1. Charles Marke
    May 23, 2018 @ 6:00 PM

    If a veteran has a baseball cap on (not service related – civies) and wishes to salute during the anthem, does he/she leave said cap on?
    Thanks for your time. CJM USArmy 71 – 74


    • davidegrogan
      May 30, 2018 @ 7:27 PM

      Charles – First off, thanks for your service in the Army! Second, here’s how I would analyze your question. The statute governing salutes addresses three situations. First are individuals in uniform, which is clear. Second are veterans not in uniform who choose to salute. This provision makes no mention of taking off your hat if you are wearing one before you salute. The third section addresses veterans who desire to place their right hands over their hearts. It specifically says, if you are wearing a hat, take it off. Given that, you can presume that if Congress intended for you to take off your hat in the salute situation, they would have said so in the statute. That said, I would look at it as an issue of respect in that it seems more respectful to remove caps when not in uniform before saluting. No one will question you if you take off a baseball cap and render a salute. They will view it as a sign of respect. Someone may question you if you salute while wearing a baseball cap, especially if the cap is not in the best condition. So, my advice – whether you render the salute or put your right hand across your heart, remove your baseball cap. Thanks for the question! V/r, Dave Grogan


      • no
        November 4, 2018 @ 12:18 AM

        Marines do not salute uncovered – active or veteran.


        • davidegrogan
          June 8, 2019 @ 8:22 AM

          That is a perfectly reasonable position to take. The most important part is simply showing respect for the flag.


  2. Kristin
    June 5, 2019 @ 3:55 PM

    Thank you for your expert advice in this article. I was taught to stand at attention and not put hand over heart, the hand over heart was for Pledge. I am not sure why I got this message, perhaps it was an instance where there was no flag? Now I can’t think of a time I have been present for the anthem without a flag also present. For a civilian at a sporting or other event where the anthem is sung or played pre-recorded, is it safe to say just always place hand over heart? And if you’re a lefty is it okay to use left hand?


    • davidegrogan
      June 8, 2019 @ 8:17 AM

      Thanks for your comment! As a civilian, you should place your right hand over your heart. The federal statute does not allow the left hand to be used, so you should use your right hand. I hope that helps!


  3. Mike
    June 6, 2019 @ 1:46 PM

    Thanks for referencing the code and providing some interpretations for those who are no longer active duty.

    I think I’ll continue to stand at the position of attention when the anthem is played, or when a salute would typically be rendered. As the other poster mentioned, Marines (and Sailors) don’t render a salute when uncovered. Old habits die hard I suppose.



  4. davidegrogan
    June 8, 2019 @ 8:18 AM

    Mike – I’m with you. I just can’t render a salute when I’m uncovered and not in uniform.


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