Andrew, a little extremely:
Here’s a story to cheer you up:
L.F. Eason III gave up the only job he’d ever had rather than lower a flag to honor former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms. Eason, a 29-year veteran of the state Department of Agriculture, instructed his staff at a small Raleigh lab not to fly the U.S. or North Carolina flags at half-staff Monday, as called for in a directive to all state agencies by Gov. Mike Easley [my emphasis!]. When a superior ordered the lab to follow the directive, Eason decided to retire rather than pay tribute to Helms. After several hours’ delay, one of Eason’s employees hung the flags at half-staff.
Bad news: other than POTUS, only the governor of the state may order the flag to be at half staff to honor the death of a national or state figure. Indeed, Gov. Easley was simply carrying out the duties of his own office. The flag is to be flown at half staff the day, and the day after, a Senator or Representative dies. Bone up on your flag honor code here.