[Message from SFA National Headquarters] Saluting by Veterans

Subject: Saluting by Veterans

Following is a letter which a good friend, Ret' d Army MG Vern Lewis, asked
me to pass on to my associates. I think he has a great idea, and if you agree,
hope you will pass it on to your retired mil contacts.

I gathered some 16 of my old military friends who agreed to sponsor a
movement for Veterans to salute rather than place their hands over their heart
when honoring the flag, fallen comrades, and/or the country. I have some from
each of the four principal services. Three of them were former Vice Chiefs or
Assistant Commandants of their services, and several were former CINC's.

We refer to saluting when we do the pledge to the flag, when the National Colors
pass or are presented, when the National Anthem or honors are played, or when
taps are played and firing squads or guns render honors. We got MOAA
magazine to ask veterans what they preferred, hand over the heart or saluting.
When last I looked, some 583 veteran respondents had voted 81% in favor of
the salute. In addition, my email address was in the questionnaire and I've had
about 150 responses, with all but a dozen or so in favor of the salute. Obviously
an overwhelming majority of the veterans want to salute.

There are no regulations telling us veterans what we can and can't do in this
matter. If we decide we want to salute, who will dare to tell us "no"?

It is a matter of personal choice. We've earned the right to render a salute. Now
the challenge is to get the word out. I believe the unit and branch associations are
the best way. The commanders of the American Legion and VFW never
answered my emails, presuming they even got them. If we can get this started it
will take on a life of its own. Those who object can continue the hand over the
heart thing. Gradually the custom will change, as well it should.

Just imagine thousands of fans saluting at NFL, MBA, and Major League
Baseball games when the National Anthem is played. It will telegraph a message
to all others of how many have served this country in the Armed Forces---it will
be a positive and patriotic message.

You can help by putting the word out in your organizations, which are made up
of patriots like you and me. Thanks, my friend.

Vernon B.

DE Oppresso Liber
Mel Smith - Secretary/Administrator

Special Forces Association
PO Box 41436
Fayetteville, NC  28309

Tel: (910) 485-5433  Fax (910) 485-1041
Email: sfahq@aol.com   Website:  http://www.sfahq.org