Change is made to US Flag Code

Thursday, October 16, 2008

In January of this year, a slight change was made to the United States Flag Code that concerns veterans of all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.

"Some veterans might not have a TV or computer to get this type of information," said CMSgt. Richard A. Carney, who is retired from the U.S. Air Force. "I received a letter from Congressman Roy Blunt's office and wanted to share it."

The change, which is included in the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act, allows service members, military retirees and veterans out of uniform to render a hand salute during the hoisting, lowering or passing of the Flag of the United States of America. Prior to the change, only veterans in uniform were allowed to salute the flag.

"Before, when saluting the flag, everybody put their hand over their heart," said Carney. "Now, if you are a veteran, you can either salute the old way or stand at attention and salute military style."

The amendment does not address saluting the flag during the playing of the national anthem, pledge of allegiance, honors or any other saluting situation.

"Small things like this mean a lot to veterans," said CMSgt. William Maloney, a 28-year veteran of the United States Air Force. Maloney read about the Flag Code change in the September/October edition of Sergeants Magazine.

"I'm proud of this country," said Maloney. "Some people might not be aware that when the flag passes now all veterans can salute."

Individuals who are not past or present members of the United States Armed Forces should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over their heart or remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder with the hand over the heart. Citizens of other countries should stand at attention.

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