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Christie doesn't waver on Houston flag flap

GLENN TOWNES Special to the AmNews | 2/24/2012, 11:29 a.m.
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Despite vehement criticism and caustic comments from people across the state, Republican Gov. Chris Christie stood firm on his decision to have flags flown at half-staff at all state government buildings last Saturday in honor of the late entertainer Whitney Houston.

Opponents of the ceremonial tribute said the honor of having state flags lowered should be reserved for military heroes and other dignitaries who died for the country, not an entertainer with a laundry list of personal problems.

However, Christie dismissed the back-lash and called Houston a "cultural icon," lauding her incredible musical accomplishments. He added, "She was a great source of pride for the people of the state."

Since taking office in January 2010, Christie has ordered state flags be flown at half-staff at least two dozen times, not always in honor of fallen military personnel.

Christie, along with Newark Mayor Cory Booker, was among hundreds of attendees at the funeral for Houston on Saturday afternoon at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark.

The nearly four-hour live telecast was broadcast on more than a dozen metro area television stations and on several major radio stations.

In a related matter, the New Jersey cemetery where the pop icon was laid to rest on Sunday--Fairview Cemetery in Westfield--was re-opened to the general public on Monday.

In a brief statement to the press, a spokesperson for the facility said the cemetery is open to the public; however, visitors must remain respectful while visiting the memorial grounds.

Houston was laid to rest next to her father.