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Final Honors - Firing Party

A myth common in the United States relative to the origin of this tradition is that the year 1776 inspired the 21-gun salute because the sum of the digits in 1776 is 21 (i.e., 1+7+7+6 = 21). However, this is not true. Beginning in the colonial period, the United States fired one shot for each state in the Union as its national salute. This practice was partly a result of usage, because John Paul Jones saluted France with 13 guns at Quiberon Bay in 1778 when the Stars and Stripes received its first salute. The practice was not officially authorized until 1810, when the United States Department of War declared the "national salute" to be equal to the number of states, which was 17 at the time. This was continued until 1841 when the "national salute" was reduced from 26 to 21.

Constitution renders a 21-gun salute to Fort Independence during her Independence Day turnaround cruise.In 18

Added: Jan-19-2009 
By: Guvnor
Tags: final honors, military funeral, gun party, fallen soldiers, military tradition, 21 gun salute
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