Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Veterans And Saluting The Colors

I went to the Wyoming-Boise State basketball game last night (BSU beat the previously undefeated Cowboys 86-85 on a last-second basket off an inbounds play -- very exciting!), and I got my first chance to exercise a new right -- the right of a veteran to render a hand salute during the playing of the National Anthem, even when not in uniform. From the VA website:
Veterans and active-duty military not in uniform can now render the military-style hand salute during the playing of the national anthem, thanks to changes in federal law that took effect this month.
“The military salute is a unique gesture of respect that marks those who have served in our nation’s armed forces,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake. “This provision allows the application of that honor in all events involving our nation’s flag.”
The new provision improves upon a little known change in federal law last year that authorized veterans to render the military-style hand salute during the raising, lowering or passing of the flag, but it did not address salutes during the national anthem. Last year’s provision also applied to members of the armed forces while not in uniform.
Traditionally, members of the nation’s veterans service organizations have rendered the hand-salute during the national anthem and at events involving the national flag while wearing their organization’s official head-gear.
The most recent change, authorizing hand-salutes during the national anthem by veterans and out-of-uniform military personnel, was sponsored by Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, an Army veteran. It was included in the Defense Authorization Act of 2009, which President Bush signed on Oct. 14.
The earlier provision authorizing hand-salutes for veterans and out-of-uniform military personnel during the raising, lowering or passing of the flag, was contained in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008, which took effect Jan. 28, 2008.
As I expected, it felt kind of weird saluting while not wearing a hat; I think I'll get used to it, though.


Blogger midwatchcowboy said...

Feels like the Army, saluting uncovered.

12/04/2008 6:02 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't say I'm crazy about this. I prefer the hand over the heart when in civies.

12/04/2008 7:10 AM

Blogger Navy Blue Cougar said...

Glad that you got a chance to catch an exciting basketball game. After the dismal baseball season and the pounding that the Seahawks, Huskies, and Cougars have been taking in football, I have been looking forward to basketball for some time now.

I don't know if I would feel quite right saluting in civilian clothes. I guess I am also a hand over the heart sort of guy. Maybe I'll give it a try, though.

12/04/2008 10:52 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Gotta love all this fascination with the easy symbols of patriotism. Sure beats putting your ass on the line. Samuel Johnson's comment on patriotism is as good today as it was in 1775...

12/04/2008 2:26 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Dude... it's one blog post on one "C"-list blog. I wouldn't exactly call that a "fascination". Still, thanks for your comment.

And for those who were wondering, I'm pretty sure the Samuel Johnson quote referred to above is this one: "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."

12/04/2008 2:32 PM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

My comment was on the general fascination evinced by public displays that have become our society's substitute for service. Our current Commander-In-Chief and his Vice President, for example, never pass up an opportunity to show that they are splendidly patriotic, even though both evaded military service when the bullets were flying.

I know what patriotism looks like. It's the kid tracing his hand along a pipe trying to figure out how the trim system works, the bridge OOD getting his boots filled with icy seawater every third wave or so, the guys in Control Room all worrying a bit because the GOLF has been zero bearing rate for 20 minutes and seems to be closing.

Salute at a basketball game? BFD.

12/04/2008 2:53 PM

Blogger David said...

Well, it united a friend of mine with some other vets at a Saints game(Monday night vs Green Bay blowout).

They didn't know about the new change and bought him a beer for letting them know about it.

12/04/2008 3:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've got mixed feelings about this new directive. I'm all for supporting patriotism and showing pride as a veteran. Personally, I'm not too comfortable with saluting while indoors, out of uniform and with no head gear on.

Even on active duty, the only times I saluted indoors, was when I was reporting in to my Squadron Commander (an 0-3 or 0-4), the Vice Wing (an 0-5) or the Wing Commander (an 0-6) (or 0-7 select)and that's while I was underarms and wearing the proscribed headgear.

Standing at the POA with ones hand over their heart is perfectly exceptable while showing proper respect at a ball game or what have you. Any thing beyond that is going a bit overboard in my humble opinion.

Thanks, J.

12/04/2008 4:06 PM

Blogger reddog said...

I prefer to think of the various salutes as inclusive gestures. In the military we all salute the same, according to the traditions of our branch.

As a civilian, attending a public gathering, I would prefer to render the same sign of respect as anyone else. To do otherwise smacks of prideful separatism. We are all brothers and sisters. Americans. The same. That is what we show when the national anthem is played at public events. That is what they are teaching us when we say the pledge of allegiance each morning at school. There is something suspect and unsavory about anyone who would want it any other way.

I can always wear one of those little flag pins, to let people know I am "special".

12/05/2008 4:08 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Good point, reddog.

12/05/2008 6:19 AM

Blogger jq5 said...

Please correct me if I'm wrong here, but the previously correct etiquette for active duty in civilian clothing was to stand at attention during the anthem vice hand over heart.

Is the provision for active duty an option or is it considered mandatory?

As far as veterans are concerned, since when does the Federal government have the authority to "authorize" how private citizens express themselves during a flag ceremony? Defining proper etiquette is one thing, but the way I see it, the only reason our flag is worthy of respect is that it is a symbol of our country, a country that allows us to exercise our God-given liberties, including freedom of expression.

Seriously, were we going to put someone in prison if they had the gall to hand salute before the provision was passed?

While Sen. Inhofe has my respect, and he certainly got my vote in November, I can't help but think this really isn't necessary.

Of course, I could be over reacting. I just don't like the word "authorize" if we are talking about etiquette and not the force of law.

12/05/2008 8:10 AM

Blogger Submaster said...

To say it is "LAW" is a misnomer. It is not a "HARD" requirement but a set of guidelines. You can find more by looking at US Code, Title 36, Chapter 10. This lays out the proper way to render honors in and out of uniform.

Rubber Ducky...displaying patrotism is not some sort of "thing to do". Those of us who continue to salute the flag post military do so to continue to honor our country. Those that never served, I hope do it because they Love their country and respect the lives lost in defense of our flag. Your attack on Bush/Cheney rings hollow - Clinton/Gore did not serve either...come to think about it, neither did Obama. You seem to ascribe negative motives to those who display a love of country and respect for the flag...I would watch my step, you may find yourself with a bloodied nose.

12/05/2008 8:40 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Gore: US Army, Vietnam, 1969-1971.

12/05/2008 9:19 AM

Blogger Ozy said...

I'm not crazy about this either. Reddog nails it.

jq5-- For active duty, it was hand over heart in civilian clothes, attention if in uniform and uncovered. I had to check earlier this year; apparently we've been doing (and teaching) it wrong all along. "Persons in uniform should remain silent" during the Pledge of Allegiance too. Weird.

Submaster-- There's no need to bloody a shipmate's nose over this. That's the kind of thing that makes it easy to ascribe negative motives to people.

12/05/2008 5:28 PM

Blogger Cargosquid said...

While I consider any authority on how one conducts a salute or shows respect unnecessary, I understand the thought behind this. I have to catch myself when showing respect to the flag when I'm covered. I automatically salute. Then I remember that I'm retired. I think that this may be a response for those vets that still wish to salute but felt uneasy without an official approval. Then again, members of the veterans' organizations salute when they are wearing their "official" funny hat, yet they are, also, just civilians. Why not salute? As long as the proper respect is shown, all is well.

12/16/2008 1:43 PM

Blogger John said...

I started out on this issue, thinking that I liked the change because, although all the reasons stated were sound (in doors, no cover, etc.) a hand salute seemed to be an expression of respect and courtesy that was more from the heart. I can't explain it, it just does, it always has for me.

That said, a lot of you made good points and Reddog, you plain nailed the issue. So, although I maybe able to do so, I think 99% of the time I will abstain from the hand salute and stick with the more traditional hand over the heart. The only exception is when I meet someone who through my own knowledge of his or her circumstances gave more than even most of my shipmates. They will always have my genuine admiration and my heartfelt thanks, and I just may express it in the most sincere hand salute I can muster.


12/17/2008 5:13 PM

Anonymous Gwen said...

It can't actually work, I believe so.

8/24/2012 8:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Army and Air Force personnel salute in/out of uniform covered/uncovered. Navy/Marines never salute while out of uniform or uncovered; regardless of what federal law allows.

4/12/2013 3:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always salute the flag. Always.
Sgt. US Army 1956 - 1959.

3/08/2014 2:57 PM


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