When to put your hand over your heart...?

Discussion in 'Other US Flag Etiquette' started by EmailPoster, Jun 6, 2006.

  1. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Until then, uniforms are limited to whatever the United States Code says.
    Specifically, 10 USC, Subtitle A, Part II, Chapter 45, Sections v771 v772.

    Once again, that is not what the US Code says. Section 772 (which I quoted in my earlier post) simply says that the Boy Scouts are permitted to wear their "prescribed" uniform, and that this is an exception to the general ban on civilians wearing uniforms that are similar to US military uniforms. That's all the Code says -- it doesn't say that the Boy Scout uniform is any more "official" than other uniforms worn by other scouting organizations, police forces, etc. Those organizations are not addressed in the code because they don't need to be -- their uniforms do not resemble US military uniforms to begin with.

    The saluting provisions in Titles 4 and 36 of the code were clearly not intended to refer to the Boy Scouts. They specify the persons in uniform will render the "military salute," which Boy Scouts do not do. As far as I can see, there is nothing in the Code that privileges the Boy Scouts over the Girl Scouts or other organizations with respect to saluting.

    Peter Ansoff
     
  2. shrubber

    shrubber New Member

    Peter,

    I believe you are incorrect again here.
    Lets read a little more of the code:

    TITLE 10 - ARMED FORCES
    Subtitle A - General Military Law
    PART II - PERSONNEL
    CHAPTER 45 - THE UNIFORM

    -HEAD-
    Sec. 772. When wearing by persons not on active duty authorized

    -STATUTE-
    (a) A member of the Army National Guard or the Air National Guard
    may wear the uniform prescribed for the Army National Guard or the
    Air National Guard, as the case may be.
    (b) A member of the Naval Militia may wear the uniform prescribed
    for the Naval Militia.
    (c) A retired officer of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine
    Corps may bear the title and wear the uniform of his retired grade.
    (d) A person who is discharged honorably or under honorable
    conditions from the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps may wear
    his uniform while going from the place of discharge to his home,
    within three months after his discharge.
    (e) A person not on active duty who served honorably in time of
    war in the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps may bear the
    title, and, when authorized by regulations prescribed by the
    President, wear the uniform, of the highest grade held by him
    during that war.
    (f) While portraying a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or
    Marine Corps, an actor in a theatrical or motion-picture production
    may wear the uniform of that armed force if the portrayal does not
    tend to discredit that armed force.
    (g) An officer or resident of a veterans' home administered by
    the Department of Veterans Affairs may wear such uniform as the
    Secretary of the military department concerned may prescribe.
    (h) While attending a course of military instruction conducted by
    the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps, a civilian may wear the
    uniform prescribed by that armed force if the wear of such uniform
    is specifically authorized under regulations prescribed by the
    Secretary of the military department concerned.
    (i) Under such regulations as the Secretary of the Air Force may
    prescribe, a citizen of a foreign country who graduates from an Air
    Force school may wear the appropriate aviation badges of the Air
    Force.
    (j) A person in any of the following categories may wear the
    uniform prescribed for that category:
    (1) Members of the Boy Scouts of America.
    (2) Members of any other organization designated by the
    Secretary of a military department.

     
  3. shrubber

    shrubber New Member

    And then let's take note of a few things.
    First off, this section of the code ( other than the section descibing theatrical productions ) says nothing about civilians wearing uniforms as you mentioned.

    Second, is it of note that BSA is the only organization not associated with the military mentioned by name in this code? Not the Girl Scouts, not the Indian Guides not the Daughters of the American Revolution?

    I dare say a Secretary of any Military department has never authorized the Girl Scout uniform ( not dissing the Girl Scouts here, I happen to be a GSUSA Co Leader )

    Perhaps the cause of confusion on your part is the prior use of official instead of authorized uniform.

    Just as a retired serviceman, guardsman, and a VA resident is authorized to wear a uniform, so is BSA.

    While it may not explicity say that BSA members in uniform should salute the flag, what we have here is a syllogism. If the BSA is an authorized uniform, and people in authorized uniforms are to salute the flag, then therefore......

    On reference to your comment about the military salute, you are aware that not all members of the armed forces salute in the same manner? The Navy for instance has a salute that differs from the Army.
     
  4. Scout

    Scout New Member

    Excellent conversation. We all need to know this stuff. The best teacher is the best student. Question everything.
     
  5. Tim of Eustis

    Tim of Eustis New Member

    Is it OK to place your hand on your heart while "God Bless America" is being played?
     
  6. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    .
    SURE !!! :D

    There aren't any "rules" about that, so if it feels good, DO IT !!! :D


    Robin Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
     
  7. mcvtoo

    mcvtoo New Member

    Any time the colors pass by

    When the Colors are raised or lowered

    whenever the Star Spangled Banner is played

    when taps is played

    not mandatory,but traditionally when God Bless America is played

    Recent changes allow Veterans to render a hand salute in lieu of placing their hand over their heart. Whether they're covered or not.

    Active duty personell in uniform render hand salute

    Civilians should remove their cover (head wear) hold it in the fingers of their right hand with the palm of their right hand over their heart

    When reciting the Pledge of Allegiance

    HOOAH!
     
  8. mcvtoo

    mcvtoo New Member

    Actually Changes to the code allow for Veterans to render a hand salute whether they are covered or not.

    HOOAH!
     
  9. mcvtoo

    mcvtoo New Member

    Re: Settle an argument

    Jim thanks for your service. I am a retired 1SG, US ARMY. I also am Commander of our American Legion Post. You are correct proper Flag ettiquite is to remove their caps holding them in the fingers of the right hand with the palm of their right hand over their heart. They should be standing erect with their feet together at a 45 degree angle or they may stand erect with their feet shoulder width apart. These stances should mimmic the position of Attention or Parade Rest.

    HOOAH!
     
  10. tropicgran

    tropicgran New Member

    My husband (veteran) just admonished me for not placing my hand over my heart the other day at a sporting event. I remember 40-45 years ago when I was in elementary school, it was common to put our hands over our hearts for the pledge of allegiance, but not for the national anthem. When did this change? I don't have anything against putting my hand over my heart for the anthem, but people are beginning to act like it's always been this way. Did 9-11 make people more vigilant about measuring others' patriotism?
     
  11. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    .
    Hello, TropicGran ! :D

    Welcome to the USA-Flag-Site Forums ! :D


    It doesn't really matter what a veteran says or what is written in a newspaper or in a "blog" somewhere. What matters is what is written in the U.S. Code on the subject.

    The section of the U.S. Code that covers most of the "stuff" regarding the American Flag is located in Title 4 of the Code, and it is commonly referred to as the "The Flag Code". Do I think the "Flag Code" is always "right"? No, but then it IS the Flag Code!

    Incidentally, most of it (Flag Code) was written back in the early 1920's and "codified" in 1923 (if my memory is correct). It has been "amended" from time-to-time since then.

    The part of the U.S. Code that covers our National Anthem is located in Title 36. I'm not exactly sure when IT was "codified".

    So..... What, exactly does Title 36 of the U.S. Code dictate in this kind of "situation"?

    United States Code Title 36

    §301. National Anthem
    1. Designation. — The composition consisting of the words and music known as the Star-Spangled Banner is the national anthem.
    2. Conduct During Playing — During rendition of the national anthem —
      1. when the flag is displayed —
        1. individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note;
        2. members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute in the manner provided for individuals in uniform; and
        3. all other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart; and
      2. when the flag is not displayed, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed.
    So, now you know what the U.S. Code has to say about it. I hope that helps clarify the situation for you.


    As far as the self-righteous Post-9/11 "Patriot Police" are concerned, I offer NO COMMENT at this time! :cool:


    Robin Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
    .
     
  12. tropicgran

    tropicgran New Member

    Robin, thanks for the info. I researched and found the US Code regarding the flag when I posted. Now that I know, I'll do it. But I'm just curious about the increase in hands over the heart. Maybe it was a regional or my city thing, but I know lots of people during my youth respectfully and attentively stood at attention w/o their hands over their hearts during the anthem. Times change, so can I.
     
  13. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    The Liberation of Kuwait / 1991 Gulf War prompted a tremendous resurgence of Patriotism in the USA. People started flying the American Flag again, people would actually sing the National Anthem, they would place their hand over their heart as the flag passed by or was raised (or during the National Anthem.) This was a great change from the national mood of the 1960's, 70's, and 80's.

    The terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 just reinforced this attitude of national pride.

    Nick
     
  14. fizwiz

    fizwiz New Member

    The US Code now states to place your hand over your heart, but I agree with a previous poster that this was not always so. The code was last revised as far as I can tell in 1998, and there have been revisions prior to that. So some of the "oldsters" are correct in that we didn't always place our hand over our heart during the National Anthem, but did stand "at attention". As for the singer, most do not since many are right-handed and hold the microphone in their right-hand and probably would feel uncomfortable holding it in their left. As noted lately, many have enough trouble remembering the lines much less adding in any other unfamiliar feelings to rattle themselves. I would imagine a choir could easily hold their hands over their heart since they are not holding microphones. Of course the removal of a hat has been part of the etiquette for a long, long, long time.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2011
  15. Will

    Will New Member

    Hello! (From the United Kingdom I might add)

    I found this thread while doing a bit of personal research and I see one of the posts that 'Non US citizens should put their hand over their heart but stand respectfully'. Well, I see no problem with that...except that of the several Americans that I've met during my time won't do the same for our National Anthem!

    'God Save The Queen' or 'The National Anthem' as it is simply known to many people is a prayer to God to keep HM The Queen safe and grant her victory etc (the lyrics are quite self explanatory except that it is a prayer) is the national anthem of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, to be played at all official occasions etc. It holds high significance to us, just as your own National Anthem holds high significance to American citizens. However, in many experiences throughout my life, many Americans (that I've met anyway) will not 'stand respectfully' when the opening bar is played, many will continue about their business (in one particular occasion when a guest talked rather loudly through the National Anthem only to be rebuffed when it was over) and completely ignore it! Even when they are told it will be played or that it is currently playing.

    British protocol is a bit simpler than your own. We simply rise and we stand respectfully, remove hats, sing along if we know the words (which we should) or (as a has been of the British Army) stand at attention and salute when we have headdress.

    So please, respect our National Anthem as you respect your own...Especially when the very patriotic American (and once your own National Anthem) song of 'My Country, T'is of Thee is along to the same tune.
     
  16. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Will,

    Welcome to the USA Flag Forum.

    Sadly, many younger Americans have lost the notion of "respect." (Not just for their flag and country, buf for anything else, for that matter, except money, but let's not get started on that.) So I am not surprised that they fail to honor your National Athem. And I am sorry that they give such a negative impression of us. Those of us old enough to know better understand the deep meaning of symbols like flags, anthems, and of those worthy of respect (regardless of whether we agree with their politics) like heads of state.

    However, to put the best "spin" on the situation, Americans know that tune as "My Conuntry 'Tis of Thee" which is a patriotic song, but does not rise to the level of a National Anthem. If they were told to rise for the National Anthem, then they should, indeed, behave properly, regardless of whose anthem it is.

    Nick A
     
  17. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Greetings, Will! Glad to have you with us.

    It's sort of curious that the US law pertaining to conduct during the playing of the national anthem (36 USC 301), does not distinguish between US citizens and others, and neither does 4 USC 4, which deals with conduct during recitation of the pledge of allegiance. The only distinction between US citizens and others appears in 4 USC 9, which addresses conduct when the flag is being raised, lowered, or passing in review. That section states that "Citizens of other countries present should stand at attention." Before it was revised in 2008, it said "aliens" instead of "citizens of other countries."

    The melody of "God Save the Queen" is certainly popular as a national air. It's also the national anthem of Lichtenstein, the royal anthem of Norway, and has been used historically as a national song in Germany, Sweden, Russia and Hawaii at one time or another. (Not to mention the USA, of course.)

    Peter Ansoff
     
  18. Wuzafuz

    Wuzafuz New Member

    Like Searlas, I too grew up only holding my hand over my heart during the pledge then, stood silently during the anthem. However, men and boys removed anything from their head.
    The military instructed us, when outdoors salute in the direction of the flag during the pledge, while hoisted or lowered, and stand at attention during the anthem. Indoors military personnel show their respect to the pledge by placing their right hand to left shoulder, covering the heart, as we would always remove our cover (Hat or headgear), whenever entering a building. The only exception was being under arms, which could be anything such as a cartridge belt, sidearm, or a rifle. As long as you were armed, your hands should remain free, for safety reasons therefore you did not remove your cover and were required to salute.
    The fact people have added the step, showing their respect during the anthem gives me a little more pride in our nation, and, our current generation. Combined with the action of congress, allowing former military personnel to salute out of uniform (though I would cover my heart), affirms we are not in the state of decay so many fear. Michael O'Brien.
     
  19. Glen Smith

    Glen Smith New Member

    I find this discussion fascinating and helpful. Thanks to the posters sharing their knowledge and experience.

    I was curious about the changing of the code. My experience (civillian only) was that to only place the hand over the heart for the Pledge, not the National Athem like others wrote in this thread. A little internet research seems to show that the code changed in 1976.

    The code in 1970 (just a year I picked to research) stated the following (Title 36, Chapter 10, section 171):
    Conduct during play.
    When the national anthem is played and the flag is not displayed, all present should stand and face toward the music. Those in uniform should salute at the first note of the anthem, retaining this position until the last note. All others should stand at attention, men removing the headdress. When the flag is displayed, all present should face the flag and salute. (June 22, 1942, ch. 435 Sec 6, 54 Stat. 380; Dec. 22, 1942, ch. 806, Sec. 6, 56 Stat. 1077)
    AMENDMENTS
    1942-Act Dec. 22, 1942, substituted "all present should face the flag and salute", in the last sentance, for "the salute to the flag should be given".

    Source: Library of Congress​

    The code in 1976 seemed to change it a bit:
    §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.

    (June 22, 1942, ch. 435, §6, 56 Stat. 380; Dec. 22, 1942, ch. 806, §6, 56 Stat. 1077; July 7, 1976, Pub. L. 94–344, §1(18), 90 Stat. 812.)

    Amendments
    1976—Pub. L. 94–344 inserted requirement that during the rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all persons present except those in uniform should stand at attention, face the flag, and place the right hand over the heart and men with headdress should remove the headdress and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart and when the flag is not displayed, those present should face the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed.

    1942—Act Dec. 22, 1942, substituted “all present should face the flag and salute” for “the salute to the flag should be given” in last sentence.

    Source: US Government Printing Office ​

    My reading is that prior to 1976, it was clear that all should stand at attention. Also it states all should "salute" if the flag is displayed. However, it doesn't define what the salute is. The changes in 1976 seem to clarify that those in unform give the military salute while those not in uniform place the hand over the heart.

    So for those of us who experienced standing at attention without a hand over the heart growing up: The rules changed/were clarified in '76. The 1998 and 2008 changes modified other parts of the code, but the hand over the heart for those not in uniform persists from that change in '76.
     
  20. mg1

    mg1 New Member

    Thank you for this site! I've read through this thread trying to learn about scouts in uniform saluting, but I think I'm getting lost. Regarding the scouts (specifically other scouting organizations besides BSA), do they salute, or not? :)
     

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