Whitney Houston: Hero or Villain?

By Ralph Hipp

Any mention of tomorrow's flag-lowering in honor of Whitney Houston in New Jersey sets off a wave of comments on our Facebook pages here in Northeast Kansas, about whether this is a tribute deserving of an entertainer.

An entertainer with her past of battling demons of ingesting large amounts of drugs, and losing most of her $100 million fortune to it.  All this despite truly being one of the most remarkable voices of our previous generation.

Traditionally in Kansas, flags are flown at half-staff to honor any member of the military who dies in combat.  That automatically includes any Kansas National Guard member killed in a combat operation.  A large majority of our comments include the opinion that lowering the stars and stripes to half-staff should only be done to honor those we've lost in battle.

It's also a tribute to honor any person who's served here in the Capitol, dipped in tribute to a governor, senator or representative upon their passing.  The Governor just last Saturday requested flags be lowered to mark the passing of 104-year old Federal Judge Wesley Brown.

Now back to Whitney Houston.  It is their state, not ours.  Does she deserve this honor as one of the world's most talented singers?  One would only have to go back to 1998 to see if flags were lowered after Frank Sinatra's death.. he's from Hoboken, and had plenty of his own problems as you remember.  If they did it for him, there would be a precedent for what Governor Christie's doing this weekend.  Let us know your thoughts about it, Kansas!

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