South Dakota Half-Mast Statistics

Not long ago, I opined on the frequency with which the flag seems to fly at half-staff these days. One of those who commented on the piece said that he was unsure of the number of times this had occurred.

As a result, I contacted Governor Round’s office and requested information about half-staff flags since January 1, 2009 (to get enough data to work with). I received the following in reply from a Ms. Anderson:

Governor Rounds asked the Bureau of Administration to provide you with the information you requested in your email of August 28, 2010.  I reviewed the press releases issued by the Governor’s Office from January 1, 2009 through August 31, 2010.  Based on that research, I found that 24 Flags at Half-Staff requests have been issued in that time period, with 15 of them for South Dakotans and the remaining nine in honor of national officials or in response to requests from the President.

Presidential requests include the standard days such as Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, and Patriot’s Day (9/11).  Non-presidential requests included ones to honor fallen SD-related servicepeople and former legislators, etc.

20 months–24 requests for the flag to fly at half-staff. I believe this is why it seems often to me, since it is more frequent than once a month, on average.

3 thoughts on “South Dakota Half-Mast Statistics

  1. Thanks for getting this information. Wish it had one more breakdown:

    Of the 15 declarations by Governor Rounds, how many are for fallen soldiers, how many for past political leaders and who are they, and how many for another reason and what were they.

    Of the 9 declarations by President Obama, the same information.

    Not that it matters to me. Over 607 days, I don’t think 24 times or once every 25 days or 4% is excessive.

    1. Troy,

      I’ve sent you the PDF with the detail you requested. I did not post it on the site because I am not seeking to be unkind to any one person who has received the honor.

      Rather, the point of my post was that the very number of flag adjustments dilutes the meaning of them.

      If anyone else would like to see the details, just let me know in the meta for this post.

      1. Thanks. Helped alot. Don’t think listing is unkind nor would your comments be taken as such.

        Of the 15 designations by Rounds, 7 were to mark the death of troops killed in action, a South Dakota war hero (specifically Taylor Wolf Guts one of the code talkers in WWII) or law enforment officer killed in the line of duty (Chad Mechels).

        The other six were:

        Tom Hennies (state legislator)
        Dean Anderson (state legisltor)
        Bill Taylor (state legislator)
        Bud Wood (state legislator)
        Bill Dougherty (Lt. Governor)
        Hemming Oien (state legislator)

        With the exception of Hennies (he served when I wasn’t in Pierre), I can attest the other five weren’t just average legislators but an absolute credit to the legislature. If Hennies was half the legislator of these five, he deserves to be remembered.

        But to the general comment, we have to agree to disagree. Recognizing a political leader once every 100 days, troops who die in battle, a law enforcement officer killed serving and protecting us, or a hero like Wolf Guts doesn’t seem too much to me.

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