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Oppose Proposed Flag Code Change

NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE AMERICAN LEGION
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA October 17-18, 2007 Resolution No. 2: Oppose Proposed Flag Code Change — Conduct During Hoisting, Lowering Or Passing Of The Flag

Submitted by: Americanism Commission

WHEREAS, The American Legion is recognized as one of the country's foremost authorities on the proper display of the United States flag; and

WHEREAS, Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 9, United States Code currently states, "During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in a parade or in review, all persons present except those in uniform should face the flag and stand at attention with the right hand over the heart. Those present in uniform should render the military salute. When not in uniform, men should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Aliens should stand at attention. The salute to the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes"; and

WHEREAS, Congressional legislation proposes to change Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 9, United States Code to read: "During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in a parade or in review, those present in uniform should render the military salute. Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute. All other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Citizens of other countries should stand at attention. All such conduct toward the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes"; and

WHEREAS, The American Legion appreciates the sincere intent of the proposed legislation to recognize all veterans by authorizing the military salute as an option to the traditional means of honoring the flag by placing the right hand over the heart; and

WHEREAS, Military regulations would also have to be changed, which currently specify that members not in uniform face the flag and stand at attention with the right hand over the heart, if covered, men shall remove the headdress and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart; and

WHEREAS, Title 36, United States Code, Chapter 1, Section 4 states, "The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag" should be rendered by standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. When not in uniform men should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should remain silent, face the flag, and render the military salute; and

WHEREAS, Title 36, United States Code, Chapter 3, Section 301 states, "During a rendition of the National Anthem when the flag is displayed all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart; men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold the headdress at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart; and individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note", which would cause confusion as to how to properly salute when the flag is raised and the National Anthem is played; and

WHEREAS, The sentence "Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute," raises the concern that Legionnaires, while wearing a baseball cap or other casual headdress would render a military salute; and

WHEREAS, The non-veteran public may soon follow the lead of those veterans and render the military salute as the flag is hoisted, lowered, or is passing; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, By the National Executive Committee of The American Legion in regular meeting assembled in Indianapolis, Indiana, on October 17-18, 2007, That such a proposed change to the U. S. Flag Code to prescribe that members of the Armed Forces and veterans out of uniform may render the military salute during hoisting, lowering, or passing of the United States flag would cause confusion leading to breaches of flag etiquette with regard to proper conduct during the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and conduct during the playing of the National Anthem; and, be it finally

RESOLVED, That Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 9, United States Code remain as written.


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