SOURCE: News release from Office of Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb
INDIANAPOLIS – Governor Eric J. Holcomb is directing flags statewide to be flown at half-staff to honor former Governor Joe Kernan.
Flags should be flown at half-staff from now until sunset on Wednesday, August 5.
Gov. Holcomb also asks businesses and residents across the state to lower their flags to half-staff to honor former Gov. Kernan and his service.
Kernan died Wednesday morning at the age of 74 after a long illness. He served three terms as mayor of South Bend and began serving as Indiana’s Lieutenant Governor in 1997. Kernan served as Indiana’s 48th governor from 2003 to 2005, after the death of Governor Frank O’Bannon.
Statement from Governor Holcomb:
“Indiana mourns the loss of Joe Kernan, a bona fide American hero, decorated Navy officer, and truly selfless statesman who always placed the interests of his fellow Hoosiers first.
Distinguished isn’t a strong enough word to describe him. Without regard for personal cost, Joe Kernan devoted every ounce of his life, time and again, to upholding the oath he took, and serving the country and state he loved.
Undeterred after being shot down and tortured in Vietnam, he returned and led his beloved City of South Bend as mayor for three terms, and our state as our 47th lieutenant governor. When duty called him to step into a role he didn’t seek, he served as our 48th governor.
Through his decades of servant leadership and sacrifice, Joe Kernan modeled all the best of what it means to be a Hoosier and his legacy will continue to live on in each of us whom he inspired.
Janet and I ask Hoosiers across our state to join us in lifting up in prayer Mrs. Kernan, their incredible family, and all whose lives he touched.”
Statement from Indiana Senate Democratic Caucus
“It is with great sadness that we have learned of the death of former Governor Joe Kernan. Joe was a true patriot who also was the shining example of a public servant. Service is what immediately comes to mind when we think of Joe: a veteran who endured the rigors and cruelty of being a prisoner of war, and a trusted official as the mayor of South Bend and both lieutenant governor and governor of our state. As lieutenant governor, he was a beloved member of our Indiana Senate family, presiding over the chamber with grace, dignity and always with that famous twinkle in his eye.
“Governor Kernan was a true American hero who touched the lives of so many, in the Hoosier state and beyond. Joe lived his life with humility and was always ready to go to bat for what was right. We truly lost one of our best champions today.
“Joe will always have a fond place in our hearts and in the halls of Hoosier history. Our most heartfelt sympathies go out to Maggie and all who are so proud and grateful to have known Joe Kernan. Today, as we remember his legacy, we ask that all Hoosiers keep Mrs. Kernan and the whole family in their thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”