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Honoring the American flag

Posted 10/27/2008   Updated 10/27/2008 Email story   Print story


by Tech. Sgt. Davina L. Armbruster
52nd Fighter Wing protocol office

10/27/2008 - SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- As members of the armed forces, we are taught from day one when and how to pay respect to our nation's flag -- in and out of uniform. Most of us grew up knowing the American flag was an important part of our country's pride and heritage. No doubt people all around the world recognize our flag and that it symbolizes the United States and the freedoms Americans hold most dear. Do we, however, as American citizens, truly honor our flag and cherish it in the manner it deserves? I think as military members we do more than most, but even we sometimes rest on our laurels. Don't let this happen to you.

There are many ways military members respect the American flag. One specific way is by saluting it. When, where and how we salute the American flag depends on whether or not we are in uniform, civilian clothes, indoors or outdoors. While in uniform, salute the flag as it passes in a parade or when it is draped over a casket in a funeral procession. Also render a salute when present for the hoisting and lowering of the flag. It is appropriate for civilians and military members not in uniform to informally salute the flag when uniformed servicemembers are required to do so. An informal salute is done by placing the right hand over the heart. Men wearing head gear should remove it and hold it over their left shoulder, with hand over heart. When the National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance are played, spoken or sung outdoors, all persons should stand respectfully at attention and formally or informally salute depending on attire. The salute is directed to the flag, if displayed, otherwise to the music. Folded or cased flags are not saluted.

Each of us should be aware of retreat protocol at Spangdahlem. When you hear the German and American National Anthems, stop what you are doing and show respect to both our great nation and theirs; render the proper salute. The American flag is a symbol; it signifies justice, liberty and democracy. It embodies everything we as a country stand for and cherish. We all have a tendency to grow complacent because of everything going on in our busy lives. Civilians and armed forces alike -- honor and show those who have sacrificed so much for all of us the gratitude they undeniably deserve. Honor the American flag. Respect it, cherish it, love it.

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