NJ town refuses to fly flag on half-mast over Whitney Houston’s death

Washington: Whitney Houston was laid to rest last weekend and flags at municipalities across New Jersey were lowered at half-mast, but one town ignored orders to do so.

Houston was a native of New Jersey and, according to governor Chris Christie, made significant cultural contributions to her home state.

“For those people who say, ‘I don’t think she deserves it,’ I say to them, ‘I understand that you don’t think that. I do, and it’s my executive order,’” the LA Times quoted him as saying last week.

However, Wayne Township did not follow the governor’s executive order - at the request of Mayor Christopher P Vergano.

“As of today I have received 13 emails in favour of not lowering the flags and one opposed to my decision,” he was quoted as saying in an email on Monday.

“The emails came from as far as Florida, Texas and Virginia. My personal feeling is that the flag should only be lowered as an honour for military personal and fallen police officers. Most of the people that contacted me were in the military service and thanked me for my decision,” he said.

Among those in the town objecting to lowering the flag in Houston’s honour was the Wayne Township Policemen’s Benevolent Association, Local 136. The group’s Facebook page had a letter posted on it, which association President Scott Rappaport wrote to Vergano on February 16.

“Every death is a tragedy and we mean not to take that away from Ms Houston’s family, friends and fans. However, we disagree that her death is somehow more significant or more important than the thousands of military personnel and civilians that die serving our country,” the letter said.

The association did not know was that Vergano had already made up his mind to keep the flags flying as usual.

Houston died February 11 at age 48. Her body was found in the bathtub of her guest room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. Authorities have not yet announced a cause of death.

Christie’s decision to lower the flag has prompted both pro and con comments across the country.


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