Ask McFartnuggets: “Why Do People Put a Flag at Half Mast After a Tragedy? Why Not Lower?”

Dear McFartnuggets: 
A police officer in my town died yesterday and they brought the flag at town hall down to half-mast. Why do people put flags at half mast after a tragedy or someone dying? If it’s a show of respect to lower the flag then why not lower it all the way to the bottom or just take the damn thing off entirely? If you’re at a funeral it’s still wrong to get half a boner. I guess what I’m asking is why are we afraid to show our flag at full height after something bad happened? -- Babs from Chickasaw County, Mississippi

Dear Babs:
Putting a flag at half mast after a tragedy is a traditional sign of mourning and respect for the dead. If someone died and you left the flag up then it could be seen as no one cares because it’s regular flag business as usual. Lowering the flag acknowledges what happened while still showing the flag because we can’t just pull the flag off the flagpole. That could imply cowardice and also it’s too much work. Obviously you can’t lower it to a quarter mast or fifth mast because that’s just too low. That’s a really flaccid flag and no one wants to see that. Half hard is the way to go when it comes to flag height communicating sorrow.

Flags are in many ways a reflection of ourselves, blowing in the wind of life.
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