Our flags seem perpetually at half-staff. They came halfway down in honor of the Atlanta shooting victims, and for when we crossed the somber total of an estimated 500,000 Americans who died with coronavirus. They were lowered in honor of U.S. Capitol Police Officer William “Billy” Evans, in honor of the Boulder, Colorado shooting victims, and in honor of the Indianapolis shooting victims. They fell for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Chadwick Boseman.
Perhaps some of these memorial actions are warranted — certainly, it is proper to have some form of public memorialization for the dead. Yet the constant churn of half-staff tributes has become so routine that it has lost its honorary lustre, an action more representative of performative, activist art than a recognition of some especially important public loss.
Indeed, an op-ed in Harvard University’s student newspaper has argued that our flags be kept at half-staff in perpetuity. “We need to stop the continuous cycle of shootings