John Burri, a man whose son died in Iraq in 2005, burned a New Jersey state flag to protest the state’s flying flags half-staff in honor of Whitney Houston’s death.
Burri, 60, who is a New Jersey native now living in Michigan, was prompted to burn a New Jersey state flag on his barbecue grill after NJ’s Governor Chris Christie ordered flags in the state flown at half-staff for Houston’s death. “I thought it was offensive to every family’s fallen solider out there, and it cheapens the meaning of lowering the flag,” Burri told ABC News.
Burri bought a New Jersey flag, tied it to the back of his car, drove around two veteran memorials in Michigan, then stopped at his son’s burial site. He then proceeded home and burned the flag.
Eric Burri, John’s son, was killed “in 2005 when an explosive device detonated near the Humvee in which he was patrolling,” says ABC News.
The article also mentions that Christie’s office has flown the flag at half-staff 42 times, for an assortment of tributes, including other NJ native musicians. Governors have the power to fly flags half-staff for residents and state officials alike. And federal law does not require that the person being honored have served in the armed forces.
Should flying flags half-staff be reserved for military tribute? With the amount of parents grieving the loss of their children in war, is it an insult to pay tribute to musicians in this manner?