Donald Trump wanted an elaborate sendoff as he left Washington, D.C. for a post-presidential life in Florida.
A color guard, a military band and a red carpet are among the pomp that were under consideration for his departure, officials said.
Another idea that was floated was a 21-gun salute.
The 21-gun salute is one of the great honors bestowed on government and military officials, fired for heads of state, on the day of a US President’s funeral and on Memorial Day.
United States: Gun salutes over the years
Gun salute are rooted in the practices of early warriors, who would lay their weapons on the ground to honor the other party and signal that they came in peace.
As warfare evolved, the tradition gave way to the cannon salute in the 14th century.
If a ship entering a foreign port wanted to demonstrate that it came in peace, it would fire its weapons from a safe distance.
The incoming ship would typically fire seven times. The forts onshore, which had easier access to gunpowder, would welcome the ship by firing 21 times, three for each shot fired by the incoming ship.
As technology improved and warships became more robust, the ships at sea also began firing 21 times
By about 1730, what was once a symbolic gesture of peace had evolved into an official salute.
The British navy began using the 21-gun salute on certain occasions to honor members of the royal family. By 1808, it was adopted as the standard salute for royalty, though the US wouldn’t adopt it as its national salute until years later.
In 1810, the US declared its national salute would consist of firing one shot for each state in the union. US military installations would fire the salute on Independence Day and whenever the President visited.
But as the number of states in the union grew, the tradition became increasingly burdensome for foreign nations saluting the US and its officials. So by 1842, the US adopted the 21-gun salute as its presidential salute.
In 1890, the US formally declared the 21-gun salute as its national salute. It’s used today to honor the President, ex-Presidents and President-elect, as well as foreign heads of state or members of a royal family.
Today, the 21-gun salute is fired on Memorial Day and in honor of the US flag.