The n-Gun Salute
These original Kirt's Cogitations™ may be reproduced (no more than
5, please) provided proper credit is given to me, Kirt Blattenberger.
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Cog·i·ta·tion [koj-i-tey'-shun] – noun: Concerted thought or
reflection; meditation; contemplation.
Kirt [kert] – proper noun: RF Cafe webmaster.
From whence came the
21-gun salute? The origin of gun salutes is usually attributed to soldiers
or other armed types demonstrating peaceful intentions by placing their
weapons in a position that rendered them ineffective. As cannons and
small arms came into use, a good way to "render them ineffective," thereby
demonstrating peaceful intentions, was to fire them since reloading
took a lot of time. At sea, seven shots became the norm. On land, gunpowder
was more plentiful, and three guns could be fired for every one shot
from a ship, so a salute from a ship of seven guns would be answered
by a salute from the shore batteries of 21 guns. For a full-honor funeral
at Arlington, a President gets 21 guns. A secretary of defense, chairman
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or other military officer given command
over multiple branches of the service receives 19. 17 guns are fired
for a four-star general, 15 for a three-star, 13 for a two-star, 11
for a one-star.