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glpete

Saluting

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You mentioned tying the square knot. That reminds me once when I was showing a kid how to tie a bowline. He was having trouble getting the hang of it. When I finished the knot, another kid that was watching informed me that I had made the knot wrong. It was actually correctly tied, but I used a method that was not illustrated in the official Boy Scout Handbook. It suddenly hit me as to why the first kid was having trouble. I was confusing him by showing him a method that was different that what he had been practicing from the Handbook.

 

And so it is with this conumdrum with the flag, uniform, Pledge of Allegiance, and U.S. flag code. Page 43 of the Handbook says "Give the Scout salute when you recite the Pledge of Allegiance, too." The flag code notwithstanding, it would be confusing to the boys to teach them to NOT salute, while the Handbook says otherwise.

 

I may not agree with the method the Handbook teaches for tying the bowline, but as a Scout leader, I feel obligated to teach the Boy Scout method.

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My hunch is that Scouts salute in the first place so that there's a standardized place for their hands during these ceremonies...lacking that, they might be in their pockets, noses, ears, mouths, etc.

 

If any of us are pretending we're not preparing our boys to serve their country, many of them in military uniform, we're deluding ourselves. You've all seen the statistics that show Scouts are over-represented at military service academies, in the FBI, and the astronaut corps, among others...that's no accident. While we're at it, I don't think any Scouter anywhere has to prove his patriotism or support of our country and its institutions -- their status proves that.

 

Amen to following the book -- I'd rather not confuse them. While we're on the subject of flag etiquette, though, one thing that's rubbed my fur the wrong way is the proliferation of "flag as clothing" fashion since 9-11. I know people are trying to show their patriotism, but this is improper, and in my opinion, a more important flag etiquette issue than whether or not to salute during the Pledge...who's with me on this?

 

Nothing concerning flag etiquette has ever been an issue for us. Our CO is a VFW post, our Scouts are from active, former, or retired military families, and our "giant voice" base-wide speaker system plays both national anthems (Korea & U.S.) at 5:30 each day -- everyone stops and pays respect.

 

In case you were wondering, we deliberately soft-pedal any military influence over the troop program. For example, I don't permit mixing camo with the uniform, I discourage leaders from participating in troop activities in military uniforms, don't engage in "shop talk" at Scout functions, and so on. We take advantage of the diversity and opportunities available to our Scouts because we're on a military base, but we keep it "Scouting", not "Junior ROTC". After all, the last thing I want over here is for any of those critters to be mistaken for combatants...

 

OGE, you're on the money with the Monty Python quote, in my opinion! Any troop that is grappling with "salute during the Pledge" as an issue should count their blessings. We have to cancel this week's troop meeting because of a base-wide combat exercise...not looking for pity, since we volunteered to be here, just suggesting these things be put in proper perspective.

 

Thanks as always for an opportunity to share thoughts with all of you -- this forum is truly a wonderful thing...

 

KS

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The flag is not clothing, and to use it as such is disrespectful. I also have a problem with the proliferation of pseudo-flags. Banners, windsocks, hats, tablecloths, napkins, print advertisements, or anything else that depicts stylized, red and white bars with a blue star design can be distasteful, depending on how it's used.

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FScouter;

 

You bet, and another little known (perhaps) fact: businesses aren't supposed to use the flag in an ad for a commerical product. How many July 4th newspaper ads for car dealers, furniture stores, restaurants, you name it, have you seen with flags in them? Too many to count, right?

 

A humorous aside...comedian Drew Carey was just over here for a USO show, and he said that right now, poor driving manners in the U.S. are excused if you're flying a U.S. flag from your car -- the more flags, the worse driving behavior you can get away with...

 

KS

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Just to add to the mix. Who knows why the BSA wears the flag on the uniform with the blue field facing to the back and the military in some cases wears the flag with the blue field facing front?

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The flag code deals with this one too, although I forget the precise answer,... senior moment, etc. etc.

 

My guess is that the orientation of the union of the flag patch depends on which shoulder it is on. I think the union should always be on the left from the perspective of the person viewing the flag.

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eisely,

 

I think you may well be right...Does the military wear the flag on their left shoulder? If so, your theory seems to be valid.

 

My son asked his buddy who is in the reserves. He said the "stars" always head into battle first. It's an interesting answer, but I think your reply is more likely to be true. Perhaps, they're both true.

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