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Honoring our flag

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- June 14 is National Flag Day. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened that day by resolution of the Second Continental Congress in 1777. Title 36 of the United States Code is the official statute on Flag Day; however it is at the President's discretion to proclaim officially the observance. During National Flag Week, the president will issue a proclamation urging U.S. citizens to fly the American flag for the duration of that week.

The flag should also be displayed on all Government buildings. Some organizations hold parades and events in celebration of America's national flag and everything it represents. There is no better symbol of our country's values and traditions than the Flag of the United States of America. It exemplifies the profound commitment to freedom, equality and opportunity. Our flag's proud stars and stripes have long inspired our people. Its beautiful red, white and blue design is known around the world as a beacon of liberty and justice.

As Airmen, our duties go beyond the scope of the ordinary citizen. We willingly put on our uniform to deliver the world from the evils of tyranny and injustice. We are asked to defend democracy not because of our individual beliefs and faith, but because of our nation's faith in freedom and human rights for all citizens of the world.

The President encourages a yearly reflection of our flag but as military and civilians working and living on Patrick AFB, we have the opportunity to render respect to our flag everyday during Reveille and Retreat. As such, I want to take the opportunity to remind us all of the general procedures for rendering proper respect to the U.S. Flag during base Reveille and Retreat.

At Patrick AFB and the Cape, this is normally at 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. When outdoors and in uniform, face the flag (if visible) or face the music. At the first note of Reveille or Retreat, come to the position of Attention and immediately go to the position of Parade Rest. At the first note of the National Anthem or To the Colors, come to the position of attention and render the salute. Drop your salute after the last note is played, or when the flag has been fully raised or lowered. When in civilian clothes and outdoors, stand at attention and place your right hand (with a hat if wearing one) over your heart.

If driving a vehicle, safely come to a complete stop and sit quietly until the music comes to an end. Personnel participating in a PT activity or event (individual or unit) will stop upon the first note of music and render the proper respect to the flag. Personnel performing official duties (e.g. emergency responses, certain maintenance tasks, refueling, or cargo movement) should not compromise safety to render honors. Use common sense, work experience and best judgment as you attempt to comply with the spirit and intent of rendering honor and respect to our national symbol, an obligation that should only be overridden when absolutely necessary.

Our culture demands that we always take the time to render proper respect to our flag. In doing so, I hope you reflect on those who paid the ultimate price for our liberty and freedom and strengthen your patriotic and moral conscience.