Saluting During Pledge of Allegience

by JimB

The code has been changed to permit veterans out of uniform to salute the flag "during hoisting, lowering or passing". But it does not address saluting during the Pledge of Allegience.

Although the code change would make one think it is ok to salute during the Pledge, the code does seem to make a distinction between what to do when the flag is being hoisted, lowered or passing and during the Pledge. Is it ok for an out of uniform Vet to salute during the Pledge, or is the hand over heart still protocol?

Jim, thanks for your question. Since the original code change that pertained to situations in which the flag was being hoisted, lowered, or passing, the change has also been made applicable when the National Anthem is played.

While we found no direct authority for it, it seems as though Congress intended to permit veterans to render the military hand salute in the same situations in which they would have done so while in uniform.

So our interpretation is that saluting during recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance would be appropriate, should you wish to do so.

Remember that the new changes are permissible, not required, and if you are uncomfortable with whether saluting is the proper response, it is always appropriate to place your hand over your heart (after removing any non-religious headgear).

Thank you for your participation in our discussion.

Readers, what do you think about veterans saluting during the Pledge of Allegiance?

Comments for Saluting During Pledge of Allegience

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Oath vs Pledge
by: Anonymous

Old historic protocol was that military members in uniform never recited the pledge, as their oath was a) of a higher nature and more binding than the pledge and b) for life.

Veterans Salute during the Pledge of Allegiance

Please be advised clarification as to saluting to the flag during the Pledge of Allegiance has been clarified by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014 (NDAA2014). U.S. Code "Title 4 Section 4 - Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag; Manner of Delivery" has been amended by NDAA2014 SEC. 586.


Section 4 of title 4, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new sentence:

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

Therefore, if a veteran not in uniform chooses salute during the Pledge of Allegiance, they must stand at attention, salute, and remain silent during the pledge. Links provided below.

Thank you all for your service.


Title 4:


Salute while covered in a Veterans Cover during the Pledge and National Anthem
by: Tom Snee

There are many, many Veteran Organizations in the United States. Many have non-religious affiliation "head dress" or hats that are affiliated with their particular Veterans Service Organization. i.e. Fleet Reserve Association, American Legion, VFW, etc.

During the recitation of the Pledge/National Anthem, is it proper for those members to keep their association covers on while rendering a salute? I am the Nat' Exec Dir for the Fleet Reserve Association. Thank you.

Tom Snee

Tom, I see no reason why it would not be proper. Language added to the law in the NDAA for 2014 provides:

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

Since military members in uniform salute while covered, it follows that members of veterans organizations should be permitted to salute while wearing the head cover of the organization.

In my view, that's far more appropriate than saluting while wearing a ballcap!

Salute and remain silent
by: Cliff USA Retired

While I understand the intent of allowing veterans not in uniform to salute the flag, there are a few things one must remember:
1. The hand salute is rendered while covered
2. The flag Code specifically states that if the hand salute is rendered during the Pledge of Allegiance, you should remain SILENT,
3. Vets saluting while out of uniform is a priviledge earned, however to the uneducated public it can be interpreted as allowing everyone to salute.
4. Congrats to the Marine Commandant for his stand on this
5. Now he needs to tell the Marines to either Recite the pledge, OR render the Hand salute NOT BOTH at the same time.

Pledge of allegiance
by: Anonymous

As a former marine I was taught to never salute without a cover. I know a few of the other branches do.

I choose to stand at attention and recite the Pledge.

by: USMC65-69

When we Veterans swore an Oath of Allegance to the USA there WASN'T an EXPIRATION DATE!!!!

Saluting During the Pledge of Allegiance
by: Anonymous

I was glad to see the US Code amended to allow veterans to salute the US flag. However, it did not specify saluting while giving the Pledge of Allegiance. I believe this to be correct because, in all my time in the military, I do not remember once saying the Pledge of Allegiance while in uniform.

We swore to uphold the Constitution of the U.S. when we raised our right hand, but that was it. Perhaps this should be clarified in the US Code.

Talking at Attention
by: Proud AF Vet

I do not wish to disagree with your comment, but we are allowed to speak while rendering a salute. For example - while greeting a superior or inferior in rank a verbal greeting maybe exchanged, or when reporting your post to a duty officer, reporting to an officer for your duty assignment and lastly, while issuing certain commands during official ceremonies.

I have been retired for over twenty plus years, and if there have been changes to our code of conduct, then I shall willingly stand corrected.

I wish to express my deepest gratitude and thanks to all of my fellow veterans, may all of you be blessed!!

Proud AF Vet, please do not hesitate to disagree with me! I don't pretend to have all the answers, and I welcome your input.

Thank you for your service. If you've been retired for 20+ years, I'm guessing you are a Vietnam vet, so Welcome Home!

Pledge of Allegience
by: Anonymous

The US Code specifies that military personal in uniform salute but not recite the Pledge of Allegiance, I would presume that would apply to personal (active, vets, retired) also. That seems awkward, and I have observed veterans at a patriotic organization salute and recite the pledge.

I wish the issue would be clarified through legislation.

How to Salute the Flag?
by: NPSeeley

Out of curiosity, if one is a right-hand/arm amputee, what is the proper protocol for saluting the flag? Do you use your left hand, reach toward the salute position (or toward the heart) with the remaining stump, or just stand at attention?

I'm afraid I don't have an answer for this one. Readers? What say you?

Saluting During Pledge of Allegiance
by: Anonymous

So you don't salute during the playing of the national anthem if you sing it?

As a Navy vet, it will be more uncomfortable saluting uncovered. But I think the new law gives us the freedom to render respect as our comfort dictates.

We can place our hands over our heart or salute. I will salute. I want the people of our nation that have not served, to see the few that have served in relation to the crowd.

As to foreign veterans and Guardsman, Reservists. I feel anyone who has pledged to defend this Nation and preserve our constitution against foreign or domestic enemies has the right to render a salute as they feel comfortable.

Although I was honorably discharged from service I still feel obligated to the oath, with God's help, to defend this Nation.

Anon, I think you've just summed up the feeling of many of our nation's veterans. Thank you for your service.

Talking at Attention?
by: Anonymous

Since you can't talk at attention, and you have to be at attention to salute, I'd say you can't say the pledge of allegiance while saluting.

Good catch, Anon! I didn't even think about that. You got me.

Thanks for taking the time to participate in our discussion and share your thoughts.

by: captscooter

Under this new law are veterans allowed to salute during the playing of Taps at a military rites funeral?

The new law does not address the playing of Taps. It addresses only "hoisting, lowering or passing" of the flag.

However, I believe the intent of the law was/is to permit veterans to show the same respect for our nation's flag as they did while actively serving.

Using that analogy, I would think it would be acceptable (and probably welcomed) for you to salute during the playing of Taps, as a symbol of respect for the service of the member being laid to rest.

If you were in uniform, you would salute during the playing of Taps, so I believe it would be a proper show of respect for you to salute in civilian clothes as well.

And anyone who has the nerve to object should be promptly escorted away from the service, before the other veterans present beat him/her to a bloody pulp!

Army Vet
by: Anonymous

As an Army Vet, I can't comprehend that it takes a law to tell all of my Brothers and Sisters who have served in the past, or are serving now, and have have fought and died for that right to salute our Flag, that it is okay to do so when out of uniform.

All gave some, and some gave all.

Why does it take a law to tell us it's okay? So what if we are out of uniform. I for one will always render a hand salute to our Nation's Flag. If someone objects or is offended, too bad. Just don't let me hear your objection.

May God Bless America and all of our Troops whereever they may be.

We Earned that RIGHT!
by: Deepseadiver100

Yes, we earned that right to Salute the Ensign, (flag) during the National Anthem, or any function that involves our Nations Defense.

We have defended our Nation's Freedom in ways people may not understand. Not in our own country, (God Bless the National Guard) and overseas.

Yes, we earned that right!

Saluting the Flag
by: Navy Vet

As Veterans Day approaches, our church is planning a salute to veterans.

While most vets that I have talked to are unaware of the law in 2008 and updated in the Defense Authorization Act of 2009, which was signed by President Bush on Oct. 14th, we will be informing all in attendance of the law.

by: bonz pgr

I am a female Army Veteran that salutes at just about everything.

My dad was a WWII MARINE and instilled patriotism in our family....I may be the only person at a sports function that salutes. I don't feel weird or out of place.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Questions or Comments About Saluting the Flag?.

If you didn't find what you're looking for, use the search bar below to search the site:

Connect With Us

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Subscribe to our e-mail updates Subscribe to our RSS feed

As Seen In

Newest Articles