Retired Military Saluting the Flag

by Richard D, Hall
(Hutchinson, Kansas)

Since President Bush signed the bill allowing retired military and other veterans to salute the flag with a proper military salute, I have always done this.

I was told last week that only veterans having served in combat are allowed this privilege of saluting our flag.

Please set the record straight for me.

Thank You,

Richard D. Hall
CUCM retired

Dear Master Chief Hall,

Thank you for your many years of service to our country.

Whoever told you that only combat veterans were allowed to salute our flag was just "blowing smoke." It's hard to imagine someone being so petty as to distinguish between "veterans" and "combat veterans" when it comes to saluting our flag.

I am a veteran, and my husband is a Vietnam combat veteran, and on appropriate occasions, we both render a military salute to the flag under which we served.

The law specifically says,

Members of the Armed Forces and veterans
who are present but not in uniform
may render the military salute.

That includes ALL veterans, combat or not. It is an honor and a privilege you have earned with your service to this great nation and her flag.

So whenever appropriate, feel free to salute Old Glory. You've earned it.

Thank you for joining our conversation and helping to clear up this question for our readers.

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Saluting at the Ballpark...
by: Philip

I read the says that a veteran can salute at the raising, lowering and passing of the flag. So is it acceptable to salute the flag during the National Anthem at a Ballpark? and where does it say that?



Philip, thank you for your service.

The NDAA of 2014 added the following language:

"Members of the Armed Forces not in uniform and veterans may render the military salute in the manner provided for persons in uniform."

I read that as saying "If you would salute when in uniform, it would be appropriate for you to do the same in civvies."

Saluting the Flag
by: Anonymous

I have served in the military from 1970 to 2008. It is confusing as to whether or not I can salute to the Pledge of Allegiance. U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla) says we can. Other documents say we can not.

I am constantly taking flack because I salute during Pledge of Allegiance. It would be nice if there was a clear document stating whether I can or cannot do so.

Told Not to Salute the Flag at VFW Meeting
by: Anonymous

I went to the VFW meeting and I have my hat on (said retired Army) and I salute the flag.

I was told that I cannot salute the flag, it was improper to salute the flag.

I served my country. I am a veteran of Viet Nam.

Is that true I cannot salute the flag with my hat on? Can you give me an answer?

The exact language of the act 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.)

From this language, it appears to be acceptable for veterans not in uniform to 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.

You may want to print this page and take it with you to the next VFW meeting: Veterans Salute the Flag

Thank you for your service, and Welcome Home.

Retired Military Saluting During the Pledge of Allegiance
by: Skip Mason

I like the new rule and as a retired Air Force veteran am proud to render the military salute. I do, however, have a question.

I see some veterans holding the military salute while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and others changing to the civilian-hand-over-the-heart to recite the Pledge.

Which is correct? Or is either way acceptable?

Skip, I'm not really sure there's a hard-and-fast rule, but my take is that the purpose of the law is to allow veterans to render the military salute in situations where they would be accustomed to doing so if in uniform.

I don't recall those in uniform saluting during the Pledge of Allegiance, so I would think the hand-over-heart would be the appropriate gesture.

Maybe someone else will have a different thought.

Saluting the flag
by: Jim Brown

I have served in the Navy and the Air Force. I will salute the flag in or out of my uniform !

Jim, thank you for your service.

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