Veterans May Now
Salute the Flag

U.S. Veterans May Now Salute Old Glory

U.S. veterans may now salute the flag, thanks to the efforts of U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.). Inhofe's Senate Bill 1877 passed by unanimous consent, clarifying U.S. law to allow veterans and servicemen not in uniform to salute the flag. Previous law (US Code Title 4, Chapter 1) states that veterans and servicemen not in uniform should place their hand over their heart without clarifying whether they can or should salute the flag.



The new legislation removes the confusion and makes it clear that veterans and service members not in uniform may render the military salute.

"The salute is a form of honor and respect, representing pride in one’s military service," Senator Inhofe said. "Veterans and service members continue representing the military services even when not in uniform.

"I look forward to seeing those who have served saluting proudly at baseball games, parades, and formal events. I believe this is an appropriate way to honor and recognize the 25 million veterans in the United States who have served in the military and remain as role models to other citizens. Those who are currently serving or have served in the military have earned this right, and their recognition will be an inspiration to others."

We're pleased to report that provision was included in the Defense Authorization Act of 2008, signed by President Bush in January. Here is the language, taken directly from the Act:


SEC. 594. CONDUCT BY MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES AND VETERANS OUT OF UNIFORM DURING HOISTING, LOWERING, OR PASSING OF UNITED STATES FLAG.

Section 9 of title 4, United States Code, is amended by striking 'all persons present' and all that follows through the end of the section and inserting the following: 'all persons present in uniform should render the military salute. 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. Citizens of other countries present should stand at attention. All such conduct toward the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes.'



So there you have it. To many veterans and service members not in uniform, it "feels" disrespectful to not render the salute they are accustomed to when the flag is presented. The new legislation explicitly gives them the option to do so.

Now, when you are in a public place, such as a parade or ball game, and you see civilians saluting the flag, at the appropriate time, take a moment to thank them for their service.

Return to top of Veterans May Salute the Flag.





Questions or Comments?

We think this is a piece of legislation whose time has come. We know it feels a bit uncomfortable for veterans to NOT render a salute when the American flag is presented.

Have questions or comments about this change, or the appropriate flag etiquette? Ask them here.

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Your Comments and Questions



Click on the links below to read comments and questions from other readers ...

Removal of Headdress Required When Saluting the Flag? 
Michael writes: I am having difficulty finding whether or not active duty and veterans are required to remove headdress while not in uniform and rendering …

Present Flags to Veterans Before They Die 
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Retired Military Saluting the Flag 
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 …

Can former Navy Reservist not in uniform salute the Flag? 
As a former Naval Reservist, I never served on Active Duty other than the annual 2 weeks of ACDUTRA. For the purposes of saluting the FLAG, am I considered …

Public Announcements for Saluting the Flag 
The law allowing veterans to salute the flag was passed in 2008 and is still not widely known or acted upon. At public events, I would like to hear …

Saluting the Flag by Junior Service Organizations 
Charles writes: I am teaching a junior color guard (ages 7 thru 14) how to post colors and present colors at an AMVETs state meeting. Are the juniors …

When is it Appropriate for Veterans to Salute? 
When is it appropriate for veterans to salute? The U.S. Code title quoted in this article is: SEC. 594. CONDUCT BY MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES AND …

Saluting During Pledge of Allegience 
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Proud to Salute Our Flag 
Having served in the US Army during the 1967-70 years of societal upheaval and protest against the war in Viet Nam, and the spread of that unrest to include …

What is the definition of a veteran? 
Many of us served in the National Guard or Reserves. Are we considered veterans in this case, authorizing us to salute the flag along with other veterans? …

Saluting the Flag Out of Uniform and Indoors?? 
Inside a building, out of uniform, can a veteran still salute the flag, or is it proper to place your hand over your heart? Showing your respect …

Saluting While in Ranks 
What is the proper response (salute or hand over the heart) to ceremony that ought to require a salute, by those in attendance at a meeting or convention …

Earned the right to salute the flag 
I don't really care what the regulations state regarding saluting of our Flag. I fought for it, I'll salute it. Seems fairly simple to me. The …

special dispensation for saluting the flag? 
A reader asks: I know a veteran in my town who states that he was given a special dispensation for saluting the flag from someone at Luke Air Force …

PROPER SALUTING WHEN OUT OF UNIFORM??? 
I AM RETIRED FROM THE ARMY AND THINK IT IS ABOUT TIME THAT WE ARE ALLOWED TO SALUTE THE FLAG WHEN OUT OF UNIFORM. I belong to an organization that …

Obama Saluting the Flag? 
Is it legal for Obama to render a salute, either to the flag or in response to a salute from a military person? I've seen pictures of him saluting. …

Veterans Salute the Flag
Covered or Not?
 
Jim writes: When a veteran salutes the flag during the National Anthem must they be covered or can they be uncovered - hats or no hats? …

Civilians Saluting the Flag? 
I read your comment at Veterans Salute the Flag , "Now, when you are in a public place, such as a parade or ball game, and you see civilians saluting …

Presidential Salute 
John writes: I saw President Obama render a military salute when honoring KIAs at Dover AFB. He is a civilian in civilian clothes. He is not a veteran. …

Non-Combat Veterans' Service is Vital to Our Military Not rated yet
For the longest time I didn't consider myself a Veteran, because I didn't serve during war time, 1981-1984. I come from families that served during wars …

Should Non-Military Members of Veterans Organizations Salute? Not rated yet
As a non-military member of a veterans organization (Sons of the American Legion), I was told that a hand salute to the flag at meetings is appropriate. …

We Honor Those Who Serve (or Have Served) When We Salute Not rated yet
We who are the descendants of the Greatest Generation, and who, by our Duty to The Lord GOD ALMIGHTY and America, also wore the uniform of our great Nation …

Can You Salute the Flag AND Recite the Pledge? Not rated yet
Bonnie writes: Ok, I understand that if you served in the military you can salute the flag. But are you also to follow the rules for those in the military? …

Indoor Salute Not rated yet
Brian writes: Recently, at the opening of a board meeting, one of the Directors decided to display a full military salute during the Pledge of Allegiance. …

Click here to write your own.

Military Salute During Playing of TAPS by Veterans Not in Uniform Not rated yet
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Honoring Veterans Not rated yet
As a member of the US Veterans' Corps, I am thrilled that we once again have the honor, duty, and privilege, to salute our country's colors, to which …

Salute the Flag Indoors? Not rated yet
I believe this is a good thing but have to ask -- Does this mean a veteran should salute the flag INDOORS? I was taught one does not salute indoors …

Honor the Flag Not rated yet
I think it is great that veterans can now honor the flag in this way. Now if we could only have parents teach their kids to stand and face the Stars …

Veterans Saluting the Flag Not rated yet
I am a proud veteran of the 9th infantry division, U.S. Army. I do not think it is appropriate to salute when not in uniform. I feel that that honor …

Non-US Citizen Veterans Not rated yet
So, according to this ACT, what are non US citizen Veterans to do? Are non-US citizen servicemen or women free to do as they wish? Stand at attention only, …

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