Thursday, October 30, 2008

New law: Veterans can now render the military-style hand salute during the playing of the national anthem



WASHINGTON (Oct. 30, 2008) -- Veterans and active-duty military not in uniform can now render the military-style hand salute during the playing of the national anthem, thanks to changes in federal law that took effect this month.

"The military salute is a unique gesture of respect that marks those who have served in our nation's armed forces," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake. "This provision allows the application of that honor in all events involving our nation's flag."

The new provision improves upon a little known change in federal law
last year that authorized veterans to render the military-style hand
salute during the raising, lowering or passing of the flag, but it did
not address salutes during the national anthem. Last year's provision also applied to members of the armed forces while not in uniform.

Traditionally, members of the nation's veterans service organizations have rendered the hand-salute during the national anthem and at events involving the national flag while wearing their organization's official head-gear.

The most recent change, authorizing hand-salutes during the national
anthem by veterans and out-of-uniform military personnel, was sponsored by Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, an Army veteran. It was included in the Defense Authorization Act of 2009, which President Bush signed on Oct.
14.

The earlier provision authorizing hand-salutes for veterans and
out-of-uniform military personnel during the raising, lowering or
passing of the flag, was contained in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008, which took effect Jan. 28, 2008.

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SEC. 595. MILITARY SALUTE FOR THE FLAG DURING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM BY MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES NOT IN UNIFORM AND BY VETERANS.

Section 301(b)(1) of title 36, United States Code, is
amended by striking subparagraphs (A) through (C) and inserting the
following new subparagraphs:


`(A) individuals in uniform should give the
military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that
position until the last note;


`(B) members of the Armed Forces and veterans who
are present but not in uniform may render the military salute in the
manner provided for individuals in uniform; and


`(C) all other persons present should face the flag
and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men
not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their headdress with their
right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the
heart; and'.