What is an Honor Guard?
The Honor Guard is often also called “Guard of Honor,” it is a ceremonial escort.
Every branch of service has its own Honor Guard, with the official branch based in Washington D.C. However, each military base has its own Honor Guard. One of the primary purposes is to provide funeral honors for those who have fallen in battle.
What is a Color Guard?
The Color Guard carries the national colors and other flags. These colors must be carried in a specific position. The Flag bearers are positioned in the center of the Guard and there are usually 2 individuals who carry rifles on each side of the flag bearers. Although, depending upon the circumstances, the dress may be full military dress or less formal, it is mandatory that the Color Guard wear headgear of some type: a beret, service cap or garrison cap.
When marching, the Color Guard does not execute an about face movement nor do they rear march. In order to turn around they must execute a special maneuver called a counter march.
Missing In Action: this is a term used for a member of the armed forces who is reported missing following combat and whose status is unknown (for instance, there is no way to know if the person is injured, captured, or has been killed). Often the initials MIA will be used for those Missing In Action.
Prisoner of War: A prisoner of war is an armed forces member who is placed in prison by an enemy power during or immediately after combat. The initials POW are often used to refer to those who are Prisoners of War.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: Throughout history, there are many armed forces members who have died in numerous wars without their remains being identified. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is symbolic and represents the war grave for unidentified soldiers. The remains of a dead armed forces member that has not been identified is usually buried there. The inscription often says that they are “known but to God.”
Laying of the Wreath: Traditionally flowers are placed on graves to honor those who have died. The Laying The Wreath is also a tradition of showing honor to those military service men and women who have died in service to their country. The President of the United States usually places a Wreath at the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier each Memorial Day.
Some Rules of Etiquette for the Flag
- The flag should be displayed from sunrise to sunset.
- Exception: the flag may be displayed at all times if it is illuminated during darkness.
- The flag should be protected from weather damage, so only an all-weather flag should be displayed during rain, snow, winds and other detriment weather.
- When a number of flags are grouped together, the U.S. flag should be at the center and at the highest point of the group.
- When a U.S. flag is displayed other than from a staff, it should be displayed flat, or suspended in such a way that its folds fall free.
- When displayed over a street, the flag should be placed so it faces north or east.
- When displayed from a staff projecting from a building, the union of the flag should be placed at the peak of the staff, unless the flag is at half staff.
- When displayed on a speaker’s platform against a wall, the flag should be placed above and behind the speaker with the union of the flag in the upper left-hand corner (as the audience faces the flag).
- When used to cover a casket, it should be placed so that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should never be lowered into the grave and should not be allowed to touch the ground.
- During any ceremony when the U.S. flag is passing in parade, all persons should face the flag, stand at attention and salute. This means that a man should remove his hat and hold it with the right hand over the heart. Men without hats, and ladies should salute by placing the right hand over the heart. This salute should take place while the flag passes.
- When a U.S. flag is flown at half-staff, it should always be hoisted to the peak then lowered to half staff position. When taking it down for the evening, raise it to the peak again then lower.