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President Ronald Reagan
June 11, 2004 | 1:06 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Nancy from North Conway, NH:
We need to know when to return the flags at our resort to full staff. I have read several news reports which state once President Reagan is interred (after 10:30 ET or so Friday night), I have also read that tradition states the flags should be lowered for 30 days for a President. Can you tell me what the government plans and what private citizens and businesses should do?

Tim Saunders A:Tim Saunders, White House Executive Clerk:
Thanks for your question. The flag code (title 4, United States Code, section 7) states that flags shall be flown at half-mast for 30 days from the day of death of a former President. Individuals and private concerns are certainly invited to join in this observance.

June 10, 2004 | 12:17 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Kathy from Chesterfield, Michigan:
Are churches being asked to ring their bells across the country for President Reagan's funeral? If so, when, and how should they be rung?

Tim Saunders A:Tim Saunders, White House Executive Clerk:
Yes, President Reagan's family has asked that churches participate in the ringing of bells at the end of tomorrow's funeral service for President Reagan. As Ronald Reagan was the Nation's 40th President, the family has asked that bells be rung 40 times. The funeral is scheduled to end around 1:00 p.m. (Eastern Time). I would suggest watching the TV broadcast to best coordinate.

June 10, 2004 | 11:54 a.m.(EDT)

Q: Margaret from San Jose, California:
What is the definition of a state funeral, and how is it decided to bestow that honor?

Peter Sobich A:Peter Sobich, Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Cabinet Secretary:
By law, former presidents are afforded a state funeral upon their death. While tradition and protocol greatly influence the funeral planning, the exact sequence of events is largely determined by the family. However, most state funerals, including those for Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson have included the following events: repose in home state before traveling to Washington, D.C.; formal funeral procession in horse-drawn caisson along Constitution Avenue to U.S. Capitol; repose in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol; memorial service in Washington, D.C., and then travel to final resting place for internment. In the case of President Reagan, this will be at his Presidential Library located in Simi Valley, California.

June 9, 2004 | 9:47 a.m.(EDT)

Q: Toni from Beaver Creek, Colorado:
With President Reagan's death, what is the rule for American flags?
Does the President have to state all flags must be lowered? If so, how long must they be lowered for?
In addition, if the President doesn't order all of the flags to be lowered, can individuals decide on whether or not they would like to lower their flag?

Tim Saunders A:Tim Saunders, White House Executive Clerk:
Upon the death of a former President, the "flag code"
(4 United States Code, section 7) states that flags shall fly at half-staff for 30 days -- the flag code is designed to provide guidelines for the display of the flag.

Traditionally, the President then issues a proclamation "officially" informing the people of the United States, directs all Federal flags to be flown at half-staff over Federal facilities, and designates a "National Day of Mourning," as a mark of respect and remembrance for the former President. President Bush has designated this Friday, June 11, 2004, the day of President Reagan's funeral, as the National Day of Mourning for President Reagan.

As far as flags generally, the President directs the manner of their display over Federal facilities only -- he does not direct their display over non-Federal facilities. Individuals, other levels of government, and private concerns are simply encouraged to follow these observances.

You can find the President's proclamation here on the White House Web site.

Hope this helps,

White House Executive Clerk

June 9, 2004 | 9:25 a.m.(EDT)

Q: Melody from Mt. Clemens, Michigan:
Which government offices are being asked to close for Friday's National Day of Mourning for President Reagan? Is it just Federal Offices or are state, county and local government offices required to close?

Kay Coles A:Kay Coles James, Director, U.S. Office of Personnel Management:
The Executive Order of President George W. Bush, which closed all executive departments, independent establishments, and other governmental agencies on June 11, 2004, as a mark of respect for President Ronald Reagan, refers only to the Federal Government.

During the National Day of Mourning, the pay and leave policies for Federal employees will be consistent with those in effect on a Federal holiday. The decision as to who must work on a holiday is left to each agency head and may be delegated down to lower levels - just like the decision to designate emergency employees for closings such as those that are weather-related.