Discussion in 'American Flag History' started by christinep, May 7, 2009.

  1. christinep

    christinep New Member

    Why do you say "two" in a flag ceremony. For example- when BSA is ending a ceremony the say "two".....not "toot"....."two"
  2. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    What is the context? Where in the ceremony do the participants say this?
  3. christinep

    christinep New Member

    In scouting, both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, who stand saluting as the colorgaurd lowers the colors. Once the flag is lowered and folded the Colorguard will announce "TWO"........not toot. My Cub Scouts are being missled to thinking we say toot because there is not a bugle on hand :( .

    Now I love all my boys and their dads but if you look up any flag ceremony on any web site it's "TWO" not toot. WHY? The only thing I even found resembling an explanation is in honor of the TWO World Wars fought on our soil. As a Scout I embellish and add for GOD and COUNTRY as well.

    Bottom line......why "two". I have a weekend of coffee being brought to my tent on this one....

    THANK YOU- Christine
  4. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Hi, Christine!

    First of all, you are correct that it's "two" not "toot." It's part of the routine for a "Hand Salute" which is executed when the flag is raised or lowered. Here is a quote from the Marine Corps Drill and Ceremonies Manual (MCO P5060.20) that describes the procedure:

    "1. The purpose of the hand salute is to demonstrate mutual respect and courtesy between members of military organizations and to show respect to national colors. It is executed in one count when halted at attention, marching at quick time, or seated in a vehicle. The command is "Hand, SALUTE." To return to the position of attention the command is "Ready, TWO."

    "a. When "SALUTE" is given, raise your right hand smartly in the most direct manner until the tip of your forefinger touches the lower part of the headdress above and slightly right of your right eye. Your fingers should be extended straight and joined with the thumb along the forefinger. You should be able to see your entire palm when looking straight ahead. Your upper arm should be parallel with the deck with the elbow in line with the body and your forearm at a 45-degree angle. Your wrist and hand should be straight, a continuation of the line made by your forearm. At the same time, if not in ranks, turn your head and eyes toward the person or colors you are saluting.

    "b. At the command "TWO," return to attention. Move your hand smartly in the most direct manner back to its normal position by your side.

    "c. To ensure simultaneous execution of the second movement of the hand salute when troops are in formation, the preparatory command "Ready," will be used prior to the command of execution [FONT=Courier New,Courier New PS][FONT=Courier New,Courier New PS]"TWO."[/FONT][/FONT]

    [end of quote]​

    [FONT=Courier New,Courier New PS][FONT=Courier New,Courier New PS]The word "two" does not have any special symbolic meaning -- it's just the second part of the command sequence. Saluting is "one" and ending the salute is "two."[/FONT][/FONT]​

    If the ceremony is accompanied by a bugle call or the playing of the national anthem, the "two" command is not required -- the troops execute the command automatically when the music ends. The MCO P5060.20 says:​

    On the last note of the “National Anthemâ€￾ or “To the Color,â€￾ [or "Retreat" for lowering] all members of the detail terminate their hand salutes.

    I hope that this answers your questions. Welcome to the forum!

    Peter Ansoff​

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