Why are there twenty one guns in a twenty one gun salute?
Why twenty one? What is the significance in the number of guns? Would a five gun salute have the same meaning?
If my recollection is correct, the 21-gun salute is a universal salute that was installed by the British in either the 17th or 18th Century.
And the reason behind that was nations with large and powerful military forces would frequently show up nations with small military forces by having 100-gun or even 1000-gun salutes.
So to "level the playing field," the British installed the 21-gun salute as a tradition to be followed by all nations. And the U.S. adopted the tradition sometime in the 1800s.
You can find a great discussion of this subject if you look for "history of 21-gun salute" in a search engine...
And, NO, a 5 gun-salute would be, say, for someone who brushed his teeth every day... NOT for someone who did something heroic!!!!!
It actually goes back to when ships in Britain would only fire 7 guns from the ship as a salute while the fort on shore would fire 3 shots for each time the ship fired their 7 guns. It was a form of respect and we ended up adopting it.
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