Gov. DeSantis orders state flag at half-staff to honor Col. Joe Kittinger

Kittinger died Dec. 9, 2022

ORLANDO, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis has ordered three state buildings to lower the Florida state flag at half-staff to honor the memory and military service of Col. Joseph Kittinger, according to a release sent out on Friday.

The flag will be flown at half-staff position at the Seminole County Courthouse, Altamonte Springs City Hall and the Florida State Capitol building in Tallahassee. The flag will be lowered between the top and bottom of the flag pole, from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, Jan. 28.

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Flags are flown at half-staff to commemorate prominent citizens or government officials who have died.

Kittinger was a war veteran and an aerospace trailblazer, making history by skydiving from space in 1960. The pioneer’s jump from a helium balloon 102,800 feet above Earth played a pivotal role in the space program.

The jump not only helped send Americans into space but also helped scientists understand how humans can function at such high elevations.

In 1984, Kittinger also made a world record for being the first man to cross the Atlantic Ocean solo in a gas balloon. His jump in 1960 also set a record for highest skydive.

Kittinger served three tours in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War as a fighter pilot before retiring in 1978 as a colonel. During his 29 years of service, he spent 11 months as a prisoner of war in a North Vietnamese prison.

He died on Dec. 9 of last year, at age 94.

Kittinger also received various military awards for his service, such as two Silver Stars, two Purple Hearts and a Prisoner of War award.

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