Flags flown at military cemeteries

Discussion in 'Half Mast / Half Staff' started by Union Jack, Dec 28, 2016.

  1. Union Jack

    Union Jack Member

    Just before Christmas I visited the American war cemetery in Normandy. Although it wasn't my first visit I'm always moved by the scale and solemnity of the resting place of so many young men. Across the north of France there are hundreds of war cemeteries that cover both the World Wars and the poor souls that came from near and far and found their final resting place. One thing that has puzzled me is why the various nations flags are never flown at half staff/mast. Surely if we are honouring the fallen the nations flags should be flown as it would be if it were a deceased national dignitary. Can anybody explain why?

    UJ
     
  2. Union Jack

    Union Jack Member

    It's a pity that nobody can shed any light on my question as to why national flags are flown at full staff at military cemeteries. I have tried to access various web sites to answer my curiosity but have not come across any conclusive results. My own theory, (and this is my own theory) is that the fallen are not really dead but are a representation of their respective nations and this still are alive. Would appreciate some feedback because it's really bugging me.
    UJ
     
  3. FlagAdvocate

    FlagAdvocate Member

    Hello Union Jack....Since I am not able to give you the answer you are looking for (except the obvious § 7(m) of the US Flag Code), I suggest you ask the American Legion's flag expert, Michael Buss. If any one can help you, Mike just might be able to. His email is mbuss@legion.org
     
  4. Union Jack

    Union Jack Member

    Cheers FlagAdvocate for replying and the email link.
    UJ
     
  5. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    .....
    My opinion?

    The National Flags flying at all those "Military Cemeteries" (National & International) are representing their respective countries and not the service men & women buried there. Although the service members have "fallen" and are buried in "Hallowed Ground", the Nations they served are still "standing".

    I see it as something similar to the old American "tradition" ("Flag Code") carried out on Memorial Day where the National (American) Flag is at first flown at Half-Staff in the morning to honor, commemorate, and represent ALL the American Soldiers & Sailors who died during the American Civil War. Then, at 12:00 PM (Noon), the Flags are all raised back up to Full-Staff to represent that "The Union" of the United States of America is still whole and standing tall.

    But that's just MY personal opinion, of course.

    Robin Hickman
    "Your Friendly Neighborhood Flag Man"
    Eugene, Oregon, USA.
    .....
     
  6. Union Jack

    Union Jack Member

    Indeed Robin that was my interpretation. I always find it fascinating that when I visited the American cemetery adjacent to Omaha Beach that I am technically on American soil. If I want to go to Canada I can visit Vimy Ridge and Australia Pozierres which are both located in Picardy.

    UJ
     
  7. FlagAdvocate

    FlagAdvocate Member

    Good discussion Robin & Union Jack.
    Robin I didn't realize that lowering the US flag to half-staff on Memorial Day morning originally was symbolic of honoring all combatants who died in the American Civil War. Today, we veterans consider that half-staff event to be in honor of all American service personnel who have ever died serving this great nation. But to Union Jack's original question: "Why are flags never flown at half-staff at military cemeteries (particularly at the American military cemetery in Normandy, France)?

    There is no more heartfelt and solemn sight than the American flag at half-staff signifying the entire nation or state or locality in mourning for the death of an elected or appointed official or serviceman or woman. This honor or tribute, however, typically has a specified time frame to mourn and then we move on to a full-staff flag display. § 7 (m) of the US Flag Code identifies a range of mourning periods for "principal figures", and the President or a State Governor may order the flag lowered in tribute for a short period, usually until sunset on the day of interment. The point being, mourning periods are not long term or forever, especially at historic military cemeteries where interment has taken place many years ago. Even at Arlington National Cemetery, the Stars & Stripes are lowered to half-staff one half hour before a scheduled interment and returned to full-staff one half hour after each interment. This is not to say that there is no military cemetery at which the American flag is displayed at half-staff. I do know that at the Fort Mackinac Post Cemetery on Mackinac Island, the American flag has been traditionally set at half-staff by the Scouting organizations who visit each year and tend to all the flags on Mackinac Island.

    Bill Jameson
    Vet & Flag Advocate
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2017
  8. Union Jack

    Union Jack Member

    It's interesting to discuss the formalities of flag protocols and especially when it touches upon the gravity of our fallen warriors. I guess we all have our own interpretation on just how a flag is so important to represent our own personal involvement and, to a greater extent, the national identity. I will always hoist my beloved flags whenever it befits the occasion.

    UJ
     

Share This Page