of American entertainment since the mid-1800s, wowing audiences with an array of exotic animals, breathtaking acrobatics...
Explosives fail to bring down Ohio’s tallest bridge
Explosives fail to bring down Ohio’s tallest bridge

A third attempt to demolish the remnants of the state’s tallest bridge failed Sunday so crews will use cranes to dismantle the former Jeremiah Morrow Bridge in Warren County. Ohio Department of Transportation Press Secretary Matt Bruning said they are finished trying to blow the old bridge down. “After a demolition blast on Sunday morning...
Body found in Grand Canyon likely boy swept away with step-grandmother
Body found in Grand Canyon likely boy swept away with step-grandmother

Grand Canyon National Park officials said Friday that a body found is likely that of a 14-year-old hiker who went missing in the park two weeks ago with his step-grandmother. According to the New York Post, Jackson Standefer of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was swept away along with LouAnn Merrell when the two were crossing a creek on April 15...
Masonic home celebrating 125 years
Masonic home celebrating 125 years

The Springfield Masonic Community is celebrating 125 years and is promoting recent renovations to its facilities on the historic Springfield campus. Originally built in 1892, the Springfield Masonic Community provides a range of services to residents 55 and older, including skilled nursing, rehabilitation, post-acute care and extended-care services...
Warm, muggy conditions before showers, storms start the week
Warm, muggy conditions before showers, storms start the week

We’ll see partly to mostly cloudy skies today and a good chunk of the afternoon will be dry, but a few stray showers, maybe a thunderstorm, cannot be ruled out. Few showers possible during the day today Widespread showers and storms overnight tonight Cooler temperatures this week TODAY: Anything that develops in the Miami Valley and Southwest...
More Stories