Military Salute During Playing of TAPS by Veterans Not in Uniform
by David M. Ones
(Pauls Valley, OK USA)
Sen. James Inhofe's National Defense Authorization Act of FY 2009 authorized the flag salute for veterans not in uniform during the NATIONAL ANTHEM.
Can a veteran do the same when the flag is displayed during the playing of TAPS at a funeral for a veteran?
David, thank you for your question. The law you reference is not restricted to the playing of The National Anthem. It addresses occasions when the flag is present, specifically, during "hoisting, lowering, or passing" of the flag.
I believe that Senator Inhofe's intent was to recognize that our nation's veterans are uncomfortable not saluting our flag, and to recognize that they have earned the right to show their respect for the flag the same way they did while wearing the uniform.
So I believe it would be appropriate for veterans not in uniform to render a hand salute during the playing of TAPS, should they choose to do so.
As a practical matter, I would think it a very risky endeavor to voice an objection to a military salute at a veteran's funeral! (At least in the presence of the veterans I know.)
I hope you find this answer helpful.
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