My grandfather is a veteran of World War I, my father is a veteran of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. My uncle is also a veteran of World War II and witnessed the secret detonation of the first nuclear bomb. I am a veteran, three of my sons are veterans; two of which served and continue to serve during Operation Iraq Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
Our family has a long, proud history of honorably serving our country in the United States Military. We, alongside thousands of others, have stepped into the breach to defend our country and support freedom around the world. Many, unfortunately, have never returned home. Of those that did, some were carried under a folded flag, some bearing wounds of battle both visible and hidden. They all had one thing in common: a love for this country and what it stands for – FREEDOM! The United States of America is the greatest country to have ever existed in the history of the world! If America ever falls, where will people go who desire the freedoms we represent?
Our Nation’s flag, Old Glory, the Red White and Blue, the Stars and Stripes, the Star Spangled Banner has an honored history and deserves the proper respect when displayed or paraded. Unfortunately, as I have witnessed at many public ceremonies, there are some Americans who simply don’t know what to do when the flag is displayed. So here is a simple abbreviated guide taken from Title 4 of the United States Code. I urge you to read the entire code which can be found at
When asked to say the Pledge of Allegiance, stand at attention, facing the flag with your right hand over your heart. Remove any hat or cap (religious headgear exempted). Persons in uniform should render a military salute.
During a parade, when the flag approaches your location, you should act the same way as above for the Pledge of Allegiance, until the flag has passed by. Members of the Armed Forces and veterans, in uniform or not, should render a military salute.
When the National Anthem begins, you should again, as during the Pledge of Allegiance, remove any headgear, stand at attention and place your right hand over your heart. Those in uniform, members of the Armed Forces and veterans, in uniform or not, should render a military salute at the first note of music and hold it until the last note.
This past weekend I had the privilege of attending the Wounded Wear “Jump for a Purpose” event in Suffolk, which was founded by Jason Redman, US Navy Seal (Ret). This annual charity event made it possible for Gold Star family members and wounded veterans to experience skydiving as a way to help in the healing process. During the opening ceremonies, a tough old veteran, Major Joseph Jacobs (Ret.) asked all veterans, in uniform or not, to please consider rendering the military salute when appropriate. Doing so will give honor to your military service and let those around you see how many of us there are! May God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America!