Respect for the United States Flag

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- As a first sergeant, I am charged with maintaining customs and courtesies. Recently I have observed during the playing reveille, retreat and taps very few people are paying the proper respect. As a reminder, you should do the following to show respect to the flag:
All personnel in uniform and outdoors must face the flag and salute during the raising and lowering of the flag. Upon the first note of the national anthem or "To the Colors," all personnel in uniform who are not in formation should stand and face the flag (or the sound of the music, if the flag is not visible) and salute. Hold the salute until the last note of the music is played.

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.

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.

If indoors during retreat or reveille, there is no need to stand or salute. However, everyone must stand during the playing of the national anthem before a showing of a movie while in the base theater. When listening to a radio or watching television, no specific action is necessary. Additionally, a folded flag is considered cased; therefore, a salute is not necessary.

I understand that it is not always possible to hear the music being played if you are in a vehicle as it is played very quietly here at Fairchild to reduce disturbances to our nearby off-base neighbors. However if you see pedestrians stopped, at attention or saluting you should stop your vehicle and render the proper respect.

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