Background: My family gets the unique opportunity to spend the week at Philmont Scout Ranch. (My husband has to wear a Scout uniform all week 🙂 Since we have a flag ceremony every morning, I thought it would be a great time to cover patriotic etiquette with my kids. Not to mention all of the 4th of July festivities coming up as well. This is what I believe is basic patriotic etiquette:
Manner: Stand for the flag. Turn towards it, look at it and focus on the flag. Don’t be on your cell phone or chatting with your neighbor.
Put your right hand over your heart. This is a dying practice, but I’m old school. (P.S. This was a staged picture. I did not take it during the ceremony.)
Men should take off their hat during the National Anthem, Pledge of Allegiance, when the flag goes by in a parade, etc. (Tiff’s Take: I am sure you have heard that women do not have to take off their hats. I disagree. That “rule” originated back in the day when hats were tied on or pinned in and they were worn in formal situations. Nowadays women wear the same kind of hats guys do like baseball and cowboy hats. And usually we are not wearing them for formal situations. In fact, I am most likely wearing a hat because I was too lazy to wash my hair that day. So in my book, women should take off their hats too if the hat is not fancy.) Croft’s fishing hat is exactly the casual kind of hat I am talking about. She removed her hat when the flag was raised.
When the National Anthem is played, a U.S. citizen should rise from his seat, stand at attention, face the flag and place his right hand over his heart. This etiquette also applies to children who are old enough to stand on their own. The Emily Post Institute notes that if a citizen is walking to her seat when the anthem begins to play, she should stop walking, stand at attention and place her hand over her heart until the anthem concludes. People should not mill around while the anthem plays.
Practice: Hands on practice is the best kind. Take your kids to a parade or rodeo or a sporting event where the flag will be presented and the National Anthem will be sung.
This week Croft is learning where her heart is; Crew is learning to stand still, and Elle is learning the words to the National Anthem.
Follow-Up: We sang the National Anthem at our Opening Ceremony. It was a good reminder that I need to teach my kids the words to the National Anthem. (My one goal in life when I was younger was to win an Olympic gold medal just so I could belt the National Anthem from the podium. Well, I stopped growing and I realized I sucked at singing, so the dream died quickly.) Most likely our kids won’t be on the gold medal podium, but there will still be several opportunities to sing the National Anthem.
We will have a great week at Philmont and you have a happy and respectful 4th of July!