Sunday, November 16, 2008
United States veterans and active duty personnel 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 in October when President Bush signed the Defense Authorization Act of 2009.
"The military salute is a unique gesture of respect that marks those who have served in our nation's armed forces," said Dr. James B. Peake, secretary of Veterans Affairs. "This provision allows the application of that honor in all events involving our nation's flag."
Changes in federal law last year, contained in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008, authorized active duty personnel not in uniform and veterans to render the military-style hand salute during the raising, lowering or passing of the flag, but did not address salutes during the national anthem.
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.