Seems like flags flying half-staff is almost a regular occurrence these days. Like the steady onslaught of waves crashing into the beach, there seems to be an uncontrollable regularity to such disasters as the recent mass shootings.

Half-staff refers to a flag flying below the summit of a ship mast, a pole on land, or a pole on a building. This is seen as a symbol of mourning, distress, respect and, in some cases, a salute. The half-staff position of our flag has come to have great meaning, though the origins of this tradition are difficult to nail down.  

Many historians believe that a British expedition to Canada in 1612 was when it started. The captain, James Hall, was killed by an Inuit spear, and the crew lowered the flag to half-staff as a sign of respect for their deceased captain.

The proper procedure for flying a flag half-staff is to raise the flag to its highest position at sunrise, and then lower the flag to a half-staff position. At sunset, the flag should once again be raised to its highest position, then lowered and taken off.  

I am writing this on Memorial Day, which is a half-staff holiday. Obviously, it is done to honor all our fallen soldiers over our past. Memorial Day is the day that my dad had a fatal stroke 11 years ago. I cannot believe that it has been 11 years. Let’s try and respect the half-staff positions of our flags, no matter how frequently we seem to be doing it. 


God bless you all, RHM.