PICKENS COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - A South Carolina sheriff said he would not lower his department's flag for Nelson Mandela citing that the former South African president was not an American.
"Nelson Mandela did great things for his country and was a brave man but he was not an AMERICAN!!!" wrote Pickens County Sheriff Rick Clark on a Facebook post.
President Barack Obama ordered American flags to be lowered half staff until Monday in tribute to Mandela, who died on Thursday.
Clark said that the honor of lowering the American flag "should be reserved for people who have done great service for our country." Clark added while he considered Mandela an inspiration, he says he has not contributed to "the fabric of our country."
Clark said that his office's flag was at half staff on Friday for Deputy Joseph Antwine who died last week after sustaining injuries in an on-duty crash.
Clark's full Facebook post is below:
"I usually don't post political items, but today is different. I received this notification today, "As a mark of respect for the memory of Nelson Mandela, the President orders that the flag of the United States be flown at half-staff effective immediately until sunset, December 9, 2013"
Nelson Mandela did great things for his country and was a brave man but he was not an AMERICAN!!! The flag should be lowered at our Embassy in S. Africa, but not here. Our flag is at half staff today for a Deputy in the low country who died going to help his fellow Deputy. He deserves the honor. I have ordered that the flag here at my office back up after tomorrow's mourning of Pearl Harbor Day!"
You can read the senate rules on flag display here.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, the presidential order to lower the American flag for Mandela is the third time in history an honor was given to a foreign leader.
An article in csmonitor.com states the first to do it was President Lyndon Johnson in 1965 in honor of Winston Churchill's death, then in 2005, when President George H. Bush ordered flags at half staff for the passing of Pope John Paul II.