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Check Six: 21-Gun Salutes

May 25, 2020
Hawaii National Guard photograph

From the Images of Old Hawaii website

The tradition of rendering a salute by cannon originated in the 14th century as firearms and cannons came into use. Since these early devices contained only one projectile, discharging them rendered them harmless. Initially, the tradition began as a custom among ships, whose captains had volleys fired upon entering a friendly port to release its arsenal, which demonstrated their peaceful intentions (by placing their weapons in a position that rendered them ineffective). 

This custom was eventually adopted by the British navy whose ships fired seven-gun salutes, choosing the number seven because it was thought to be the luckiest of the odd numbers.

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From → History

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