MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The three states of northern New England lowered the American flag a total of 10 times last year, including for the death of a former Vermont governor, a New Hampshire police officer killed in the line of duty and three Mainers who died in the sinking of the cargo ship El Faro.
Federal law allows presidents and governors to lower the flags to honor the fallen or people who have died after long lives of service. The flag can also be lowered on certain holidays.
And in some cases governors can order the lowering of the state flag.
An analysis by The Associated Press found that on nearly 90 percent of days last year, one or more states were flying the American flag at half-staff to memorialize the deaths of military members, public officials, police, first responders, prominent citizens and victims of mass killings and disasters.
The lowering of the flag ordered by state officials in Vermont, New Hampshire in Maine are in addition to presidential proclamations that lead to lowering the flag.
An Associated Press analysis of proclamations from 50 state governors and the federal government found the Stars and Stripes were lowered at least someplace in the country on 328 days during 2015.
Last year, Democratic Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin ordered the American flag lowered to honor the death of former Governor F. Ray Keyser Jr. But in Vermont, the state flag was lowered on three additional occasions to commemorate the death of Trooper Kyle Young, who was killed in a training accident, former Lt. Gov. Barbara Snelling and the shooting death of social worker Lara Sobel, who was allegedly shot by a disgruntled client.
In New Hampshire, flags were lowered for the state law enforcement officers’ memorial ceremony in Concord, with a special recognition of Brentwood Police Officer Stephen Arkell. In 2014, he responded to a domestic violence call, and when he was invited into the home, he was immediately gunned down by 47-year-old Michael Nolan, who had been arguing with his father. Nolan then set the house ablaze, killing himself. After an explosion, the building burned to the ground.
Arkell’s name is etched on the state memorial, the 46th to be added to the monument for fallen officers.
In addition, the flag in New Hampshire was lowered for Navy Seal William Blake Marston and U.S. Army Ranger Andrew A. Aimesbury, both of whom died in training exercises, and for the victims of the Chattanooga shooting.
In Maine, Gov. Paul LePage ordered the flags lowered four times for the victims of a shooting at a Chattanooga military installation and for Michael Lee Holland, Danielle Randolph, and Dylan Meklin, all Mainers who died in the sinking of the cargo ship El Faro.