The President’s proclamation inspires the MLB to fly flags at half-staff.
On Friday, September 15, MLB commissioner Bud Selig asked all major league clubs to fly their flags at half-staff until sunset on Sunday in order to support the government response as the nation mourns the slaying of four Americans last week in Libya. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, and Air Force veteran Sean Smith were killed in an attack on a diplomatic mission in Benghazi on the eleventh anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Their bodies were returned to American soil on Friday.
President Obama also issued a proclamation ordering the flag at the White House and all public buildings to fly their flags at half-staff. Private businesses are not bound by the order; however, Selig took his own action Friday to illustrate baseball’s support of the President’s request.
The Minnesota Twins kicked off a home-stand weekend series with the White Sox at Target Field where three flagpoles in right field—bearing the flags of Hennepin County, the U.S. and prisoners of war and Twins Territory—all lowered their flags to half-staff to join as the MLB mourns Libya victims.
In addition to the flags, the Yankees conducted a moment of silence prior to the first pitch Friday against the Tampa Bay Rays, in order to allow all their fans to pay their respects. Across the country, similar displays crossed many other stadiums and parks, however, one baseball club outside the U.S. boarders was left out. The Red Sox played at the Toronto Blue Jays, whose park has flagpoles attached to the roof and cannot be lowered.
“The United States condemns in the strongest terms this outrageous and shocking attack,” Obama said in a statement in the White House Rose Garden. “Make no mistake, we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people.”
The President held a formal ceremony on Friday in a hangar at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., where he addressed all four men as patriots who loved their country, chose to serve it and served it well. Obama went on further to say, “They didn’t simply embrace the American ideal, they lived it, they embodied it: the courage, the hope, and, yes, the idealism. The fundamental American belief that we can leave this world a little better than before.”