Veterans' Salute protocols

Discussion in 'Other US Flag Etiquette' started by WrestlingTerp, Aug 29, 2008.

  1. WrestlingTerp

    WrestlingTerp New Member

    Okay, I can't find the answer to my questions anywhere else. Perhaps I can here!

    With the passage of the legislation allowing Veterans and military members not in uniform to render the hand salute to the flag, and the start of the football season with Veterans' Day coming in November; I have some questions.

    1. As a Veteran, do I remove my hat to salute? Or can I salute with a ball cap on? Or only with a military/veterans ball cap on?
    2. It seemed that the intention of the change to the flag code was to allow Veterans to salute during the playing of the National Anthem. Is that a correct interpretation?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Hello, WrestlingTerp -- welcome to the US Flag forum. Yes, we can answer your question, but there's a twist to it -- follow the bouncing ball! (-;

    The short answer is that, as a Veteran not in uniform, you have two choices: 1) leave your cover on (if you're wearing one) and render the military salute, or 2) remove your cover and place it over your heart. The type of cover is irrelevant in both cases. I'll quote the actual language from the US Code in just a minute.

    There's more to the story, however. There are three different sections of the US code that deal with conduct during salutes:

    - Title 4, Section 1 Para 4: saluting during the pledge of allegience
    - Title 4, Section 1 Para 9: saluting when the flag is raised, lowered, or passes in a parade
    - Title 36, Subtitle 1 Part A Para 301: saluting during the playing of the national anthem

    Originally, all three had similar wording. Essentially they said that persons in uniform give the military salute, other male citizens wearing headgear remove their covers and hold them over their hearts, and other citizens place hands over hearts. There were minor differences: for example, the pledge of allegience version made an exception for men wearing religious headgear, and the raising/lowering version specified that non-citizens should stand at attention without saluting.

    Earlier this year, the code was amended by PL 110-181. Congress's intent was to allow military personel and veterans to give the military salute even if they were not in uniform. So far so good. However, what they did was to amend Title 4, Section 1, Para 9 while leaving the other two sections unchanged. As amended, Para 9 reads as follows:

    ". . . 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."

    However, because Congress did not change the other two sections, this new language only applies when the flag raised, lowered, or passing in review. During the playing of the national anthem and the reciting of the pledge of allegience, the old rules still technically apply. It's not clear what rules apply when the national anthem is played as the flag is raised -- the revised code actually contradicts itself. This is an absurd situation, of course. Congress obviously meant to change the rules in all three cases, but they were sloppy and didn't do it right. Until they fix it, my take would be that we should follow the new version of Section 9 in all three cases.

    Notice that the new version of Section 9 also eliminates the distinction between men and women. Formerly, women civilians were supposed to leave their hats on; as revised, they're apparently supposed to remove them (unless they are military or veterans, of course). At least, that's what it seems to say -- the phrase "if applicable" is not very specific.

    I hope that all makes sense . . . anyway, welcome aboard!

    Peter Ansoff
     
  3. WrestlingTerp

    WrestlingTerp New Member

    Peter:

    Thanks, now my head hurts so much I won't be ABLE to wear a cap!!

    My read on Senator Inhofe's legislation change was to allow Veterans' to salute the flag during the National Anthem as a way of showing the greater public how many people have actually served.

    So at tomorrow's Terps football game I'll just render my salute; with my cap on!(?)
     
  4. Taylor Girl

    Taylor Girl New Member

    I have a question I need answered and I hope it's okay to be on this thread. Tomorrow morning we will be hosting a breakfast for Veterans in our area. The national anthem will be sung and the pledge will be recited. Which is supposed to come first? Forgive my ignorance. They're both important to me, but I want to make sure it's done right.
     
  5. american_flag_uk

    american_flag_uk Moderator

    Hi taylor girl -

    There's no 'wrong way round' of doing the pledge and the national anthem

    If it was me I would have the pledge followed by the national anthem
    simply because then you can have the veterans stand and recite the pledge then announce the national anthem, and after the music stops they can sit down again
     
  6. RabidPatriot

    RabidPatriot New Member

    I realise I am jumping into this thread late but I was wondering if this ever passed. I do not believe it ever occurred and that is a shame. This bill should continue to be pushed as it would allow members who have ever saluted the flag to be given the honor to continue to do so.

    Let me know if anyone finds something saying it was actually pushed through somewhere else and I am not finding it.

    RP
     
  7. RabidPatriot

    RabidPatriot New Member

    I answered my own question...H.R. 4986 [110th] was signed into law in 2008.

    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
    H. R. 4986—137
    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.’’.
     
  8. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Active Member

    .
    GREETINGS, Rabid Patriot ! :D

    Welcome to the USA-Flag-Site forums !


    Congratulations on finding the answer to your own question ! :D

    The Bill was passed and signed into law back in January, 2008. It would have passed much sooner except the American Legion was against it and fought against its passage.

    (Yes, you read that correctly! The American Legion was AGAINST Veterans being allowed to render a hand salute to the U.S. Flag.) :eek:


    FWIW : You might want to scroll back up and re-read Peter Ansoff's post (#2 in this thread) regarding the OTHER "related" sections of the "Flag Code" that were NOT changed, and the confusion that it might cause !!!


    Thank you for bringing your Flag-related question to our forums! And Thank You for letting us know that you've already found the answer to your question, too !!! :D

    Robin Hickman
    .
     
  9. RabidPatriot

    RabidPatriot New Member

    I understand why they were against it. A lot of people feel that only those still in uniform should be able to honor the flag. Its a privledge that comes with continuing to serve.

    However, I think it would be good to amend it to those that served at any time. A lot of people in our country are forgetting what it is to love this place even with her flaws and problems.

    Seeing it honored in greater numbers would mean a lot to those that served.
     
  10. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Active Member

    .
    Hey, Rabid Patriot ! :D


    I go for a walk once or twice a day, almost every day. As I'm walking along I render the hand salute to every American Flag that I see as I pass by it. :D

    If "they" (the "powers that be") were to rescind the Veterans' right to render the hand salute to the flag, I'd do it anyway !!! :eek:

    ( Must be the "rebel" in me ! ) :cool:


    Robin Hickman
    .
     
  11. hdpatriot

    hdpatriot New Member

    I participate in veterans funerals with the Patriot Guard Riders. We hold flags on staffs during veiwings and services. the PGR PA leaders have told us that vets can salute when needed during the ceremony while holding the flag. I disagree with this for many reasons, 1. You hold the flag in your right hand while marching or standing so how could you salute. 2. You never salute while holding a flag. 3. The law was changed to allow a veteran to salute while the national anthem is being played raising or lowering orduring pledge of allegiance, not whenever a salute is rendered. 4. The flag receives honors not renders them. I want to bring this up to the leadership but wanted someone elses veiws on it. I retired from the Army and carried colors many times during my career. Thanks for any help you can give!
     
  12. SilentSpectreANG

    SilentSpectreANG New Member

    I thought early in 2009 they amended it so that military members and veterans in civvies could salute during the playing of the national anthem as well.
     
  13. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Active Member

    .
    Hello, SilentSpectreANG ! :D

    Welcome to the USA-Flag-Site Forums !


    QUOTE : "I thought early in 2009 they amended it so that military members and veterans in civvies could salute during the playing of the national anthem as well."


    Actually, it was in January, 2008. It has all been covered pretty thoroughly earlier in this particular thread, so go back to the beginning of page one and start from there.

    And, yes, it is sometimes more than a little confusing! :eek:


    Good Luck !!! :D


    Robin Hickman
    .
     
  14. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Actually, you're both right! (-;

    The original amendment to the 2008 Defense Authorization Act was adopted as Public Law 110-181 in January 2008. It changed the section of the code (Section 9 of 4 USC 1) dealing with saluting when the flag is raised, lowered or passing in review. As discussed earlier in this forum, it didn't change the other two sections of the code that dealt with saluting for the national anthem, (36 USC 301(b)(1)) and for the Pledge of Allegiance (4 USC 1 Section 4). This set up an absurd situation, in which vets and service members in civies could use the military salute in some cases, but not in others.

    Apparently, somebody noticed the error, because the 2009 Defense Authorization Act, adopted as PL 110-417 in October 2008, made the corresponding change to 36 USC. Now, the code says that vets and members in civies can use the military salute for the national anthem. However, Congress has still not addressed the Pledge of Allegience. Maybe next year they will finally get it right.

    However, there's more to the story. Both the Chief of Naval Operations and the Commandant of the Marine Corps have issued direction (CNO message 012345Z Apr 09 and ALMAR 052/08, respectively), stating that Navy and Marine Corps personnel who are not in uniform will not use the military salute in any circumstances. The ALMAR states "By custom and tradition, Marines do not render the hand salute when out of uniform or when uncovered. Let there be no confusion; that has not changed." These military directives do not affect veterans, who are not subject to military regulations, but they do affect active-duty Sailors and Marines who are not in uniform. So far, the other services have not issued corresponding direction as far as I know.

    The "flag code" is not enforceable, and the code itself states that it does not apply to the military. However, Congress has muddied the waters by putting what amount to military regulations in the flag code. The military regs issued by the Navy and the Marine Corps are enforceable upon active duty servicepeople, and contradict what Congress has put in the flag code. It will be interesting to see how this plays out (once somebody notices what is going on).

    Peter Ansoff
     
  15. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Active Member

    .
    Thank you for the "Update", Peter !!! :D


    I gratefully stand corrected !!! :(


    Robin Hickman
    .
     
  16. emsdial911

    emsdial911 New Member

    I don't understand, the right to salute is given to those who have served and protected the flag and what it stands for. Just because I am no longer in uniform (due to injuries sustained in the Gulf War) does not mean I should lose the right to salute. The flag still flys because myself and others like me have made it so.
     
  17. oldrailfan

    oldrailfan New Member

    HR4986 [110] is long overdue. I am a Viet Nam veteran who received an honorable discharge in 1974. Personally, I've saluted ever since, protocol or not.
    My reasoning falls in the area of "...a vet doesn't lose the right to salute when he separates, and the flag is entitled to a salute, therefore..." I don't know why there was any question on the practice. JMHO
    Funny thing is, I've done it, and vets near me have picked up on it and followed suit.
     
  18. oldrailfan

    oldrailfan New Member

    When you enlisted you took an oath to "...protect and defend..." Were you ever released from that oath? Same applies, IMO, to the salute.
    I agree, so did Sen. Inhofe.
     

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