New Laws Expand When Veterans May Salute

Do you know the proper conduct when the United States Flag is posted or passes in review, the National Anthem is played or the Pledge of Allegiance is recited?

Congress has expanded Veterans’ rights in federal law in recent years; the most recent was the 2013 change which affected the Pledge of Allegiance.

Respect for the Flag

During the raising or lowering of the flag, when the flag is passing in a parade or in review, and also during the Pledge of Allegiance, there are different courses of action depending on your current status. In the instances mentioned above, all uniformed personnel should render the military salute, and members of the Armed Forces and Veterans who are present, but not in uniform, may also salute. All other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over their heart, or if applicable, remove their headgear with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over their heart. Citizens of other countries present should stand at attention.

During the National Anthem

During the playing or singing of the National Anthem, individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note. Members of the Armed Forces and Veterans who are present, but not in uniform, may also render the military salute. When the flag is not displayed, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed.

For additional information, you may refer to the following sections of United States Code (USC): Title 4 USC Section 4 “Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag”, Title 4 USC Section 9 “Conduct During Hoisting, Lowering or Passing of the Flag”, and Title 36 USC Section 301 “National Anthem”.


By: Lynn M. Peterson