(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — The bugle possesses a rich military history older than the United States of America. Since long before radios, satellites and the internet, bugles have been an instrument used by military leaders to issue commands and signals, enhance celebrations and confer honors. 200 years later, the bugle still serves as a reminder of our rich history and traditions through the sounding of “Reveille” and “Retreat.” We are duty bound to understand and follow the requisite customs and courtesies accompanied by the bugle call to live up to our Ethic and Values.

On Fort Leonard Wood, “Reveille” — meaning “wake up” in French — is played every morning at 6:30 a.m. to signal the start of the duty day and the raising of the American flag.

  • For service members in uniform and in formation: Execute “Present Arms” and “Order Arms” at the command of the officer or noncommissioned officer in charge at the beginning and end of the call.
  • For service members in uniform but not in formation: On the first note, face the flag (or the direction of music if not visible) and render a hand salute. End the salute on the last note.
  • For civilians and military personnel not in uniform: Face the flag (or the direction of the music if the flag is not visible) and come to the position of attention. Remove any headgear with the right hand (if applicable) and place the right hand over the heart until the last note. Service members, veterans and retirees may render a hand salute instead of placing their hands over their hearts.

The music for “Retreat” finds its roots in the French crusader armies nearly 900 years ago. Before modern technology, hearing the musical signal to retreat over the roar of battle could spell the difference between the survival and destruction of an army.

At 5 p.m., “Retreat” begins with the first bugle call, which signifies sundown and the end of the duty day. After the playing of “Retreat,” the cannon is fired, and the bugler plays “To the Color,” during which the American flag is lowered. “To the Color” is a substitute used in place of the National Anthem and requires equal respect.

  • For service members in uniform and in formation: Execute “Parade Rest” at the first bugle call (“Retreat”). Execute “Attention” at first note of “To the Color,” at the command of the OIC or NCOIC. At the command of the OIC or NCOIC, execute “Present Arms” at the beginning of “To the Color” and “Order Arms” at the end of “To the Color.”
  • For service members in uniform but not in formation: On the first note, face the flag (or the direction of music if not visible). Remain at parade rest for “Retreat.” On the first note of “To the Color” stand at attention and render a hand salute. End the salute on the last note.
  • For civilians and military personnel not in uniform: Remove any headgear, (if applicable) face the flag (or the direction of music if not visible) and come to the position of attention. At the beginning of “To the Color” place the right hand over the heart until the last note. Service members, veterans and retirees may render a hand salute instead of placing their hands over their hearts.

At the first note of “Reveille” and “Retreat,” motor vehicle drivers must come to a safe and complete stop. Drivers and passengers should exit the vehicle and follow these procedures. Only the senior occupant of a bus or other similarly large vehicle must dismount.

Every day we have the opportunity to honor our veterans, fellow service members and the United States of America with the bugle call. As dedicated Army Professionals, let’s do the right thing and proudly stop to salute our flag. To learn more about the regulations governing “Reveille,” “Retreat” and “To the Color,” refer to Army Regulation 600-25: Salutes, Honors and Courtesy.