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Retreat, Reveille, Taps customs and courtesies

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Adarius Petty
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Reveille and retreat ceremonies signal the beginning and the end of the duty day, and are a time for all to stop and show their respect.

"It's important to remember the sacrifices that were made," said Tech Sgt. Anthony Miller, 36th Wing Honor guard lead trainer. "It's one of the few traditions we have kept even with all changes the flag went through over the years."

Reveille is played on Andersen AFB at 6 a.m. Monday through Friday and is immediately followed by the playing of "To the Colors."

Retreat signals the end of the duty and is played on Andersen at 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and is immediately followed by the playing of the National Anthem.

When reveille or retreat begins sounds, anyone outside should stop what they are doing and face the sound of the music or a visible U.S. Flag, with service members standing at parade rest.

On the first note of To the Colors or the National Anthem, civilians and military members in civilian clothes should place their right hand over their heart, while military members in uniform should come to attention and render a salute until the last note of the anthem has played.

Individuals who are in their cars when reveille or retreat begins playing should pull over to the side of the road and sit quietly until all music has finished playing.

"These procedures are important because people have sacrificed so much for their country," said Senior Airman Evan Berg, 36th Maintenance Squadron journeyman and a 36th Wing Honor Guard member. "Paying respects is the least you can do as an American."

Taps is played alone at 10 p.m. Monday through Friday to honor service members who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Played also as a way to signify the beginning of quiet hours on base, people on base do not need to take any special action.

"Customs and courtesies are the foundation of a disciplined force," said Chief Master Sgt. James Slisik, 36th Wing command chief master sergeant. " In basic training one of the first things you learn is how to stand at attention and properly salute; that's because a strong force is a disciplined force, we start with customs and courtesies. Snapping to attention and rendering a sharp salute, whether for reveille, retreat or seeing a staff vehicle, highlights your professionalism. Customs and courtesies tie us to our proud heritage, help us celebrate our traditions of honor and carry forward a legacy of valor."

For more information about the proper protocol on these ceremonies, see Air Force Instruction 34-1201, Protocol.

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