Why flags will fly at half-staff, half-mast in the U.S. Friday and through the weekend

·1 min read

President Joe Biden ordered that all U.S. flags be flown at half-staff through July 10 to honor Japan's longest-serving prime minister Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated in broad daylight by a gunman on Friday.

Abe resigned as prime minister in 2020 due to poor health after serving two terms.

The death of Abe, 67, was shocking with Japan's strict gun laws and one of the lowest worldwide homicide rates in the world.

Last year, Japan had 10 criminal gun cases in a country of over 125 million people, according to Associated Press statistics.

Here's what we know about why and when American flags are flown at half-staff.

Flags are shown at half-staff Wednesday morning near at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus.
Flags are shown at half-staff Wednesday morning near at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus.

What time are flags displayed at half-staff?

Customs call for flags to be shown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset unless the flag can be illuminated overnight.

Holidays where the flag is half-staff around the country

May 15 - Peace Officers Memorial Day (half-staff all day)

Last Monday in May - Memorial Day (half-staff until noon)

Sept. 11 - Patriot Day (half-staff all day)

First Sunday in October - Fallen Fighters Fallen Firefighters (half-staff all day)

Dec. 7 - Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day (half-staff all day)

Courtesy of aflag.com and halfstaffalert.org.

What's the difference between half-mast and half-staff?

According to The Sextant, the Naval History and Heritage Command’s blog, half-mast refers to lowered flags on a ship, while half-staff is a pole in the ground. But the blog continues to say half-mast is used outside the U.S.

USA TODAY contributed to this story.

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Life of Shinzo Abe being honored with flags at half-staff