Rules for saluting the American Flag for military members, veterans, and everyone without an armed forces background.
When it comes to American flag etiquette, most people tend to focus on how to display the flag properly and dispose of it in a dignified way. But there is another way to show respect that often gets overlooked: Saluting.
Just like other areas of flag etiquette, saluting the flag comes with its own set of rules. In fact, a few different national acts lay out how veterans and military members should salute the flag. Traditionally, veterans and those in the armed forces have given a hand-salute to the flag during the national anthem at events or at parades only wearing their official head-gear.
However, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 contained an amendment that now allows military members, veterans, and retirees NOT in uniform to salute flag while it’s being raised and lowered.
The Defense Authorization Act of 2009 added the national anthem to the list of allowed salutes while not in uniform. The latter act was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 14th, 2008.
Can everyone else without a military background salute the flag? Absolutely! When a flag passes in procession or is being raised or lowered, everyone in attendance should turn, face the flag, and salute.