Showing respect for our U.S. flag

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Chris Attrill
  • 92nd Operations Group First Sergeant
I have recently pondered whether the phrase "respect for the flag" still has a strong meaning at Fairchild. I have observed few people stop and pay the proper courtesy or respect during the playing of reveille, retreat and taps. I understand some people may think they are too busy to render honors. Some may believe that nobody is watching them, so why bother. I ask that everyone please remember that our flag is far more than just a symbol of our nation; it also represents all our fallen brothers and sisters from the past 200 years. So as a reminder, you should do the following to show respect to the flag:

- When people not assigned to a formation are outdoors and in uniform (to include the Air Force Fitness Uniform), on the first note of "Reveille" or "Retreat" they will stop, face the flag (if visible) or music and assume the position of parade rest.

- Upon the first note of the "Star Spangled Banner" or "To the Colors," all personnel in uniform who are not in formation will come to attention and salute. They may drop the salute at the last note of music.

- When in civilian clothes face the flag (or the sound of the music if the flag is not visible) and stand at attention with the right hand placed over the heart.

- All vehicles in motion should come to a stop at the first note of the music and the occupants should sit quietly until the music ends.

- If indoors during retreat or reveille, there is no need to stand or salute. However, everyone must stand and render the appropriate honors during the playing of the national anthem before a showing of a movie while in the base theater. Additionally, you are not required to take action if you hear the music over the television or radio or if you pass a folded (cased) flag.

I recognize that it is not always possible to hear the music playing, especially if you are in a vehicle However, if you see pedestrians stopped and standing at parade rest or at attention or if they are saluting you should stop your vehicle and render the proper respect. It is ultimately your responsibility to know that at Fairchild, Reveille plays at 6:30 a.m. and Retreat plays at 5 p.m.

Paying respect to the flag is just one part of our American culture and Air Force heritage. Remember to honor those who have gone before us in defense of our freedom by showing respect to the symbol of our nation--our flag.