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Lowered flags give honor, recognition not just to locals

City follows Illinois Flag Display Act

Published: Friday, May 16, 2014 1:15 a.m. CST • Updated: Friday, May 16, 2014 10:59 a.m. CST
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
A flag in front of the Dixon Public Library flutters at half-staff Thursday afternoon in recognition of Peace Officers Memorial Day.

DIXON – City-installed American flags in Dixon were at half-staff Thursday, just as they have been many times this year.

It was Peace Officers Memorial Day on Thursday, and the flags were lowered from sunrise to sunset.

The flags also flew at half-staff from sunrise on April 10 until sunset on April 12, in memory of Sgt. Timothy Owens, of Effingham, who was killed in the shooting at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas.

Dixon Fire Chief Tim Shipman gave the order to lower the flags on Thursday, as he has in the past, after getting a notification from the state or federal government.

The email sometimes comes in the day before the flag needs to be lowered, he said, or a few days in advance, as it did for Thursday.

The Dixon Fire Department lowers the city’s flags at City Hall, the Dixon Public Library, the Public Safety Building, Peace Park and near the southeast corner of the Galena Avenue bridge.

The Illinois Flag Display Act allows the governor to issue an official notice to fly flags at half-staff for the death of an Illinois military member, law enforcement officer, firefighter or members of emergency medical service (EMS) crews.

Shipman said he’s been asked over the years why the city lowers its flags on days when there is no local significance.

“We just try to follow that [act] as best we can,” Shipman said Thursday. “... If nothing else, it gives a little honor and recognition to these people.”

In March, the flags were lowered, by order of Gov. Pat Quinn, in remembrance of Chicago police officer David Harris; U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Reid Nannen, of Hopedale; and Oak Forest police officer Jim Morrissy.

In 2014, flags have also been lowered in remembrance of fatally injured workers for the Illinois Tollway and Illinois Department of Transportation.

The federal government also issues orders to lower flags, Shipman said, and sometimes they correspond with state orders.

But sometimes, the federal government sends the order to lower flags immediately, as in September, after the mass shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.

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Search for "flag honors" at www.illinois.gov for more information about the Illinois Flag Display Act or to sign up for alerts about flags being lowered.

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