...in Margaritaville
What I read before heading to the beach...

Veterans - Saluting the flag or Hand over Heart?

Via Seamus, there's a movement brewing for Veterans to be able to salute during the National Anthem or when passing the colors.

Retired Major General Vernon B. Lewis:

I gathered some 16 of my old     military friends who agreed to sponsor a     movement for Veterans     to salute rather than place their hands over their heart     when honoring the flag, fallen     comrades, and/or the country. I have some from each of the     four principal services. Three of them were former Vice Chiefs or Assistant     Commandants of their services, and several were former     CINC's.

We refer     to saluting when we do the pledge to the flag, when the National Colors pass     or are presented, when the National Anthem or honors are played, or when     taps are played and firing squads or guns render     honors.

We got MOAA magazine to ask     veterans what they preferred, hand over the heart or saluting. When last I     looked, some 583 veteran respondents had voted 81% in favor of the salute.     In addition, my email address was in the questionairre and I've had about     150 responses, with all but a dozen or so in favor of the salute. Obviously     an overwhelming majority of the veterans want to     salute.

There are no regulations telling     us veterans what we can and can't do in this matter. If we decide we want to     salute, who will dare to tell us "no"?

It is a matter of personal     choice. We've earned the right to render a salute. Now the challange is to     get the word out. I believe the unit and branch associations are the best     way. The commanders of the American Legion and VFW never answered my emails,     presuming they even got them. If we can get this started it will take on a     life of its own. Those who object can continue the hand over the heart     thing. Gradually the custom will change, as well it     should.

Just imagine thousands of fans     salutiing at NFL, MBA, and Major League Baseball games when the National     Anthem is plalyed. It will telegraph a message to all others of how many     have served this country in the Armed Forces---it will be a positive and     patroitic message.

You can help by putting the word     out in your organizations, which are made up of patriots like you and me.     Thanks, my friend.

Vernon     B.

Now, I'm not so sure how I feel about this.  Before I read this email, I would have said it's a privilege ONLY for those who wear the uniform.  What do you think?

Update 3-23-06:  Russ Vaughn, Viet Nam vet and MilBlog Poet Laureate, sends along his thoughts in poetic form.

My Salute


Who’ll tell this vet he can’t salute?

Whoever does may feel my boot.

I took the oath, I fought the fight,

So who’s to question my earned right?

It’s my decision when and where;

What other’s think I couldn’t care.

I don’t salute for mere effect;

I salute to show my deep respect,

For my fellow warriors and Old Glory;

End of argument, end of story.


Russ Vaughn