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Here's a link to the United States flag code.  I find it an interesting read as I was taught things as a youth that were wrong.

 

The Boy Scout Handbook, 12th edition, pg 74, tells us in the Hoisting the Flag section, "When the flag is flying freely, step back and salute as the other person ties the halyard to the flag pole."

 

There is no specific ceremony or sequence of orders for a flag ceremony.

 

What flag ceremony script does your unit use?

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No specified ceremony, as you say, but many believe that they have "the" answer.

 

All good if: 1) dignified; 2) looks like you know what you are doing; 3) practiced

 

"Color Guard -  attention."

"Troop  - (camp) attention."

"Color Guard - advance." (Color Guard marches to position and rigs flag for raising.  

When flag ready for hoist, senior member of Color Guard looks at formation commander.

"Color Guard Raise the Colors/Hand Salute/Bugler Sound off."

When flag is at the peak: "Two"

When flag has been secured: "Color Guard - retire." (Color Guard marches off.)

When Color Guard has retired: "Troop (camp) at ease."

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One also has to remember that there are different dynamics going on when it comes to flag protocol.

 

First of all the military has their own protocols and they have been around for as long as the US has been a country.  What the military does is but one way.

 

In 1923 after the military took the flag off the fields of conflict during WW I (never tell the enemy where you are!) there was a major push by the civilian population to be able to display the flag.  This practice was reserved ONLY FOR GOVERNMENT buildings, i.e. post office, courthouse, schools, etc.

 

So Congress sat down and came up with an appropriate way for the CIVILIANS to respectfully display the flag and how to respectfully act in the presence of the flag.

 

Flag ceremonies are never "incorrect" if people take time to do it respectfully.  

 

So where's the right and wrong come in?  A lot of times it has become confusing and even the US Flag Code of 1923 has been changed over the years.

 

Folding the flag in a triangle is a military protocol, same as flying the flag "backwards" on the right sleeve of a uniform.   On the other hand ANY US CITIZEN can have a flag draped coffin.  That's why the protocol is in the US Flag Code written for civilians.  :)

 

When @@KenD500 asked for a citation on the practices, it is pretty much impossible because many of the protocols have been blended and are customarily made up as one goes along.  This is why the BSA folds the flag triangularly in the military protocol manner, but it is not "wrong" to fold it in a square either as long as it is done respectfully.

 

Displaying a flag horizontally over the ground is a major NO-NO according to the US Flag Code, but people do it all the time because for one thing, they have never read the Code.  Clothing made of the flag is also a Code no-no.

 

It is my recommendation that whatever protocol is used, one should first consult the US Flag Code before teaching one's boys about the proper way of displaying the Flag.  

 

Just last summer I had a situation with a BSA camp director that was doing the flag ceremony incorrectly according to the US Flag Code .  I read it verbatim to him.  But I was flat out told me to mind my own business.  I for one find it difficult to support or even respect BSA personnel with that mind set.  A phone call to their council office was made the week after camp.  The camp program director (30 year military retiree) was as angry as I was and corrected the problem.

 

Scout Salute command is Present Arms in the military and "Two" is Order Arms.  Where Two came from no one really knows.

 

And the real kicker.... When not in full uniform (including pants) the scout should take off his head gear and place his hand over his heart.  Like that ever happens.  I know of troops that routinely teach the boys that are wearing "Class-B" uniforms to use the hand salute.  That my friends, is reserved only for US military veterans.  When did scouts rise to the level of equality to our veterans?  

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No specified ceremony, as you say, but many believe that they have "the" answer.

 

All good if: 1) dignified; 2) looks like you know what you are doing; 3) practiced

 

"Color Guard -  attention."

"Troop  - (camp) attention."

"Color Guard - advance." (Color Guard marches to position and rigs flag for raising.  

When flag ready for hoist, senior member of Color Guard looks at formation commander.

"Color Guard Raise the Colors/Hand Salute/Bugler Sound off."

When flag is at the peak: "Two"

When flag has been secured: "Color Guard - retire." (Color Guard marches off.)

When Color Guard has retired: "Troop (camp) at ease."

 

Ours is very similar and maybe you can answer a question I've always had.  Why do you/we say "Two"?  It makes no sense to me.

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No specified ceremony, as you say, but many believe that they have "the" answer.

 

All good if: 1) dignified; 2) looks like you know what you are doing; 3) practiced

 

"Color Guard -  attention."

"Troop  - (camp) attention."

"Color Guard - advance." (Color Guard marches to position and rigs flag for raising.  

When flag ready for hoist, senior member of Color Guard looks at formation commander.

"Color Guard Raise the Colors/Hand Salute/Bugler Sound off."

When flag is at the peak: "Two"

When flag has been secured: "Color Guard - retire." (Color Guard marches off.)

When Color Guard has retired: "Troop (camp) at ease."

As flag is in transit to its posting position the salute should be given. If raising up a flag pole the salute is given just before it goes up. Reverse when retiring the colors. Most units I see get this bit mixed up.

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Ours is very similar and maybe you can answer a question I've always had.  Why do you/we say "Two"?  It makes no sense to me.

 

Just because someone once said so.  It makes no sense to anyone because no one knows where it came from.  There's a lot of myth, legends and lies about flag protocol that it is very difficult to keep up with the latest made up rules.  

 

When in doubt refer back to the US Flag Code otherwise try to do something with some respect and sensibility surrounding it.  That in itself should keep a lot of scouters busy for a while.

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Ours is very similar and maybe you can answer a question I've always had.  Why do you/we say "Two"?  It makes no sense to me.

It comes from the military command as a response to get units back to attention or at ease. It is coupled with the command "hand salute" or "salute" (depending on your service branch). It gets units back to attention from the salute position. You'll find it defined in most military ceremony manuals.

 

As to its etymology, I cannot say. They don't teach you that in the military, only why we use it. ;)

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What flag ceremony script does your unit use?

The Marine Corps Drill and Ceremony manual. We also thankfully have access to an adult who served with the Old Guard (so he hates that we use the Marine Corps manual) who helps our scouts practice proper etiquette.

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I like the flag ceremony listed here.  Simple & direct without a lot of extra commands.  One thing- we use "Color Guard return to post" instead of "Color Guard retreat".

 

link to ceremony

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Plain and simple.

 

"Color Guard present the colors."

 

According to the US Flag Code, as the Flag passes, stand, and salute, just like at any other procession/parade.

 

The color guard knows what to do.

 

After whatever ceremony is used, Invocation, Pledge? Oath, Laws, etc.

 

"Color Guard dismissed."

 

Everything else falls under the We-think-we-know-what-we're-doing category of useless commands trying to impress someone in the crowd.  It looks like a military ceremony done by people who try really hard not to be a military organization.  BSA is a patriotic organization of civilians and fall under the US Flag Code for civilians.

 

Last Memorial Day I went with the boys to march in the parade.  Council group of Cubs and Scouts were forming up and were having a discussion on how to form the flag line. Every unit had their troop flag, US Flag and some even had state flags.  It was interesting the vast number of incorrect suggestions being tossed out by totally clueless BSA members.

 

ONE US Flag out front.

 

All the rest of the US Flags put back in their vehicles.  Second flag line consisting of one state flag to the right and all the other troop flags to the left.  

 

Surprisingly this is the protocol from the BSA handbook and I was told it was i was wrong by SM/ASM level Scouters.  Seriously??? These are the people teaching flag protocol to their troops?  People used to look to the scouts for the correct answers on this subject.  I hope they dropped that practice because what they are getting does not follow the US Flag Code in the majority of instances.

 

The mass of scouts to follow the flag line.  No ego-driven leaders out front.

 

My boys left the flags back in the storage unit and walked at the rear of the BSA mob walking down the street.  We were also the only unit that stayed for the Memorial Day ceremony.  We felt that it was more important to be at the memorial service for our fallen veterans than just filling a spot in the parade.

 

I have noticed in recent years that the school bands have dropped the US Flag from their color guard for parades so that people don't have to quit standing and sitting each time a band passes.  Not that most people in the crowd even know one is supposed to stand and civilian salute...... :(

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It comes from the military command as a response to get units back to attention or at ease. It is coupled with the command "hand salute" or "salute" (depending on your service branch). It gets units back to attention from the salute position. You'll find it defined in most military ceremony manuals.

 

As to its etymology, I cannot say. They don't teach you that in the military, only why we use it. ;)

I was always taught that military commands have two parts (Forward-March, About-Face, ToTheRear-March, Hand-Salute, LeftOblique-March), the first part being the command and the second part marking the execution of the first.  I was a Navy guy but I think the guys with rifles use Present-Arms and Order-Arms to start and end a salute or some such thing like that.  So for a salute, with no rifle, ready-two sounds better than ready-go or ready-drop (that a boot camp thing :)) !

Edited by walk in the woods

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It comes from the military command as a response to get units back to attention or at ease. It is coupled with the command "hand salute" or "salute" (depending on your service branch). It gets units back to attention from the salute position. You'll find it defined in most military ceremony manuals.

 

As to its etymology, I cannot say. They don't teach you that in the military, only why we use it. ;)

 

 

The Marine Corps Drill and Ceremony manual. We also thankfully have access to an adult who served with the Old Guard (so he hates that we use the Marine Corps manual) who helps our scouts practice proper etiquette.

 

We are not a military organization and military protocol should not be the norm.  Civilian Scouts are to use the US Flag Code as directed by Congress.

 

My military buddies always use the PRESENT ARMS to salute and ORDER ARMS to return to the position of Attention.  At least that's what my CC who is presently serving in the National Guard at the moment told me.  He also told me he had no idea where the TWO came from in that the military does not use it .  

 

It probably should be noted that no matter where one goes there's probably going to be local variances, traditions and such, but when it comes to teaching the T-FC requirements, one ought to stick with the US Flag Code.

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I was always taught that military commands have two parts (Forward-March, About-Face, ToTheRear-March, Hand-Salute, LeftOblique-March), the first part being the command and the second part marking the execution of the first.  I was a Navy guy but I think the guys with rifles use Present-Arms and Order-Arms to start and end a salute or some such thing like that.  So for a salute, with no rifle, ready-two sounds better than ready-go or ready-drop (that a boot camp thing :)) !

I think he was asking "Where does the term 'two' come from." Agree on your points about commands.

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I was always taught that military commands have two parts (Forward-March, About-Face, ToTheRear-March, Hand-Salute, LeftOblique-March), the first part being the command and the second part marking the execution of the first.  I was a Navy guy but I think the guys with rifles use Present-Arms and Order-Arms to start and end a salute or some such thing like that.  So for a salute, with no rifle, ready-two sounds better than ready-go or ready-drop (that a boot camp thing :)) !

 

When "under arms" (i.e. carrying one's weapon) one presents out front the weapon as the salute.  When not "under arms" one uses the hand salute.  There can be three different types of salute in the military, sword presentation by the officers, weapon presentation by those under arms and hand salute by the rest, but the command to salute (Present Arms) and return to Attention (Order Arms) is always the same.

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We are not a military organization and military protocol should not be the norm.  Civilian Scouts are to use the US Flag Code as directed by Congress.

 

My military buddies always use the PRESENT ARMS to salute and ORDER ARMS to return to the position of Attention.  At least that's what my CC who is presently serving in the National Guard at the moment told me.  He also told me he had no idea where the TWO came from in that the military does not use it .  

 

It probably should be noted that no matter where one goes there's probably going to be local variances, traditions and such, but when it comes to teaching the T-FC requirements, one ought to stick with the US Flag Code.

And yet we use military terms all the time in scouting. Does hurt to teach them.

 

Arms are only presented when you have actual "arms", otherwise you give the command to attention. As @@walk in the woods pointed out its a two part command. You can't present arms if you're unarmed. ;) Your NG buddy is confused....or always armed. ;)

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