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After delay, White House lowers flags to honor Boston victims

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President Obama Tuesday morning ordered American flags at the White House, federal buildings and grounds, as well as military facilities to be lowered to half-staff late to recognize the explosions in Boston, but only after the flags flying at full staff in the nation’s capital Tuesday morning set off a viral stream of commentary on Twitter.

Tourists and workers making their way into D.C. Tuesday morning saw conflicting messages about the Boston tragedy. A flag flying over the House side of the U.S. Capitol was lowered while others at federal buildings, the Washington Monument and the White House remained at full height.

The White House did not immediately respond to a question about Mr. Obama’s delay in ordering flags to be flown at half-staff Tuesday morning.

Upon arriving at work Tuesday morning, several members of the White House press corps began tweeting that the White House flag was still at full staff. Roughly an hour later, at 10:45 a.m., the White House issued a proclamation ordering flags on all government buildings and facilities to be flown at half-staff.

The afternoon of Dec. 14 after the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Mr. Obama ordered flags at the White House and all federal and military facilities to be flown at half-staff.

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About the Author

Susan Crabtree

Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at

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