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Why Is The Flag At Half Mast? Significance Of The Protocol

why is the flag at half mast

The term “half-mast” is used in British, Canadian, and Australian English, whereas the term “half-staff” is used in American English. These terms refer to a flag that is flown below the summit of a ship mast, a pole on land, or a pole on a structure.

In a great number of nations, this gesture is interpreted as a sign of respect, grief, or distress; in other instances, it may be interpreted as a salute.

In the majority of English-speaking countries, the term “half-mast” is used in all situations. In the United States of America, this expression is only used to refer to the flags that are displayed at half-staff on land.

In the 17th century, the custom of flying the flag at a height of half-mast was first established. The flag is lowered, so that space can be made for what some sources refer to as a “invisible flag of death” that will fly overhead.

On the other hand, there is a lot of debate regarding where exactly on a flagpole a flag should be when it is lowered to half-mast. When flying a flag at half-mast, it is common practise to lower it just to the extent that the hoist, or width, of the flag allows.

According to British flag protocol, a flag should be flown at a height that is not less than two-thirds of the way up the flagpole, and there should be a distance of at least the height of the flag between the top of the flag and the top of the pole.

It is quite typical for the term to be taken literally, which results in a flag being flown just halfway up a flagpole, despite the fact that various authorities frown upon this practise.

In spite of the term, according to British tradition, a flag should be flown no lower than two-thirds of the way up the flagpole, with at least the height of another flag placed between the top of the flag and the top of the pole.

The method was first utilised in the 17th century. There is speculation in certain quarters that the flag is lowered to make way for an “invisible flag of death” to fly above.

The Royal Standard, which represents the British monarchy and is the only official flag that is never flown at half mast, is the only flag that is never lowered. This is due to the fact that the title of monarch automatically goes to the next sovereign in line for succession whenever a royal dies.

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Why Were Flags At Half-Mast On 4th August?

The President issued an order on August 4 to have the flags at the White House flown at half-staff through Thursday in honours of Indiana Representative Jackie Walorski and the other three deaths involved in the vehicle incident early Wednesday afternoon.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a similar order, directing that flags at the US Capitol be lowered to half-staff.

Biden stated in a statement about the deceased lawmaker, “We may have represented different parties and disagreed on many topics, but she was revered by members of both parties for her work on the House Ways and Means Committee on which she served.”

Continued with, “We send our deepest condolences to her husband, Dean, to the families of her staff members, Zachery Potts and Emma Thomson, who lost their lives in public service, and to the people of Indiana’s Second District who lost a representative who was one of their own,” he said. “Zachery Potts and Emma Thomson lost their lives in public service.”

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The Mourning Period For The Queen

The day after the formal period of Royal Mourning, flags at royal residences will be flying at half-mast until 8 a.m. The time frame will be in effect from now until seven days following The Queen’s State Funeral, as per The King’s instructions.

But it appears to many that flags ought to be flown at half-mast until 8 AM the day following the funeral. Through a programme known as Operation London Bridge, the Royal Family has been preparing for the Queen’s passing since the 1960s. The minutes, hours, and days that come after her passing are predetermined by the plan.

Internally, the day the Queen passed away is referred to as “D-Day,” and the days that follow are “D-Day+1,” “D-Day+2,” and so on. Her funeral will take place on D-Day+10, a day of national grief.

Up until and on the day of the funeral, flags will be flown at half-staff. According to Operation London Bridge, an additional day of mourning will not be permitted if the funeral occurs on a weekend or another bank holiday.

Westminster Abbey, which can accommodate 2,000 mourners, will host the Queen’s formal funeral. She will be transported to the abbey on a gun carriage, pulled by sailors on ropes as opposed to horses.

Senior family members are anticipated to trail after, just as they did for the funerals of Diana, Princess of Wales, and the Duke of Edinburgh.

Senior representatives from the UK and the 15 other governments where the Queen served as head of state will attend the funeral together with the majority of the Royal Family. A national two-minute silence will be observed at noon.

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