Saturday, a sheriff in South Carolina refused to lower the American flag in a tribute to Nelson Mandela who died Thursday; President Obama ordered that all public flags be reduced to half-staff in honor of the former President of South Africa. Pickens County Sheriff Rick Clark said that he wouldn’t do it and that this honor should only be for American citizens. See the video to the left.
Saturday, Clark told CNN:
"It's just my simple opinion that the flag should only be lowered to half-staff for Americans who sacrificed for their country. I have no problem lowering it in South Africa in their country but not for our country. It should be the people who have sacrificed for our country."
Saturday, the flag in the sheriff’s department was lowered for Pearl Harbor Day and a fallen soldier who died in his department, but he said it will go back up early Sunday morning.
This isn’t the first time that a President has asked for flags be lowered for people from other countries, and it rarely happens. It was lowered for Pope John Paul II, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and for Winston Churchill, according to CNN.
But it was not done for British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher earlier this year.
Thursday, President Obama addressed the country about the death of Nelson Mandela and what he did for the world. Obama said that Nelson Mandela’s legacy is that he left behind a free South Africa. For more on that story and to see the speech, click here.
Nelson Mandela died Thursday at age 95 after numerous battles with his health. Most recently, Mandela had been having lung infection complications and made several trips to the hospital and stayed there for a length of time. Over the last decade, Nelson Mandela was rarely seen in public.
Nelson Mandela is a former president of South Africa and was best known for spending 27 years in prison in South Africa during apartheid.
In 1993, Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1994, Mandela became South Africa's first black president and served for five years. His last public appearance was during the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament when it was held in South Africa. He was imprisoned for 27 years in an attempt to fight racist white rule. Mandela was retired and lived in the village of Qunu.
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