Customs Observed During Honors, or what do I do with my hands when singing the Star Spangled Banner?



White House admission ticket The Penta-Posse recently attended the Queen’s visit to The White House on the South Lawn.

It was a pageantry of international etiquette and planning.

The designers of the welcoming program were astute enough to include a lesson on what to do during the National Anthem and when to leave.

Your Business Blogger, like Miss Manners is somewhat saddened that the adults these days have to be taught proper behavior.

Or perhaps we all need only to be reminded…

Customs Observed During Honors

During the National Anthem of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Americans not in uniform stand at attention.

During the National Anthem of the United States, Americans not in uniform stand at attention and place their right hands over their hearts.

Hats worn by gentlemen are removed and held over their hearts.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, all guests remain in place on the South Lawn until The President and Mrs. Bush, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, The Official Delegation, the Welcoming Committee, and the Military Honor Guard have departed.

The next time you are at the beginning of a baseball game, please let me know how many gentlemen were in the crowd.


Hand or hat placement during

the National Anthem


Thank you (foot)notes:

If you are in the military, you will know exactly what to do. As usual.

“Whenever and wherever the United States National Anthem, “To the Color,” “Reveille,” or “Hail to the Chief’ is played, at the first note, all dismounted personnel in uniform and not in formation face the flag (or the music, if the flag is not in view), stand at Attention, and render the prescribed Salute. The position of Salute is held until the last note of the music is sounded. Military personnel not in uniform will stand at Attention (remove headdress, if any, with the right hand), and place the right hand over the heart. Vehicles in motion are brought to a Halt.”

Star Spangled Banner

(composed by Francis Scott Key, “In Defense of Fort McHenry” in September 1814. Congress proclaimed it the U.S. National Anthem in 1931 — history follows.)

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,

What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming?

Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro’ the perilous fight,

O’er the ramparts we watch’d, were so gallantly streaming?

And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

Gave proof thro’ the night that our flag was still there.

O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen thro’ the mists of the deep,

Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,

What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,

As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?

Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,

In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream:

‘T is the star-spangled banner: O, long may it wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore

That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion

A home and a country should leave us no more?

Their blood has wash’d out their foul footsteps’ pollution.

No refuge could save the hireling and slave

From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave:

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,

Between their lov’d homes and the war’s desolation;

Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land

Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserv’d us as a nation!

Then conquer we must, when our cause is just,

And this be our motto: “In God is our trust”

And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!


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