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This past Monday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie ordered flags in the state to be lowered in honor of late Sopranos star James Gandolfini, who died suddenly last week of a heart attack at age 51.


Now I must admit, I was an avid Sopranos watcher. His show is still one of the most beloved of all time. GandolPhoto: pastemagazine.comfini is a Jersey native who graduated from Rutgers.  I get it.


But I don’t get why flags have to be lowered for him.


I said the same thing last year in regards to Whitney Houston’s passing last year. Now sure, Houston’s track record was way spottier than Gandolfini’s, but it has nothing to do with how these celebrities died.


What about police officers killed in the line of duty? What about all the soldiers who’ve lost their lives over the last ten years fighting a war that we still primarily don’t know the main reason why we were even fighting. What about public officials who are trying to make a difference in the community or beyond. That right should be truly reserved for them. Personally, I think this cheapens this honor. Stepping in front of a microphone or camera and memorizing lines doesn’t warrant such a prestigious honor.

And as great an entertainer as he was, chances are Gandolfini would agree.


Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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James Gandolfini photo: pastemagazine.com