An Interesting Article by Rear Admiral S. Frank Gallo, USN (ret) From the pages of the Shipmate Forum:
Of late, a number of my retired friends and I have talked about veterans saluting instead of placing their hand over their heart when the national anthem is played, the pledge of allegiance is recited, the national colors pass in review or are posted, honors are rendered, or when Taps is played while salutes are fired at military funerals. The hand over the heart has simply been a custom. For military folks, saluting uncovered or indoors seems a bit unnatural, but somehow the hand over the heart never felt comfortable. For us, it was more natural to salute, plus we felt we had earned the right to salute if we wanted.
Now we are in yet another shooting war, adding new veterans every day. If the hand-over-the-heart custom is to ever be changed for us, now would be as good a time as any. We feel that thousands of veterans saluting at NFL, MLB and/or NBA games while the national anthem is being played would send a patriotic message to the crowd and perhaps the TV audience. It would be visual evidence of how many have served, all still patriots if they are saluting a fact otherwise unknown.
Recently a poll was conducted in the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) monthly magazine, prompted by an Army friend of mine, Major General Vernon B. Lewis, USA (ret). General Lewis wanted to see if other veterans agreed that the hand salute was a more appropriate way for veterans to honor the flag, fallen comrades and our country. His e-mail address was included in the poll.
Several hundred veterans responded electronically to the MOAA poll, with over 80 percent favoring the salute over the hand-on-the-heart method of showing respect. General Lewis received over 100 e-mails that reflected an even greater percentage of salute approvals. So it seems apparent that the vast majority of veterans feel more comfortable with the salute. I know I do. Those who oppose the idea could certainly continue the former method. It is a matter of the heart, pride, and personal choice. MOAA, of course, is officers association, but I find it difficult to believe the enlisted veterans would feel any differently.
Veterans are by and large a proud and patriotic group of Americans. Most want to share their love of flag and country with others. So the sponsors have decided to encourage other veterans to salute if they are comfortable doing so, and to spread the word through unit organizations, associations, and veterans publications. We believe this movement will pick up momentum and proliferate and very soon have a life of its own. We welcome the help of all vets in their own organizations and circles.
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