Removal of Headdress Required When Saluting the Flag?
by Michael W. Horvatin
I am having difficulty finding whether or not active duty and veterans are required to remove headdress while not in uniform and rendering the military salute. Can you clarify this for me?
Michael W. Horvatin, MSgt, USAF (ret)
MSgt, thank you for your service.
We have not seen it formally spelled out anywhere. The exact language of the statute reads:
"Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute.
"All other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart." (Emphasis added.)
Based on this language, it seems that veterans not in uniform may render a military salute whether or not they are covered. And since it says, "all others" should remove their (covers), that seems to say it's acceptable for veterans who are saluting the flag to remain covered while doing so, but it is not necessary for them to be covered.
Does that help to clarify the issue for you? We believe the intent of Congress was to permit veterans to continue to show their respect for the flag in the same ways they did while in uniform.
So just ask yourself, "How would I act in this situation if I were in uniform?" In uniform, you would not remove your headdress to salute, so we don't believe it's necessary in this situation, either.
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