After announcing his intention Tuesday of ordering flags flown at half-staff to mark the death of New Jerseyan Whitney Houston, Christie has signed an executive order doing just that. (Flags will be lowered Friday, not Saturday as previously reported.)
Christie is standing by his decision despite the unexpected controversy that it has brought. A Philly.com poll shows tremendous opposition to the move, and the number of comments on my last blog post broke a Christie Chronicles record. (Also, my voicemail is blowing up.)
It should be noted that Christie also issued an executive order Thursday that orders state buildings to fly flags at half-staff next Tuesday to "honor the service and sacrifice of United States Marine Lance Corporal Osbrany Montes De Oca," a North Jersey native who "tragically lost his life while supporting combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan."
Here's the text of Executive Order No. 87:
WHEREAS, Whitney Houston was a gifted singer, remarkable performer, and iconic figure who left an indelible mark upon the popular music landscape in the State of New Jersey and across our Nation; and
WHEREAS, Whitney Houston was born in Newark, New Jersey on August 9, 1963, and was raised in East Orange, New Jersey; and
WHEREAS, Whitney Houston, at a young age, began singing at Newark’s New Hope Baptist Church, where her mother, also a Grammy winning artist, led the music program for many years; and
WHEREAS, Whitney Houston passed away in Beverly Hills, California on February 11, 2012, at the age of 48; and
WHEREAS, Whitney Houston’s vibrant and spectacular voice endeared her to countless fans in New Jersey, across the nation, and around the world, and has enriched the lives of fans of many different genres of music, including pop and rhythm and blues; and
WHEREAS, Whitney Houston’s considerable musical talent and unique voice contributed to her recording success, which included more than 170 million combined albums, singles, and videos sold worldwide during her career, as well as two albums that sold more than 10 million copies in the United States alone: her 1985 debut album, “Whitney Houston,” and the 1992 soundtrack to “The Bodyguard”; and
WHEREAS, Whitney Houston charted seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits and seven consecutive multi-platinum albums, and her second album, “Whitney,” released in 1987, became the first album by a woman to enter the Billboard charts at No. 1; and
WHEREAS, her recording success in the music industry led her to appear in numerous feature films, including “The Bodyguard,” “Waiting to Exhale,” and “The Preacher’s Wife”; and
WHEREAS, having enriched the lives of so many people during her musical and entertainment career, Whitney Houston left a legacy in this State that will be cherished for many years; and
WHEREAS, through her accomplishments and achievements in the entertainment industry and her contributions to the cultural identity of New Jersey, Whitney Houston made New Jersey a better place; and
WHEREAS, it is with deep sadness that we mourn the loss of Whitney Houston and extend our sincere sympathy to her family, friends, and countless fans; and
WHEREAS, it is appropriate to recognize the achievements and contributions, to honor the memory, and to mark the passing of Whitney Houston;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, CHRIS CHRISTIE, Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:
1. The flag of the United States of America and the flag of the State of New Jersey shall be flown at half-staff at all State departments, offices, agencies, and instrumentalities during appropriate hours on Friday, February 17, 2012, in recognition and mourning of the passing of Whitney Houston.
2. This Order shall take effect immediately.
GIVEN, under my hand and seal this 15th day of February, Two Thousand and Twelve, and of the Independence of the United States, the Two Hundred and Thirty-Sixth.
Chris Christie, Governor
Charles B. McKenna, Chief Counsel to the Governor