Honoring the Stars and Stripes
Reveille and Retreat ceremonies each workday at Natick honor our Nation's Flag.

As the installation Command Sergeant Major, I am charged with the care and traditions of our Colors. Every active Army installation is committed to the daily playing of Reveille for the morning and Retreat/To the Colors in the evening.

Upon my arrival, I noticed that "Reveille" was not being played during our morning ritual of raising of our Nation's Flag. So, the recent playing of the morning bugle (Reveille) is a correction to our previously neglected obligations. We took meticulous care in adjusting the volume to minimize the impact to the surrounding community yet still meet its desired intent. Also, there will be no music played on Saturdays and Sundays.

Reveille originates from the French word for "wake up," and was originally used as a wakeup call for military personnel for assembly and roll call. This is a time-honored tradition whereby the flag is hoisted on the first note of Reveille, signifying the start of the duty day at 6:30 a.m.

The following conduct is expected from the men and women on our installation during the playing of Reveille.

1. Military personnel in uniform and in formation (with or without headgear):

-- Execute "Present Arms" at the command of officer or NCO in charge. Execute "Order Arms" at the command of officer or NCO in charge.

2. Military personnel in uniform not in formation (with or without headgear):

-- At the first note of music, face flag and render hand salute (if flag is not in view, face direction of music). End salute on last note of music.

3. All men wearing civilian clothes (military and civilian; includes sports attire with headgear):

-- At the first note of music, face flag, stand at attention, remove headgear with right hand and hold over left shoulder with right hand over heart (if flag is not in view, face direction of music).

4. Military personnel and civilians in civilian dress without headgear. Personnel engaged in sports and attired in a sports uniform without headdress:

-- At the first note of music, face flag, stand at attention with the right hand over heart. Hold this position until the last note of music has been played (if flag is not in view, face direction of music).

Retreat was first used by the French Army, and dates as far back as the 11th century and the Crusades. Its original purpose was to notify the sentinels to begin challenging (meaning to "halt" and demand identification) until sunrise, and to inform the troops to head back to their barracks and sleep safely. The modern Retreat originated in the 16th century during the Revolutionary War, when it was called "watch setting." The drum major of a regiment would advertise the changing of the watch by the beating of the drum. On the battlefield, sunset signaled the end of fighting for the day, and thus, Retreat (which was played at sunset) signaled the end of the duty
day. Retreat has embodied and symbolized the finest qualities of soldiers for nearly 900 years.

The following conduct is expected from the men and women on our installation during the playing of Retreat.

1. Military personnel in uniform and in formation (with or without headgear):

-- Execute "Parade Rest" at the command of the officer or NCO in charge. Remain at Parade Rest until given "Attention" by officer or NCO in charge.

2. Military personnel in uniform not in formation (with or without headgear):

-- At the first note of music, face flag and stand at attention (if flag is not in view, face direction of music). Remain at attention until last note of "TO THE COLORS" has been played.

3. All men wearing civilian clothes (military and civilian; includes sports attire with headgear):

-- At the first note of music, face flag, remove headgear with right hand and stand at attention. Remain at attention until last note of "TO THE COLORS" has been played (if flag is not in view, face direction of music).

4. Military personnel and civilians in civilian dress without headgear; personnel engaged in sports and attired in a sports uniform without headdress:

-- At the first note of music, face flag and stand at attention. Remain at attention until last note of "TO THE COLORS" has been played (if flag is not in view, face direction of music).

The following conduct is expected from the men and women on our installation during the playing of To the Colors:

1. Military personnel in uniform and in formation (with or without headgear):

-- Same as for Reveille.

2. Military personnel in uniform not in formation (with or without headgear):

-- At the first note of music: If outdoors, render hand salute; if indoors, stand at attention. Hold this position until the last note of music has been played.

3. All men wearing civilian clothes (military and civilian; includes sports attire with headgear):

-- At the first note of music: If outdoors or indoors, hold headgear over the left shoulder with the right hand over the heart. Hold this position until the last note of music has been played.

4. Military personnel and civilians in civilian dress without headgear; personnel engaged in sports and attired in a sports uniform without headdress:

-- At the first note of music: If outdoors or indoors, stand at attention with the right hand over the heart. Hold this position until the last note of music has been played.

Page last updated Fri June 22nd, 2012 at 09:20