Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Half-staff flags in New Jersey

Governor Chris Christie ordered flags lowered half-staff (I always thought it was half-mast) to honor Whitney Houston. Washington Post article says Gov. Christie is defending his decision against criticism, saying she is deserving of the honor as a "daughter of New Jersey" and due to her huge cultural impact.

I thought flag lowering was reserved for military or government dignitaries, not for citizens. I do not agree nor disagree with honoring Houston with a flag lowering; do find it a bit extreme. Being a Jersey girl, the news interest me. Plus I first learned that Whitney was from East Orange New Jersey and cousin of Dionne Warwick from one of my daughter's classmates. The girl was a classmate at Pocono Mountain High School, in Pennsylvania, but originally from East Orange.

I think my distant relatives lived in West Orange; I was so young when visiting, and only ever saw the great-aunts or father's cousins at weddings and funerals as I aged. My mother liked to shop in Newark, and as a teen, I dated a boy from that city. More memories of Newark, then the Oranges.

I understand the governor's desire to pay homage to a Jersey born and raised super-star. People make jokes about Jersey and its people. I was not fond of living there ~ I moved 3,000 miles away, yet get a kick out of  knowing Jersey bred some famous artists. It is like: okay poke fun at us, but we produced Frank Sinatra, Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen. And a whole lot more celebrities.

Truly, I am not a flag waver, so do not quite understand state pride. Maybe it is like name-dropping: yeah, I walked the streets of Philadelphia; hung out in Asbury; Sayreville? Yeah been there. My online friend's parents attended the same church as President Obama. Franke Previte played basketball in the backyard with my brothers.

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