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Rendering Honor To The Flag


The flag of the United States is the symbol of our nation. The union, white stars on a field of blue, is the honor point of the flag. The union of the flag and the flag itself, when in company with other flags, are always given the honor position, which is on the right. The rules for displaying the flag are contained in AR 840-10, Heraldic Activities-Flags, Guidons, Streamers, Tabards, and Automobile and Aircraft Plates. Some of the rules for displaying the flag are as follows:

  • All Army installations will display the flag of the United States outdoors.
  • Continental United States (CONUS) Army installations will fly only one flag of the United States at a time except as authorized by the commanding generals of major Army commands.
  • Installations will display the flag daily from reveille to retreat.
  • When a number of flags are displayed from staffs set in a line, the flag of the United States will be at the right; to the left of an observer facing the display. If no foreign national flags are present, the flag of the United States may be placed at the center of the line providing it is displayed at a higher level.
  • When the flag of the United States is displayed with state flags, all of the state flags will be of comparable size.

When the flag is being raised in the morning, you should stand at attention on the first note of “Reveille” and salute. In the evening “Retreat” is played prior to “To the Colors.” (“Colors” refer to the flag of the United States and can also include the unit flag). When you hear the first note of “Retreat” come to the position of attention and face the flag (or the direction the music is coming from if the flag is not visible). Render the hand salute at the first note of “To the Colors.” You normally face the flag when saluting, unless duty requires you to face in some other direction. At the conclusion of the music, resume your regular duties. If you are involved in some duty that would be hampered by saluting, you do not need to salute.

When in a formation or a group, the senior soldier present will call the group to “Attention” and then “Parade, Rest” at the first note of “Retreat.” That soldier will then call the group to “Attention” and “Present, Arms” at the first note of “To the Colors” and then “Order, Arms” at the conclusion. When in civilian clothing, the only change is to place your right hand over your heart instead of saluting. Vehicles in motion should stop. If you are in a car or on a motorcycle, dismount and salute. If you are with a group in a military vehicle or bus, remain in the vehicle. The individual in charge will dismount and salute. These honors also apply to the national anthems of foreign countries during ceremonies or parades.

When you are passing or being passed by colors that are being presented, paraded, or displayed, salute when the colors are six paces from you. Hold the salute until the colors are six paces beyond you.

The Pledge of Allegiance is not recited in military formations or in military ceremonies. At other functions where the Pledge of Allegiance is recited, a soldier in uniform silently stands at attention facing the flag and renders the hand salute if outdoors. Indoors a soldier in uniform silently stands at attention facing the flag. Where other participants are primarily civilians or in civilian attire, soldiers in uniform indoors may recite the pledge if they desire. A soldier in civilian clothing recites the pledge while standing at attention, facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Male soldiers should remove headgear with their right hand and hold it over the left shoulder so that the right hand is over the heart.

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