When a Michigan soldier falls, so do the flags across the state. It's a law that was enacted by Jennifer Granholm during the Iraq War; the flags must be flown at half-staff for one day, usually the day of the soldier's funeral.
But Monday, someone dropped the ball. No order came from Lansing to lower the flags for Specialist Robert Voakes, Jr. TMs funeral. Why? A Snyder staffer gave us this emailed answer:
"The flags are lowered when the family of the fallen service member wishes to have it done. That information had not yet been conveyed to our team in the governor's office...unfortunately, we can't issue a statewide flag notice at this time."
But when local veterans heard the response from Lansing, they were appalled.
The family has enough to do with their own taking care of their own, and the government should automatically look to take care of these veterans, said Vietnam veteran, James Feliciano.
Feliciano said the government's failure to lower the flags brings back sour memories.
When we came back in the '60s and '70s, we got no respect. The people called us ~baby killers TM and everything else, and now we try to turn that around and give our veterans all the respect that they can get and then some, and then for the governor to not give the order to lower the flags for this soldier who died in combat, that's pretty bad."
Even more frustrating? The fact that flags were ordered to be lowered less than week ago for a fallen soldier from downstate? Keith Swenor posted on Facebook, Once again, the U.P. gets the shaft. We are the left out part of the state!
Late Tuesday afternoon, we received word from Snyder's office that a date has been set to lower Michigan flags in honor of Specialist Voakes. The family decided on Monday, June 20, just one day after Voakes was slated to return home.