A South Carolina sheriff has gone public with his vow to refuse to honor President Barack Obama’s order to fly the U.S. flag at half-staff in honor of South African human rights champion Nelson Mandela.
“Nelson Mandela did great things for his country and was a brave man but he was not an AMERICAN!!! [sic],” Clark wrote. “The flag should be lowered at our Embassy in S. Africa, but not here.”
As NPR reported, Obama ordered U.S. government buildings to be flown at half-staff until Monday night in rememberance of Mandela, who died Thursday at the age of 95. Obama said in his own statement that he identified himself as “one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s life.”
According to NPR, the last time the order was given to honor the passing of a foreign dignitary was 2005, following the death of Pope John Paul II. The U.S. is one of seven other countries that have joined Mandela’s home, South Africa, in the gesture.
Instead, Clark wrote that he would keep the flag at half-staff thru Saturday night in recognition of both a deceased member of his department and the anniversary of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. One person commented on Clark’s post that, “I think that he did that because he and Mandela are from the same country.”
The U.S. Flag Code (PDF) does not contain penalties for non-compliance.
[Image via Pickens County Sheriffs Office Facebook page]