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I'd be surprise to know where TWO originated from.  in 30+ years of scouting, I have never heard an explanation or even hearing about anyone who might know.  It's just a made up tradition used in the BSA.  I don't know of any other organization that uses it.

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I'd be surprise to know where TWO originated from.  in 30+ years of scouting, I have never heard an explanation or even hearing about anyone who might know.  It's just a made up tradition used in the BSA.  I don't know of any other organization that uses it.

 

So it sounds as if it's just a tradition passed down with no known origin AND is not mandated in any scouting or other policy/procedure?  Then why do we continue the use? (rhetorical question)  Units all over the country put their own spin on things and buck tradition and norms (see all controversy on gay scouts/leaders <<< Note that's not an invite to send this thread off on a tangent), yet something that no one understands like the flag ceremony continues on without debate?  That's just a little odd in my book.

 

On a related note, when I first heard scouts saying this I always just assumed the paper they were reading from had numbered bullets breaking up the sections and the kid was actually reading the bullet numbers... 

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Speaking of Marines:  http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/images/mc_colorguard.pdf

 

 

"Marine Corps Drill and Ceremonies Manual (MCO P5060.20) :  

 

"1. The purpose of the hand salute is to demonstrate mutual respect and courtesy between members of military organizations and to show respect to national colors. It is executed in one count when halted at attention, marching at quick time, or seated in a vehicle. The command is "Hand, SALUTE." To return to the position of attention the command is "Ready, TWO."​
 
Edited by TAHAWK
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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. ;)

 

That's why the American Legion always uses Present Arms/Order Arms with or without weapons?  :)

 

Yeah, I know it's not "official" but Wikipedia says: 

 

United States

Within the United States Military, it is executed in the following procedures:

  1. If unarmed, a salute is rendered.
  2. If armed with a firearm, present the underside of the firearm towards the one receiving the honour.
  3. If bearing a guidon, lower the guidon to a horizontal position with the lower portion of the staff resting in the pit of the right arm.
  4. If armed with a sword or sabre, on the first count raise the sword vertically or at a 30-degree angle from vertical, depending on the branch of the military, with the sword grip 6 inches in front of the neck, and then on the second count lower the sword to the right side, pointing at the ground at a 45-degree angle, with the right hand or knuckle bow next to the pant seam. The true edge is always to the left during the whole procedure of "present sword."

As with all proper commands, it is to be given from the position of attention only.

Following "Present arms", the command "Order arms" (also a two-part command) is given to return to the proper position of attention.

 

http://usmilitary.about.com/od/theorderlyroom/l/blpresentarms.htm

 

http://www.army.mil/article/60990/Present_Arms/

 

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/present+arms

 

http://www.armystudyguide.com/content/Drill_Sergeant_Resources/Drill_sergeant_presentations/present-arms-from-sling-a.shtml

 

Yeah, I know my buddy is a "bit off" and confused at times, but I don't think he's out of bounds here on this issue.

 

I did realize when I was doing this research that I may have some indication of where the TWO comes from.

 

When training, the commands are in cadence. and by the numbers.  First there is a preparatory command such as FORWARD, BACKWARD, AT THE RIGHT OBLIQUE, AT THE LEFT OBLIQUE, BY THE LEFT FLANK, BY THE RIGHT FLANK and then the execution command MARCH.  The first part tells the soldier what to expect and the second tells him when to do it.  So, when the drill sergeant instructs, "By the numbers-FORWARD-MARCH-ONE-TWO", the soldier will not step off on the command MARCH, but on the command TWO.  It gives the solder a chance to think the command and then understand the numeric cadence of the command.  Once the training is complete "By the numbers" isn't used any longer and the soldier will step off on the word MARCH..  Maybe this is, however, a remnant hang over of the command where the TWO is used.  This is the only plausible explanation I can think of for TWO being used.

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I'd be surprise to know where TWO originated from.  in 30+ years of scouting, I have never heard an explanation or even hearing about anyone who might know.  It's just a made up tradition used in the BSA.  I don't know of any other organization that uses it.

According to our Old Guard ringer, he thinks it is short for the secondary command given in the military to return to ready position, they just skipped one part of that command. He's not certain but that's his best guess.

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Maybe the Marines don't teach the reason behind the use of "two" as a command but the Coast Guard did, or at least their reasoning behind it (which makes sense but since we are talking military, it could be completely wrong since sense often times doesn't count for anything).

 

The reason for "two"?  The hand salute is a two part process - raising the hand in salute, and lowering the hand back to it's original position.  The command to do the second part of the hand salute is often expressed as "Two" (as in "Hand Salute" (part one) and "Two" (part two).  (Of course by now it's realized that the military has a command for just about everything).

 

But what about "Order Arms" some folks are now screaming at their screen.  It's a perfectly acceptable command for the 2nd part of the salute - if there are rifles (aka "arms") present and if rifle commands are being issued.  When there are no rifles incorporated as part of the ceremony, where everyone is giving a hand salute, the orders are "Hand Salute" and "Two".  "Present Arms" and "Order Arms" are only used when rifles are included as part of the ceremony and in that case, everyone that salutes, whether with rifle or by hand, follows the rifle orders (so there may be times when giving the hand salute that you respond to "order arms" and times that you respond to "two" - it all depends on the presence and use of rifles in the ceremony). 

 

There is also an exception to a verbal command of "two" or "order arms" - if music is being played, the 2nd part of the hand (or rifle) salute is automatically performed at the end of the music.  For instance, if the Star Spangled Banner is played after the flag is raised and folks are saluting the flag during the song, when it ends, the salute ends - no other command needed.

 

Now as to the flag code - there is a common misconception that the flag code is codified law with penalties for not doing things right.  That isn't the case.  The way the flag code was written, and is maintained, it is a set of guidelines - more suggestions than anything else.  It's an attempt at unifying the way civilians fly the flag but it has no real teeth to it, from a legal perspective.  This is a case where enforcement of the code is through shaming.  We know the code says that flags should be replaced when they get frayed and torn but we've all gone buy homes and businesses where the flag is hanging by threads - it usually takes some veterans complaining to either a corporate office or to the local media on a slow news day (or right around a holiday like Memorial Day or Veteran's Day) to get it changed.  Does that mean we shouldn't follow the flag code?  Nope - we should follow it and teach it as best as we can but also understand that, unless someone is showing absolutely blatant and purposeful disrespect for the flag, people will get it wrong but it's the sentiment that counts more than whether the flag is hung with the field to the left or to the right.

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"The first count of the movement is executed on the command of execution, [e.g.] FACE. The second count is executed on command, TWO of READY, TWO."

 

U.S. Army FM 22-5 at p. 9.

 

"When “SALUTE†is given, raise your right hand smartly in the most direct ... At the command “TWO,†return to attention."

 

Coast Guard Drill Manual

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Speaking of Marines:  http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/images/mc_colorguard.pdf

 

 

"Marine Corps Drill and Ceremonies Manual (MCO P5060.20) :  

 

"1. The purpose of the hand salute is to demonstrate mutual respect and courtesy between members of military organizations and to show respect to national colors. It is executed in one count when halted at attention, marching at quick time, or seated in a vehicle. The command is "Hand, SALUTE." To return to the position of attention the command is "Ready, TWO."​

 

 

I like your Marine Manual.  Even there one finds discrepancies that aren't historically correct.

 

"a. The use of the plural form of the word color (colors) to designate a single flag, ensign, standard, or pennant comes from the ancient tradition of referring to the multiple colors found on these types of standards. This tradition is carried on today when we refer to the national colors; red, white, and blue and the Marine Corps colors; scarlet and gold. The plural form is also used when referring to the types of movements, ceremonies or musical accompaniment involving the colors, i.e., carry colors, morning colors, “To the Color†etc.

 

b. When designating personnel or units as part of color details then the appropriate singular or plural form of the word will be used, i.e., color guard, color company, etc. "

 

150 years ago the term color was used for a single flag regardless of it's color.  :)  Colors were the multiple flags a unit carried to let the command structure know what regiment was where on the battlefield.  The national color told them which side you were on, the state color identified the state and the regimental flag identified the unit from that state. In camps of multiple battalions and thousands of men, it was important to know who was where, when, etc.  Hospitals had flags, command posts had flags, etc.  It was how one knew where everyone was.

 

In the midst of battle if the colors were in disarray, the unit had a tendency to fall apart, but the flag bearers knew enough to retreat back and reform so that the regiment could rally 'round the flag and reform as well.  The "flag" referenced here would not be the national color or the state color, but the regimental color, regardless of what Hollywood tells you.

 

What they did 150 years ago and what they do today, the terminology they used and what is used today has morphed over the years regardless of what the manual says.  Even the people today try to re-write history.  :)

 

I would also note that the Civil War soldier when meeting an officer would hand salute if he was not carrying a weapon.  But because he carried his weapon generally in his right hand, he would salute an officer with his left hand horizontally across his chest when carrying his weapon.  :)

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Maybe the Marines don't teach the reason behind the use of "two" as a command but the Coast Guard did, or at least their reasoning behind it (which makes sense but since we are talking military, it could be completely wrong since sense often times doesn't count for anything).

 

 

The Marines taught it. They did not teach the etymology of how it just became "two" and not a full two-part command. Haven't seen anyone explain that yet. Probably just laziness by non-military units trying to use a two-part command.

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Now as to the flag code - there is a common misconception that the flag code is codified law with penalties for not doing things right.  That isn't the case.  The way the flag code was written, and is maintained, it is a set of guidelines - more suggestions than anything else.  It's an attempt at unifying the way civilians fly the flag but it has no real teeth to it, from a legal perspective.  This is a case where enforcement of the code is through shaming.  We know the code says that flags should be replaced when they get frayed and torn but we've all gone buy homes and businesses where the flag is hanging by threads - it usually takes some veterans complaining to either a corporate office or to the local media on a slow news day (or right around a holiday like Memorial Day or Veteran's Day) to get it changed.  Does that mean we shouldn't follow the flag code?  Nope - we should follow it and teach it as best as we can but also understand that, unless someone is showing absolutely blatant and purposeful disrespect for the flag, people will get it wrong but it's the sentiment that counts more than whether the flag is hung with the field to the left or to the right.

 

You are correct that the US Flag Code is not law, only the standard

 

"Public concern and confusion regarding the proper respect shown to the United States flag has given rise to many questions on the law relating to the flag’s handling, display, and use. Both the state governments and the federal government have enacted legislation on this subject.

 
On the national level the Federal Flag Code1 provides uniform guidelines for the display of and respect shown to the flag.  In addition to the Code, Congress has by statute designated the national anthem and set out the proper conduct during its presentation. The Code is designed “for the use of such civilian groups or organizations as may not be required to conform with regulations promulgated by one or more executive departments†of the federal government. Thus, the Flag Code does not prescribe any penalties for non-compliance nor does it include enforcement provisions; rather the Code functions simply as a guide to be voluntarily followed by civilians and civilian groups."
 
As a matter of fact, by law one does not need to adhere to the US Flag Code nor show any respect towards the flag, pledge or anthem.  Those that follow the US Flag Code understand that it will be known as showing appropriate respect for the flag, pledge and anthem.  Those not following the US Flag Code will not be penalized by still remain open to the judgement of others as to the appropriateness of their variant behavior towards the Flag.

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Maybe the Marines don't teach the reason behind the use of "two" as a command but the Coast Guard did, or at least their reasoning behind it (which makes sense but since we are talking military, it could be completely wrong since sense often times doesn't count for anything).

 

The reason for "two"?  The hand salute is a two part process - raising the hand in salute, and lowering the hand back to it's original position.  The command to do the second part of the hand salute is often expressed as "Two" (as in "Hand Salute" (part one) and "Two" (part two).  (Of course by now it's realized that the military has a command for just about everything).

 

But what about "Order Arms" some folks are now screaming at their screen.  It's a perfectly acceptable command for the 2nd part of the salute - if there are rifles (aka "arms") present and if rifle commands are being issued.  When there are no rifles incorporated as part of the ceremony, where everyone is giving a hand salute, the orders are "Hand Salute" and "Two".  "Present Arms" and "Order Arms" are only used when rifles are included as part of the ceremony and in that case, everyone that salutes, whether with rifle or by hand, follows the rifle orders (so there may be times when giving the hand salute that you respond to "order arms" and times that you respond to "two" - it all depends on the presence and use of rifles in the ceremony). 

 

There is also an exception to a verbal command of "two" or "order arms" - if music is being played, the 2nd part of the hand (or rifle) salute is automatically performed at the end of the music.  For instance, if the Star Spangled Banner is played after the flag is raised and folks are saluting the flag during the song, when it ends, the salute ends - no other command needed.

 

Now as to the flag code - there is a common misconception that the flag code is codified law with penalties for not doing things right.  That isn't the case.  The way the flag code was written, and is maintained, it is a set of guidelines - more suggestions than anything else.  It's an attempt at unifying the way civilians fly the flag but it has no real teeth to it, from a legal perspective.  This is a case where enforcement of the code is through shaming.  We know the code says that flags should be replaced when they get frayed and torn but we've all gone buy homes and businesses where the flag is hanging by threads - it usually takes some veterans complaining to either a corporate office or to the local media on a slow news day (or right around a holiday like Memorial Day or Veteran's Day) to get it changed.  Does that mean we shouldn't follow the flag code?  Nope - we should follow it and teach it as best as we can but also understand that, unless someone is showing absolutely blatant and purposeful disrespect for the flag, people will get it wrong but it's the sentiment that counts more than whether the flag is hung with the field to the left or to the right.

I stopped reading at Coast Guard :)!

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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. ;)

Insert lame joke about "arms" here....nyuk nyuk.

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What flag ceremony script does your unit use?

In our cub pack, we try not to use an actual script. In the past the cubs would read the script with no real understanding of the what the words meant (like giving the command "post the colors" after the colors were posted). So instead of giving them a script, we tell them which words they choose to use doesn't matter as long as everyone understands what you mean, and it's done with respect. That way they focus on the sequence of events instead of specific words (you want everyone to stand up, how do you do that? OK, what is supposed to happen next?). We want them to learn the actual sequence of the flag ceremony, not a bunch of magic words they don't really understand (how many cubs have any idea what the words "retreat" and "dismissed" mean?).

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In our cub pack, we try not to use an actual script. In the past the cubs would read the script with no real understanding of the what the words meant (like giving the command "post the colors" after the colors were posted). So instead of giving them a script, we tell them which words they choose to use doesn't matter as long as everyone understands what you mean, and it's done with respect. That way they focus on the sequence of events instead of specific words (you want everyone to stand up, how do you do that? OK, what is supposed to happen next?). We want them to learn the actual sequence of the flag ceremony, not a bunch of magic words they don't really understand (how many cubs have any idea what the words "retreat" and "dismissed" mean?).

 

RETREAT is a word that should NEVER be used in a flag ceremony.   The Colors nor the Guard ever retreat.

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