Flag Flap Flipped

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The leader of one of Michigan's largest counties on Friday reversed his refusal to fly flags at half-staff to honor troops killed while on active duty.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm last year issued an executive order stating flags should be flown at half-staff from the day of the death or notification of death of a Michigan soldier until the day of interment.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson initially declined to implement the order, saying it politicized the war on terror and promoted opposition to it. He told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Friday that he ordered flags flown at half-staff after meeting with representatives of veterans groups.

“I'm not trying to erode public support of (President) Bush's war on terror at all. I meant no disrespect. I'm a veteran myself,” said Patterson, who served in the Army from 1962-64.

Patterson, however, said he initially thought the sight of flags at half-staff was comparable to photos or television shots of body bags or flag-draped coffins. He said he was concerned that such images would erode public support for the war on terror.