The information contained herein is quoted from A Guide To Protocol And Etiquette For Official Entertainment (Pamphlet No. 600-60 Headquarters Department of the Army Washington, D.C., dated 15 October 1989)


This section is intended to provide general information with regard to rendering of honors by both military and civilian participants and attendees at military ceremonies. For this publication, “participants” are defined as any one participating in a ceremony and who would normally be on the reviewing stand or located with the host of the ceremony. “Attendees” is defined as anyone attending a ceremony as a guest or onlooker and who is not located on the reviewing stand or with the host. Neither definition applies to units participating in a ceremony (i.e., platoons, companies, batteries, troops, color guards, etc.). For information on the actual conduct of ceremonies see Field Manual (FM) 22-5, Ceremonies, and Military District of Washington (MDW) Regulation 1-8, Parades and Reviews (available from Com-mander, MDW, ATTN: ANC&SE, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, DC 20319).

  1. During Musical and Cannon Salutes.
    1. Participants. Military in uniform–render the hand salute; military and civilians in civilian attire-stand at attention and, if wearing headdress, remove it (except that women never remove their headdress).

      (Note: Individuals being honored will not salute).
    2. Attendees. Military in uniform-face the ceremonial party and render the hand salute; military and civilians in civilian attire-face the ceremonial party and stand at attention and, if wearing headdress, re-move it (except that women never remove their headdress).
  2. During the National Anthem and Foreign Anthems.
    1. Participants. Military in uniform-(outdoors) stand at attention and render the hand salute (indoors) stand at attention; military and civilians in civilian attire-(outdoors) stand at attention holding head-dress over the left shoulder with the right hand over the heart (if no headdress, hold the right hand over the heart), (indoors) stand at attention.
    2. Attendees. Same as for participants.
  3. During Passing of Colors.
    1. Participants. Military in uniform-(outdoors) stand at attention and render the hand salute when the Colors come within six paces and hold the salute until the Colors are six paces beyond; (indoors) stand at attention six paces before and after the Colors. Civilians-( outdoors) stand at attention holding headdress with the right hand over the left shoulder and with the right hand over the heart (if no headdress, hold the right hand over the heart); (indoors) stand at attention.
    2. Attendees. Same as for participants.
  4. During a Military Funeral (Flag Draped Casket).

    Anytime the casket is being moved—while standing still and in civilian clothes (outdoors), stand at attention with the right hand over the heart; (indoors) stand at attention. If in uniform (outdoors) salute, while indoors and in uniform place the right hand over the heart. One may follow behind the casket with the mourners, it is not necessary to stay in place when the casket moves. (Note: For more definitive guidance, see AR 600-25, app A.)


The outline (chap 4, fig 1) is a standard sequence of events followed at the greater majority of ceremonies. In some cases, a modified sequence of events is used to fit the particular ceremony at hand.

  • Pre-Review Concert
  • Formation of Troops
  • Arrival of Reviewing Official
  • March On Honors
  • Sound Off
  • Inspection
  • Honors to the Nation
  • (Presentation of Award, promotion, retirement)
  • Remarks
  • Pass In Review


While AR 840-10, Flags, Guidons, Streamers, Tabards, and Automo-bile and Aircraft Plates, covers in depth the use and etiquette for flags, some common sense rules need to be emphasized.

  1. When displayed in a line, may be set up in one of two ways: from the flag’s right to left (the most common method), or, if no foreign national colors are present, with the highest precedence flag in the center. When set up from right to left, the highest precedence flag always go on the right of all other flags. In other words, as you look at the flag display from the audience, the highest precedence flag (normally the U.S. flag) is on your far left, other flags extend to your right in descending precedence. When setup with the highest prece-dence flag in the center, other flags are placed, in descending precedence, first to the right, then to the left, alternating back and forth (see AR 840-10, fig 2-3).
  2. Some points to remember when displaying flags:
    1. The U. S. flag (and foreign national flags) are displayed from a staff the same size as those of accompanying flags (AR 840-10, para 4-1c).
    2. Flagstaff heads (finials) are always the spearhead, except as noted in para 8-2a, AR 840-10.
    3. When displaying the Army flag, the Yorktown and Grenada streamers are always positioned at the center facing forward (para 4-1c, AR 840-10).
    4. Ensure all finials are positioned in the same direction. For most Army flags, this means that the flat portion of the finial is facing forward.
    5. Ensure that general officer personal flags are hung on the staff right side up. When properly hung, the point of the star (stars) will point to the right as the flag is viewed.
    6. When displaying the flag of the Chief of Staff, Army, or Vice Chief of Staff, Army, don’t confuse the two. The Chief of Staff's flag has one diagonal, while the flag of the Vice Chief of Staff has two diagonals.
    7. When using spreaders to display flags (spreaders are hori-zontal devices that allow the flag to “flair’’ slightly, thereby giving it a better appearance), ensure the flag is draped across the spreader from the flag’s right to left.
    8. Ensure the U. S. flag is always the same height or higher than all other flags on display. This also holds true for other national colors being used in the same display.
    9. Under no circumstances will the personal colors of retired general officers be displayed publicly except,
      1. when the event is military in nature,
      2. the officer is in uniform,
      3. when the officer is being honored.


Seating at ceremonies has always been a cause for concern. Gener-ally, there are two areas that must be considered: seating of the official party and seating of guests.

  1. Seating the official party. Consideration must primarily begin with the reviewing officer. The reviewing officer is the key individual in the official party even though the host is the orchestrator. Field Manual 22-5 clearly points out the positions of the official party and should be followed in preparation of the ceremony.
  2. Seating of guests. Normally the personal guests of the reviewing officer and distinguished guests are seated to the rear of the dais (reviewing stand) on the right side facing the line of troops. Protocol dictates that the families of both be seated first, followed by the senior ranking non-family guest.
  3. Overview seating. On the left rear of the dais, VIP guest seating in the front row is normally used for overflow and to recognize the importance of the personal friends. Depending on the number or seats available, guests expected, and wishes of the reviewing officer, the personally invited guests should be as close to the reviewing party as possible.