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I am frequently in a peculiar situation and I hope you can help. I am a uniformed member of an EMS unit and hold the rank of Lieutenant. This means ...
  1. #1
    AJ-EMT is offline Junior Member
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    Question Flag/National Anthem etiquette

    I am frequently in a peculiar situation and I hope you can help. I am a uniformed member of an EMS unit and hold the rank of Lieutenant. This means I have been issued a Class A uniform, complete with cover, as well as my normal duty uniform as an EMT, which I normally wear with a baseball hat. Our service does have any protocols or requirements for saluting.

    I would like to know what I should do during the playing of the National Anthem, the stating of the Pledge of Allegiance and similar situations whether I am dressed as a civilian, in my work EMT uniform or my Class A uniform.

    Before you think this is too easy...

    I am not a US citizen. I can find conflicting regulations and guidelines for what I should do in each situation. The civilian role is easy, it's when in uniform it (for me) becomes tricky. Right now I stand to attention, face the Flag and remain silent but I'd like to know if this is correct.

    :-)

  2. #2
    NAVA1974 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Flag/National Anthem etiquette

    Hello AJ-EMT. You should be OK if you follow the United States Flag Code:
    "§171. Conduct during playing

    "During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should render the military salute at the first note of the anthem and retain this position until the last note. When the flag is not displayed, those present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed there. "

    The flag code does not distinguish between types of uniforms or headgear. It says "Persons in uniform should render the military salute." It does not limit the military salute to persons wearing military uniforms. Uniformed police officers are not "military" yet they use the military salute when in uniform.

    Regards,
    Nick

  3. #3
    AJ-EMT is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Flag/National Anthem etiquette

    And in doing so I may violate Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 9:

    § 9. Conduct during hoisting, lowering or passing of flag

    During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in a parade or in review, all persons present except those in uniform should face the flag and stand at attention with the right hand over the heart. Those present in uniform should render the military salute. When not in uniform, men should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.
    Aliens should stand at attention. The salute to the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes.

    I'll admit that the reference to aliens is not found in most other regulations for conduct during the national anthem, or respect for the flag. I always inferred that the instructions to aliens were similar under those circumstances.

    I expect that non-citizens in the military render a salute so I should probably do the same. I will now be in the interesting position of saluting the flag (with a military salute) whilst in uniform but not saluting it (with hand over heart) when in civilian clothing.

    Thanks for the reply!

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    Default Re: Flag/National Anthem etiquette

    I am not an American, nor live there, but whenever I hear the US national anthem on TV, or when I am on vacation to the US, i am always the 1st one to stand up and put my hand over my heart

  5. #5
    ESSAYONS is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Flag/National Anthem etiquette

    Rules for Rendering Hand Salute of U.S. Flag



    New Law Allows Retirees and Vets to Salute Flag</STRONG> The National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 contained an amendment to allow un-uniformed servicemembers, military retirees, and veterans to render a hand salute during the hoisting, lowering, or passing of the U.S. flag. The amendment does not address saluting the flag during the playing of the national anthem, pledge of allegiance, honors (i.e. Taps), or any other saluting situations.
    Excerpt from H.R. 4986:

    SEC. 594. CONDUCT BY MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES AND VETERANS OUT OF UNIFORM DURING HOISTING, LOWERING, OR PASSING OF UNITED STATES FLAG.
    Section 9 of title 4, United States Code, is amended by striking “all persons present” and all that follows through the end of the section and inserting the following: “all persons present in uniform should render the military salute. Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute. All other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Citizens of other countries present should stand at attention. All such conduct toward the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes.”

  6. #6
    johnnyhands is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Flag/National Anthem etiquette

    I have another question about removing your hat during the national anthem. What if you are in the band playing the national anthem, are you also required to remove your hat?

  7. #7
    oldrailfan is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Flag/National Anthem etiquette

    Quote Originally Posted by johnnyhands View Post
    I have another question about removing your hat during the national anthem. What if you are in the band playing the national anthem, are you also required to remove your hat?
    NO! Millitary bands performing the National Anthem do not remove covers, civilian bands should not either. For one thing, what are you going to do with the hat while playing?

  8. #8
    johnnyhands is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Flag/National Anthem etiquette

    Quote Originally Posted by oldrailfan View Post
    NO! Millitary bands performing the National Anthem do not remove covers, civilian bands should not either. For one thing, what are you going to do with the hat while playing?
    Sorry, I forgot to mention that we are sitting in the baseball stands (before rising to play), so we do have a spot to place the hats. I myself don't remove my hat when we play the anthem, but I do when someone other than our band sings it.

  9. #9
    hshivers is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Flag/National Anthem etiquette

    What definition of "veteran" is considered for the option to salute if not in uniform? For example, many people completed a six or more year military commitment via National Guard or Reserve, but did not meet the official Veterans Administration definition of "veteran" for purposes of receiveing veterans benefits such as priority in hiring, medical services, etc. These persons are may times given informal verterans status in ceremonial or recogniotion events, but I wonder iof the sense of Congress was to allow all who have served a military commitment to salute if they wish.

  10. #10
    Peter Ansoff is offline USA Flag Site Admin
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    Default Re: Flag/National Anthem etiquette

    I wonder iof the sense of Congress was to allow all who have served a military commitment to salute if they wish.

    There's no way to be certain, of course, but I'm pretty sure that this is what Congress intended.

    Peter Ansoff
    "We live by symbols, and what shall be symbolized by any image of the sight depends upon the mind of him who sees it."
    -- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

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