Flag Etiquette during Missions

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Disclaimer – these guidelines are intended to convey the utmost honor while on the Flag Line.  We never lose site that we are on the Flag Line to provide honor, respect, and reverence for why we are standing there.

Please pay attention and listen carefully to the mission briefing provided by the Ride Captain in Charge (RCIC).

  1. The RCIC will establish the flag line location, position and spacing.
  2. Members are reminded to turn off or place cell phones/pagers in the silent mode. Cell phone use in the Flag Line is prohibited.
  3. Smoking or eating in the Flag Line is prohibited.  Alcohol is strictly prohibited.
  4. Taking photographs while standing on the Flag Line is prohibited.
  5. When standing the Flag Line, with a flag, never permit it to touch the ground
  6. Flag bearers are reminded that standing the Flag Line is a reverent, often a solemn occasion – if the mission is a Honor Mission.
  7. When the flag is unfurled, it must always be held straight up and never dipped or allowed to touch the ground.
  8. If you have the occasion to walk with the flag, it is important to follow the practice of not allowing it to touch the ground AT ANY TIME.
  9. When holding a flag in a Flag Line, DO NOT render a salute.  Holding the flag in the Flag Line in the equivalent of the honoring salute.
  10. The flag shall NEVER be dipped or lowered when held in a Flag Line.  Make every effort to hold the flag upright at all times.
  11. At the appropriate time the RCIC or designee will call the Flag Line to ATTENTION anytime the casket is being moved and at rendering of honors (taps and rifle salute).
  12. In the event of “uninvited guests” (UG) the RCIC will provide specific instructions to flag line members.
  13. If UG are in attendance we simply hold our flags with our backs turned to the protesters.
  14. Do not engage the protester either verbally or physically. We are strictly at the direction of the RCIC.
  15. If UG attempt to provoke you, stand with your back toward them and ignore them.
  16. Breaks—Sometimes it is necessary to stand in a Flag Line for long periods of time. Ensure that knees are not locked while standing for prolonged periods. At the slightest indication of a faint feeling, hand your flag to the person next to you and move away from the Flag Line and sit down. The RCIC, safety designee(s) or medical personnel will provide assistance. If the weather is hot, hydration is a must. Please ensure you bring adequate drinking water for the mission. Restroom facilities will be identified by the RCIC at the mission briefing. Ask someone next to you hold your flag or take it with you when you step away for a break.
  17. Clothing—Dress for safety, comfort and respect. Many suggestions have been made regarding standard shirts or clothing but Patriot Guard has not adopted a dress code or policy for our members. Since our mission is “respect,” we do everything in our power to honor those requests. Keep in mind that we are there to respect the family.  Please dress appropriately for the occasion.
  18. Trash—Ensure that trash is properly disposed of away from the Flag Line at a location specified by the RCIC. If you smoke, please properly dispose of your butts. (Remember, there is NO smoking on the flagline).
  19. Flag Lines may be established outside or inside a building; the Flag Line procedures are the same for both events