Truck (flagpole)

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9 comments on this post.
  1. jay:

    You misspelled the word. The round, ballish ornament at the top of most flag poles is called a “truk” without the letter “C” and still pronounced “Truck”.

    It represents the “Shot heard around the world”, more commonly known as the start of the Revolutionary War / War of Independence. The “shot heard around the world” is the colloquialism used to refer to the first shots fired in Lexington during the beginning stages of the Revolutionary War / War of Independence.

  2. Andrew:

    I’ve heard it said that the “truk” was a spillover from navy ships’ yardarm ends, to they contain three articles: a razor, a match and a bullet, to it represents the severed human head of the vanquished army’s leader, as was once stuck on the end of a spear.

    Turns out that none of the “romantic” sybolisms are accurate. It is simply there to keep rain out of a hollow flagpole. They tried an eagle, but the flag kept wrapping around it. It is put on a solid flagpole just to be consistent.

    Sometimes the truth can slap you upside your face!

  3. Robert L. Stephens:

    The ball (eagle, or whatever) at the top of a flagpole is a finial. The Truck (five letter word) an be made as part of the ball but almost never is. The truck is a device below the finial which allows the halyard to run through it and reverse directions. Check with any flagpole maker and they will tell you that. There is nothing in the finial, and nothing buried in the base, unless some individual place it there. The finial does not represent the “shot heard around the world,” finials being used long before the revolutionary war. I spent many years trying to correct these things while in the Army but people would rather use a good tale than the truth.

  4. Robert Barley:

    The truck flown on Military flag poles actually show the highest ranking officer in charge.
    Gold Balls


  5. Brian Foster:

    I don’t know where Mr. Barley got that bit of misinformation, but it is not true. No matter the Fort or Base you go to, you will find a round ball truck (it is not “truk as stated, wrongly, above). at the top of the base’s main flagpole, no matter the rank of the commanding officer, which is almost always a General or Admiral. They are brass, by the way.

    I can understand Mr. Stephen’s position and even sus out how he comes to a finial being the top piece the rest of us know as a truck. Finials are the capping pieces on top of gothic or ornamentation on other structures. So, there’s the ornamentation part.

    Trucks on mast heads and poles were used, as stated earlier, to run lines through for “reeving” flags up the pole or mast. Later, the Truck lost it’s hole and became decorative while a small pulley was used below it for the same job. This also allowed a mast head to carry two sets of signal flags that could be swapped out independently. With a truck, that just wasn’t possible.

    There are plenty of situations where manufacturers refer to some part in one term while the rest of the world uses another.

    Having served in the US Army I can assure you that the device is referred to as a “truck”. Also, as stated above, the belief that there is a pistol, a single round for it, and a razor is false. It’s a romantic idea with no basis in fact.

  6. Stephen Rogers:

    Truk is a lagoon in the Pacific. The flagpole has a truck-“ck”

  7. Dana:

    “Truck” can also mean “objects of no significant value,” as, “Haul away the trailer as is. I’m not going to bother with all the truck the last tenants left in it.”

  8. John D:

    Back in my vehicle operator days in the USAF I got asked the question “How many trucks are on the base?”
    during a Below the Zone promotion board.

    The correct answer being one and it’s at the top of the flagpole. Those things rolling down the road on wheels are called “Vehicles” not trucks.

    p.s. I did get the promotion.

  9. dave:

    When I was in the Army in 1987, my friend was preparing for the NCO test and I remember one of the questions was, “What three items are inside the brass ball?” (maybe it said truck)

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