By Miriam Raftery
May 23, 2020 (San Diego) – This Memorial Day weekend, the number of Americans killed by COVID-19 is expected to top 100,000--more than the total of lives lost in the Vietnam and Korean wars combined. President Donald Trump has ordered flags flown at half staff from Friday through Sunday at all federal buildings and national monuments “in memory of the Americans we have lost to the coronavirus,” he announced on Twitter. Then on Monday, flags will again be lowered to half-staff to honor military members killed in service to the U.S.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s order in 1954 has required flags to fly at half-mast until noon each Memorial Day to honor service members who have died, but mandated that flags to flow at full staff in the afternoon to honor all living service members, according to the Veterans Administration website.
Trump issued his order on the same day that Trump received a letter sent by Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, and Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader asking that flags be flown at half mast to honor coronavirus victims. “We will soon cross the awful threshold of 100,000 Americans lost to the coronavirus. Flying the flags at half staff…is an important show of national grief,” Pelosi later Tweeted. “Let us honor their memory and act to save lives.”
In San Diego, Sheriff Bill Gore issued a reminder for the public to celebrate Memorial Day weekend responsibly by not drinking and driving, and by obeying COVID-19 restrictions. Drivers impaired by drugs or alcohol “will go to jail” and can face over $15,000 in court and legal fees if convicted.
“This holiday weekend, avoid large gatherings, wear facial coverings and practice social distancing,” the Sheriff says, thanking those who have observed state and county public health orders. “Let’s all do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19 as we get closer to reopening,” Sheriff Gore concludes.