Honoring Our American Flag – Memorial Day Etiquette

DSC_8773-1-WebBy Thomas F. Hill

Memorial Day weekend is upon us and the Fourth of July is just around the corner. Citizens everywhere will be asked to honor our Flag. Do you know the protocols?

When The American Flag is displayed with a Color Guard during a parade or other formal type ceremony, those observing this function should:

1.) Stand at Attention, 2.) Remove their hats or caps, 3.) Place their right hand over their heart / or if wearing a hat or cap, hold the hat or cap over one’s heart with the right hand.

DSC_1370-1-WebAfter the Color Guard passes, or the ceremony finishes, then that person should return to one’s previous position.

** An updated new rule for past or present military service men / women, if they are not attired in a military uniform, they are now permitted to execute a right hand salute observing the presence of our flag or other military ceremony.

These expectations, should be observed by all American Citizens, unless they are handicapped from being unable to stand.

These same expectations should always be observed when “The Pledge of Allegiance” is being recited. It is also expected and observed when “Our National Anthem” (The Star Spangled Banner) / or the Bugle Call “To The Colors” is performed.

Tom HillTwo more expectations is also part of our national protocol, to use the same procedure for respecting the playing of the Bugle Call – “TAPS” and also the “21 Gun Salute” to honor our deceased veterans / comrades.

We are honoring Veterans that served in World War II, Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan.

(Ed Note: The above article was submitted by long-time Bay Village resident and retired Westlake Schools Music Director Thomas F. Hill. He presents these protocols on behalf of the Bay Village VFW Post 9693. The photo at the top of this story was taken at the 2013 Bay Village Memorial Day parade).

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