A South Carolina Sheriff is defying President Barack Obama’s order to lower flags to half-staff as a tribute to South African leader Nelson Mandela.
Pickens County Sheriff Rick Clark said he was defying Obama’s order because he thinks the honor of lowering flags should be reserved for fallen Americans.
“It’s just my simple opinion that the flag should only be lowered to half-staff for Americans who sacrificed for their country,” Clark told CNN affiliate WHNS.
On Saturday his department’s flag was lowered for the 72nd anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attacks, but Pickens said he’d have it back up Sunday morning. Obama ordered the flags to remain at half-staff until Monday evening.
“I have no problem lowering it in South Africa in their country but not for our country,” Clark told WHNS. “It should be the people who have sacrificed for our country.”
“The flag at half-staff is for Americans’ ultimate sacrifice for our country,” the sheriff added to The Greenville News. “We should never stray away from that.”
According to WHNS, Clark reiterated his views in a Facebook post.
“Nelson Mandela did great things for his country and was a brave man but he was not an AMERICAN!!!” he wrote.
CNN noted in their report that former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton both ordered the lowering of the flags for foreigners.
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