Why are flags at half-staff in Arizona on Wednesday? Here's what to know

Flags were lowered to half-staff on Wednesday in honor of Peace Officers Memorial Day.

Peace Officers Memorial Day is celebrated annually on May 15 after President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation designating it as such. The week surrounding Peace Officers Memorial Day has also been designated as Police Week. Police officers from across the United States gather in Washington, D.C., to honor and remember officers who died or were disabled while on duty, according to policeweek.org.

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs ordered flags across the state be flown at half-staff on May 6 in honor of Arizona Peace Officers Memorial Day.

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What is the difference between half-mast and half-staff?

Typically the difference between the two is where the flag is being flown. Half-mast refers to flags flown on ships, while half-staff is used for flags flown on land.

When are flags flown at half-staff?

There are specific holidays and events when flags are flown at half-staff in the United States. The Arizona Governor's website outlines those days as:

  • Memorial Day when the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff.

  • Peace Officers Memorial Day, unless that day is also Armed Forces Day.

  • Patriot Day.

  • National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

  • National Firefighters Memorial Day.

United States presidents can also declare that flags be flown at half-staff on the death of a notable person, according to the site. In those cases, the flag would be flown at half-staff in these instances:

  • 30 days from the death of the president or a former president.

  • 10 days from the day of death of the vice president, the chief justice or a retired chief justice of the United States, or the speaker of the House of Representatives.

  • From the day of death until the interment of an associate justice of the Supreme Court, a secretary of an executive or military department, a former vice president or the governor of a state.

  • The day of death and the following day for a member of Congress.

The governor can also order that the U.S. flag be flown at half-staff on the death of a notable present or former government official or member of the Armed Forces who dies while on active duty.

In Arizona, the governor can also require that the state flag be lowered for all state, institutional and educational buildings. The law also allows the state flag to be lowered on the death of an incumbent elective state officer for seven days beginning on the day following the death of the officer.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Why are flags at half-staff in Arizona on Wednesday?