Clark declines to lower flag for Mandela’s death

COUNTY — The flag flying over the Pickens County Sheriff’s Department flew high Sunday despite an order by President Barack Obama that flags across the country be lowered to half-staff in honor of South African leader Nelson Mandela, who passed away Thursday.

Pickens County Sheriff Rick Clark expressed admiration for Mandela but said he felt the honor of having the flag flown at half-staff should be reserved for Americans.

“”Mr. Mandela did great things for his country and was a brave man, but we need to reserve that right for those people that made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and the flag,” Clark told the Courier.

Mandela, a former president of South Africa, served more than 27 years in prison after fighting the country’s apartheid government. In 1993, he won a Nobel Peace Prize.