The Civilian Salute

The Civilian Salute

My father, a career military man, always said that the military did two things really well: weddings and funerals.

Yesterday I was honored to attend a funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremony with military honors is very moving. The 3rd Infantry, the “Old Guard” perform their solemn duties with honor and dignity. When the flag-draped coffin passes the honor guard, each man honors the fallen soldier with a final salute.

We, as civilains, often aren’t sure what to do on these solemn occaisions. How should we show our respect? The correct gesture was taught to us early on when we learned The Pledge of Allegiance. Place your right hand over your heart. End the salute when the soldiers lower theirs. You will have performed an elegant gesture in a time when ceremony helps to sustain family and friends.

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