Half mast

laelene Post in general blog,Tags: , , , ,

I’ve often wondered: Is there some sort of information site that tells you when a flag should be half mast?

american flag billowing at half mast in front of police stationI mean, there are the standard holidays every year that people know about – Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, and now Patriot Day. But sometimes you get the unexpected, like most recently with the shootings at the Washington Navy Yard. There was one time I remember someone important in politics died (and the reason I knew was because the flag at my post office was at half mast and I wanted to know why).

So how do all the public institutions and businesses ranging from office buildings to plazas to fast food joints know when to raise the flag? Do they check on a website? Back before the WWW came about, did they each have to call in to some pre-recorded line? I mean, this is something that fascinates me because it’s ubiquitous across America. You’ll see flagpoles all over the place, and if you fly a flag, I think you should be respectful enough to pay attention to when it should be lowered. Nowadays with the internet it’s easy to get the word out, but I’m curious how this age-old tradition was managed in decades past.

I don’t know why it intrigues me so much – perhaps just the logistics of effective communication baffling me – but I think it’s pretty amazing no matter how they do it. It takes a concerted effort to pull off something like that, yet to most people it’s probably you never think twice about. I just love how it works so well behind the scenes day in and day out. To all those who are the flag-raisers, thank you for doing what you do.

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