It is known internationally that half-staff, or half-mast, is a symbol of respect, mourning or distress. The half-staff days in the United States can be on scheduled dates or during impromptu national events. But what about half-staff flag days in other countries throughout the world? When do other countries lower their flag to half-staff? Why do they do it?
Most countries, including the United States, lower their flags during the death of a government official, historical event, national holiday, or national tragedy. Here are some other dates in which foreign countries lower their flags to half-staff.
- April 25 – Anzac Day
- National Remembrance Day in Australia.
- November 11 – Remembrance Day
- A memorial day to remember World War I military members – observed in Commonwealth countries.
- On the death of a distinguished Australian citizen. Recent examples are: Crocodile Hunter Steve Erwin, and actor Heath Ledger.
- April 9 – Vimy Ridge Day. A day to remember the Canadian Corps during World War I.
- April 28 – A day of mourning for people injured or killed in the workplace.
- June 23 – National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism.
- December 6 – National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women.
- January 27 – Day of Remembrance for the Victims of National Socialism
- 33rd Sunday of the year – National Day of Mourning
- The 27th of either April/May – Holocaust Remembrance Day
- Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day (rotating date)
- June 22 – Reminder of the German invasion of the USSR during World War II.
There has been some controversy in the past over which flags and when flags in the United Kingdom should be flown at half-staff. The Royal Standard flag is never flown at half-staff because there is always a living monarch.
In the UK, the correct way to fly a flag at “half-mast” is two thirds between the bottom and top of the flagstaff. There are no set dates in which the United Kingdom flag should be flown at half-staff, but a half-staff day can be at any time upon command of the government.
It is worth noting that the dates listed above are only notable dates, they do not reflect every date that each national flag should be flown at half-staff.