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Laws Give Military Retirees, Vets the Right to Salute

March 19, 2009

Veterans and active-duty military not in uniform can now render the military-style hand salute during the playing of the national anthem, thanks to changes in FY09 National Defense Authorization Act.

This provision adds to a change in the FY08 NDAA that authorized veterans and military members not in uniform to render the military-style hand salute during the raising, lowering or passing of the flag. Last year’s provision also applied to members of the armed forces while not in uniform.

“The military salute is a unique gesture of respect that marks those who have served in our nation’s armed forces,” said then Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake. “This provision allows the application of that honor in all events involving our nation’s flag.”

The VA noted that members of Veterans Service Organizations have traditionally rendered the hand-salute during the national anthem and at events involving the national flag while wearing their organization’s official headgear.

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