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Fact of the Day
The first flag poles to be tall enough and hoist-able were found on ships. On land, most flag poles of the time were human sized or simply mounted on structures with no way of lowering the flag for repair or for symbolic reasons. Said to have come from the early 1600s off the coast of Canada, flying a flag at half-mast for those who have passed had to do with an atypical ship. Resting and mourning on a ship is atypical in and of itself with all of the riggings and other tasks to be done every so often. The sign of respect was making the ship noticeably neglected. A source states it best, saying that flying flags at half-mast and the practice of dragging ropes and other things was simply to not appear to be in "ship-shape"; to not really do anything but mourn.
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