By Brandon Hall
(Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com)
Controversy raged this week after Gov. Snyder did not order flags in Michigan to be lowered to half-staff to honor three Michigan Marines killed in a recent tragedy, with thousands of Michiganders calling, emailing, and taking to social media sitesto blast the Governor.
Snyder, however, has changed his mind, announcing Friday evening that he is ordering flags lowered on Monday.
Marcus Bawol of Warren, Trevor Blaylock of Lake Orion and Andrew Seif of Holland were among seven Marines and four U.S. Army soldiers killed after their helicopter crashed during a training accident in Florida March 10th.
In a statement Friday evening, Snyder praised the fallen Marines and asked for a review of the language that dictates when flags should be lowered. Previously, The Michigan Department of Military and Veteran Affairs claimed only service members killed in the line of duty overseas could receive the honor.
Snyder spokesman Dave Murray, defending his boss, had said yesterday that “The current Michigan flag protocols were developed with the Michigan Department of Military Affairs and call for flags to be lowered across the state when members of the armed forces are lost in combat."
Also complicating the situation is that at least one family member asked the Governor not to lower the flags...Every other state with Marines on board however, did lower flags.
Below is the full statement released tonight by Snyder's office:
"U.S. flags within the state Capitol Complex and on all state buildings will be lowered to half-staff on Monday, March 30, 2015, to honor the service and sacrifice of service members killed during a training exercise earlier this month, including three Marines from Michigan, Gov. Rick Snyder said.
Snyder said the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of the Marines, including Staff Sergeants Marcus Bawol of Warren, Trevor Blaylock of Lake Orion and Andrew Seif of Holland, is a tragic loss for our country and our state.
“The crash is a reminder that the men and women serving our country make tremendous sacrifices and put themselves in harm’s way every day to keep us safe and protect our freedoms,” Snyder said. “We join their families and communities in mourning their loss and also recognizing with pride their bravery and dedication to our country. They are, unquestionably, heroes.”
The Marines were killed in a crash off the Florida coast on March 10, with their funerals or memorials services held on different dates.
Snyder said he wants to review long-standing flag protocols to determine if there should be changes. Existing flag protocols were developed with input from the Michigan Department of Military & Veterans Affairs and call for flags to be lowered across the state when members of the armed forces are lost in combat.
When flown at half-staff or half-mast, the U. S. flag should be hoisted first to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff or half-mast position. The flag should again be raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day. Flags should be returned to full-staff on Tuesday, March 31"
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.
|Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson|