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Commentary | Oct. 27, 2006

AF courtesies: Time to face music

By Tech. Sgt. Christopher Perham 710th Combat Operations Squadron

Perhaps you have been on your lunch break and heard the playing of the Air Force Song. You have probably wondered if you should do anything to pay your respects and even seen others wandering about not paying attention to the music. If this is the case, then read on. 

Most of us know that Air Force protocol requires its members to stand at attention and salute during the playing of Reveille, Retreat, "To the Colors," and the national anthem, but some of the other Air Force courtesies are getting lost in the fray. Every day at noon, the Air Force Song is played while most go about their business. But according to the Joint Protocol Manual-1, while the Air Force Song is played, it is a courtesy to stand at the position of attention without saluting from the first to last note of the music. 

In the two years I've been at Langley, I've never seen this protocol followed. Whether it's general forgetfulness, or this tradition is being swept under the rug is irrelevant. Sept. 11 has ushered in a new era of patriotism, and every Air Force member should be proud to wear the uniform properly and follow the customs and courtesies prescribed by generations of military tradition. 

While many traditions are falling by the wayside, let's not forget to pick up those pieces as they fall. Putting them back together takes a concerted effort, and as painful as it may be sometimes, the end product is a unified force unlike any other. 

Be the tradition and face the music.