Show Your Patriotism Through Proper Etiquette


Statue of Francis Scott Key at Fort McHenry

Patriotism is defined by Wikipedia as the “emotional attachment to a nation which an individual recognizes as their homeland.” It can also indicate one’s love, support and defense of one’s country, and loyalty to it.

In the United States, certain rules of etiquette apply to patriotism, namely in respect to the National Flag and the Star Spangled Banner, our National Anthem. As examples, the Flag Code, adopted in 1923, stated that people who are not current members of the Armed Forces or veterans to face the flag with their right hands over their heart, and current Olympic recommendations state that military personnel should salute the flag and maintain that posture throughout the playing of the National Anthem.

Most of us, including Miss Meredith Sweetpea, learned about patriotism and its etiquette in grammar school. But it is always good to have a reminder.

United States Patriotism Etiquette

  1. Everyone (old and young) should stand and remain standing during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner.
  2. One should not chew gum, smoke or eat during the singing or playing of the National Anthem.
  3. If you are walking, or heading toward your seat when the National Anthem begins, stop and stand at attention, paying reverence as if you were in church.
  4. Know the words to the Star Spangled Banner, and feel free to sing along.
  5. If there is no flag visible while the National Anthem is being played, stand and face the music as if the flag were there.
  6. Men and boys should remove their hats. Men may place their hat over their hearts, or hold their hats near their left shoulder so that their hand lies over their heart. Women may wear their hats unless the hat is a unisex variety such as a ballcap. Then it should be removed, the same as a man’s. The exception, as offered by The Emily Post Institute, is for cancer patients. They may keep their caps on at all times if they wish.
  7. When the American Flag passes, as during a parade, stop and stand at attention.
  8. When saying the Pledge of Allegiance, place your right hand over your heart.



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