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Flags lowered for two Michigan men killed in Iraq

Feb. 27, 2007

KALAMAZOO--By order of Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm, U.S. flags on all campuses of Western Michigan University and throughout Michigan will be lowered Wednesday, Feb. 28, and Thursday, March 1, in honor of two Michigan men killed while on active duty in Iraq.

Wednesday, Feb 28, flags will be lower to honor Marine Pvt. First Class Brett A. Witteveen of Shelby, Mich. Private Witteveen, age 20, died Feb. 19 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to the Marine Force Reserve's 1st Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Thursday, March 1, flags will be lowered to honor Army Pvt. First Class Justin T. Paton of Alanson, Mich. Pvt. Paton, age 24, died Feb. 17 when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small arms fire in Taramia, Iraq. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

In December 2003, Gov. Granholm issued a proclamation requiring U.S. flags to be lowered to half-staff throughout the state of Michigan and on Michigan waters to honor Michigan servicemen and servicewomen killed in the line of duty.

Michigan was among the earlier states to honor its fallen sons and daughters by lowering flags. More than 16 states now follow the practice in some form, including Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, South Dakota, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

Media contact: Thom Myers, (269) 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

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