|March 25th, 2006|
Saluting and Veterans, Military Retired... info
I gathered some 16 of my old military friends who agreed to sponsor
a movement for Veterans to salute rather than place their hands over
their heart when honoring the flag, fallen comrades, and/or the
country. I have some from each of the four principal services. Three
of them were former Vice Chiefs or Assistant Commandants of their
services, and several were former CINC's.
We refer to saluting when we do the pledge to the flag, when the
National Colors pass or are presented, when the National Anthem or
honors are played, or when taps are played and firing squads or guns
render honors. We got MOAA magazine to ask veterans what they
preferred, hand over the heart or saluting. When last I looked, some
583 veteran respondents had voted 81% in favor of the salute. In
addition, my email address was in the questionnaire and I've had
about 150 responses, with all but a dozen or so in favor of the
salute. Obviously an overwhelming majority of the veterans want to
There are no regulations telling us veterans what we can and can't
do in this matter. If we decide we want to salute, who will dare to
tell us "no"?
It is a matter of personal choice. We've earned the right to render
a salute. Now the challenge is to get the word out. I believe the
unit and branch associations are the best way. The commanders of the
American Legion and VFW never answered my emails, presuming they
even got them. If we can get this started it will take on a life of
its own. Those who object can continue the hand over the heart
thing. Gradually the custom will change, as well it should.
Just imagine thousands of fans saluting at NFL, MBA, and Major
League Baseball games when the National Anthem is played. It will
telegraph a message to all others of how many have served this
country in the Armed Forces---it will be a positive and patriotic
You can help by putting the word out in your organizations, which
are made up of patriots like you and me. Thanks, my friend.
I, personally, think this suggestion by MajGen Vern Lewis, USA (Ret.) is a good one. As he points out, there are no regulations regarding veterans and military retirees on this specific issue. It is a matter, therefore, of personal choice, and those still preferring the hand over the heart are not affected.
Those who bring up such things as various forms of civilain attire, naval personnel not saluting indoors/outdoors, covered/uncovered, etc. are confusing the issue that is very simple to begin with. Whether or not a salute would be appropriate in certain/all situations would obviously be within the judgment of the individual.
Again, General Lewis states, in part....
"There are no regulations telling us veterans what we can and can't do in this matter. If we decide we want to salute, who will dare to tell us "no"? It is a matter of personal choice. We've earned the right to render a salute. Now the challenge is to get the word out. I believe the unit and branch associations are the best way. The commanders of the American Legion and VFW never answered my emails, presuming they even got them. If we can get this started it will take on a life of its own. Those who object can continue the hand over the heart thing. Gradually the custom will change, as well it should."
I recall that in boot camp in 1952, we were instructed by one of our DIs, a corporal, on saluting. Among many other things, he pointed out that a salute was basically a form of military greeting, and that it was not uncommon for enlisted Marines to salute other Marines both well beyond the prescribed saluting distance, and in civilian clothes. I have since done so myself on many occasions.
R. W. "Dick" Gaines
GySgt USMC (Ret.)
|March 25th, 2006|
Semper Fi GunnyG.
I was taught in boot camp (Sept 2002) that it is a custom and courtesy that you salute an officer you know, if you are in uniform and he/she is in civilian attire or uniform. As you stated it is a form of military greeting and respect.
As for retirees and former military personnel saluting, I too think it is a matter of personal choice. They are still a part of the service whether retired or not. They served their time and should be allowed the freedom to pay their respects as they see fit.
|March 25th, 2006|
We earned the right ... info
I have a tendency to agree with MajGen Vern Lewis, USA (Ret.) ... for those of us who have spent a lifetime in the service of our country and who have lost comrades in every corner of the world ... the salute is something more than JUST a military tradition ... it's a form of respect that sets us apart from the civilian world.
The fact that we are no longer on active duty changes nothing ... the respect and honor that are owed to those who have gone before us and are no longer here, mandate that we don't forget where we came from.
It is also a good thing to remind those who chose NOT to serve, that there was a price that was paid for their freedoms and who the bill is owed to.
Saluting instead of placing the hand over the heart is a right that I feel we have earned.
I REALIZE THERE ARE THOSE THAT COULDN'T WAIT TO GET OUT OF THE SERVICE ... BUT ... DON'T LET YOUR CHOICE BLIND YOU TO WHAT YOU HAVE ACCOMPLISHED - YOU ARE STILL OWED THE RESPECT YOU EARNED.
|March 26th, 2006|
From what I have seen from several sources thus far--my own messageboards, messageboards where I have posted this info, and other messageboards where others have also posted this info, plus my own e-mail and e-mail from others--the response is overwhelmingly in favor of the hand salute over the hand over heart--both retirees and veterans alike.
I would point out that there is apparently no organized effort as such on this thing, General Lewis has simply sent out e-mail and veterans and retired military responding; some stating that they will introduce the material to their military service organizations, etc. That is, in fact, what the general has suggested. In the event this develops into some sort of unified/organized movement, I would like to know about it, as I do have numerous messageboards/websites online.
Please keep me informed.
|April 19th, 2006|
Nice topic Gunny! That's why I selected it for my first post since returning to our fine community here.
Historians, and I'm sure many DIs and Drill Sergeants and many others besides believe that the origin of the salute goes back to the days of chivalry as a recognition of knightly respect for one warrior to another as well as their superiors and things and places of honor. It probably goes further back than that.
I have always held the salute in such regard and utilize it in that fashion as I see fit. It would be nice, however, if this could be an official policy and thereby sanctioned and the privilege secured. I wish the General well in his campaign and would like to support it in whatever way I could.
Just a personal postscript, do you folks remember my mentioning my friend, Bobby the former Marine sniper I met here working on my house one day and quickly became good friends with? Since pretty much the day I met him he has always greeted me with a smart USMC style salute. By that I mean fast and firm in its delivery. I return it as I do all others - with recognition, a certain amount of appreciation (tailored to the individual and the occasion of course) as well as a real and abiding regard for the act itself. Bobby is long out of the service and will never return. Still he is what he is, a warrior, and I regard him as such.