On Tuesday, February 23 the City of Gulfport lowered public flags to half staff, a gesture that commemorated the 500,000 American lives lost from COVID-19 as well as recently deceased Pinellas County Deputy Michael Magli.
Magli was killed while trying to stop a drunk driver in a high speed chase on Wednesday, February 17.
“The city also made a call to the public to encourage private citizens to lower their flags in solidarity,” said Justin Shea, Gulfport Cultural Facilities Events Supervisor.
However, there has been some confusion among Gulfport residents about the reasoning.
Many citizens took to Facebook, concerned that the flags had been lowered for ultra-conservative radio personality Rush Limbaugh, who recently passed away at the age of 70. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who was a friend of Limbaugh’s, announced last week that he would order flags in the state lowered for him.
“There were concerns that the city lowered flags for radio commentator Rush Limbaugh – we did not,” City Manager Jim O’Reilly said. “This is to honor the proclamation from President Biden and Micheal Magli’s funeral.”
The flags will fly at half mast until sunset on Friday, February 26.
“If it was for Rush, I would simply not participate,” said Councilmember Paul Ray. “I would be completely opposed to that. But it’s simply not true.”