Flag code changes for military veterans via the Defense Act of 2009

Section 594 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009


Just to clarify since we have many veterans including myself that have been out of service since before 2009.  During my service it was drilled that when out of uniform you shall not salute when out of uniform, this has been changed.  I thought it helpful for our veterans to have this information since I have seen varied levels of courtesy at different functions.




  • When reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, all present should stand at attention facing the flag with their right hand over their heart, with the exception of those in uniform who shall salute.
  • When the national anthem is played or sung:
  1. Designation: The composition consisting of the words and music known as the Star-Spangled Banner is the national anthem.
  2. Conduct During Playing: During a rendition of the national anthem:
    1. When the flag is displayed:[13]
      1. individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note;
      2. members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute in the manner provided for individuals in uniform; and
      3. all other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart; and
    2. when the flag is not displayed, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed.

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Newest Flag regulations of 2012 also confirm.  Wikipidea has incorrectly sourced the data that one may salute when not in uniform during the pledge, see below US flag code of 2012, section 4.


    4 USC Sec. 4                                                01/03/2012 (112-90)


    Sec. 4. Pledge of allegiance to the flag; manner of delivery

      The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag: "I pledge allegiance to the
    Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which
    it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and
    justice for all.", should be rendered by standing at attention
    facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. When not in
    uniform men should remove any non-religious 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.

    (Added Pub. L. 105-225, Sec. 2(a), Aug. 12, 1998, 112 Stat. 1494;
    amended Pub. L. 107-293, Sec. 2(a), Nov. 13, 2002, 116 Stat. 2060.)

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