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Legacy Lockers | When to Fly the Flag at Half Mast

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Legacy Lockers is an American company, proud of our country and its traditions.  Flying the American flag is one way of expressing national pride, but knowing when to lower it to half-mast is a good way to show respect and honor. But where did the tradition of the half-mast flag originate? How does one know when and for how long they should fly their flag at half-mast?

The half-staff tradition is actually older than the United States itself. The oldest commonly recognized occurrence of a flag flying at half-mast in mourning happened in 1612, aboard the British ship Heart’s East to mourn the death of its captain. Legend is, the sailors moved the flag down the pole to make room for an invisible “flag of death” to fly above it. That’s why, even now, flags at half-mast are actually just low enough for another flag to fly above them.

In the U.S., we have very specific rules about flying the flag at half-mast. When a current or former president dies, the flag is lowered for 30 days, while the death of the current vice president, speaker of the house or chief justice of the Supreme Court warrants a half-staff flag for ten days. Flags are also flown at half-mast from the day of death until the day of internment for associate Supreme Court justices, former vice presidents, cabinet secretaries and state governors, and the death of a member of Congress lowers the flag for that day and the next.

The president has some power over how we fly the flags and can make an executive order to lower the staff after a tragic event or the passing of someone important. President Bush, for example, lowered the flags after the events of September 11, and then later for the Indian Ocean earthquake and subsequent tsunamis. There are some days when the flag should always be flown at half-staff. These include Patriot Day, Peace Officers Memorial Day and Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. The flag flies at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day.

If you intend to lower your flag, be aware that you can’t just put it up at half-mast. Rather, you have to raise it to the top of the flag pole, and then bring it back down. If your flag is the type that can’t be lowered, you can still show honor by tying a black ribbon to the top of the flagpole, to symbolize mourning.

If you’re looking for a company that believes in American values, a strong work ethic and quality workmanship, Legacy Lockers is just what you need. Legacy Lockers not only offers high quality wooden lockers and locker room furniture, but also provides exceptional customer service. Follow Legacy for more news about lockers and locker rooms, as well as updates and blog posts, by liking us on Facebook or following us on Twitter. Visit the website for a free estimate or to learn what Legacy Lockers can do for you.

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