Ours is a sentimental age, when reserve and self-control are seen as callousness, and when sincerity is measured by public emotion and not actual deeds.
The pop psychologists and grief counsellors who swoop down like vultures on every tragic event and fatal misfortune treat people as though they are too fragile to deal with life's most unpleasant realities.
It is also an age when symbolism is much abused and misunderstood.
Flying the flag at half-staff every time a soldier is killed is a terrible signal to send to our enemies and people at home. It is a sign of mourning when what is needed is strength and defiance.
Had the same misguided policy been in effect during the World Wars and Korea, our flags would never have flown full-staff for the duration of the conflict.
Our enemies then would have seized upon it in their propaganda as proof of our unwillingness to fight.
Our pacifists would have delighted in such a public admission of futility.
There will be a time for national mourning for the fallen, but it is not now, not when the mission remains to be accomplished.
Keep the flags flying high!
LINK: Babbling Brooks makes the same point even more effectively than I could.