Reveille/reatreat: Two minutes a day -- what to do?

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Every day millions of people go to work, they park their cars or exit mass transit, they head into their various workplaces and when work is done for the day they leave their workplaces and proceed back to their mode of transportation.

But if you are one of a few thousand folks who work on a U.S. military installation worldwide, two things set you apart from the general populous on a daily basis--Reveille and Retreat.

Reveille sounds every morning and retreat is sounded every evening, seven days a week, at times determined by the installation commander. These two ceremonies have been executed on military bases for more years than I can remember. It is part of the military culture to honor and respect our flag and national anthem.

What is the proper reaction to each of these unique events? Basically it is the same for both.  If you are outside at the sound of either reveille or retreat, you should stop.....stop walking, stop talking and turn to face the flag or the direction of the music if the flag is not in view. If you are in a military uniform you are required to come to attention and salute. If you are in civilian clothes you should stand at attention, place your right hand over your heart and all should remove their hats. If you are driving in a vehicle, you should pull the vehicle to the side of the road, turn down the music and remain quiet for the duration of the ceremony. All passengers in the car should remain quiet as well.

If you happen to be walking out of your building or getting out of your car and the music starts, you should stop and render the proper courtesies. If the music signifying each event has already started, you shouldn't race out the door or get out of your car to be a part of the ceremony and you shouldn't be forced out the door. You should stop and wait until the music is over. You, also, shouldn't make the "mad dash" for the door or your car to avoid rendering proper courtesies. 

Why not make the "mad dash?" It shows a blatant disrespect to the flag of our country and these ceremonies. It goes against the core values of the U.S. Air Force. These core values are the values every member in the Air Force agreed to when they made the decision to join the military and raised their right hand to take the oath. While a good amount of civilians are veterans, there are also many who are not. However every government civilian who works on a military installation did sign up to be a part of the federal civilian work force and did accept a job on a military installation, all of their own free will. Once a civilian has accepted a position on a military installation they, in essence, sign up to follow the rules and regulations that govern the installation. Therefore, by making the "mad dash" they are also showing disrespect to the flag and the ceremony as well.

Even though many folks grew up with the values instilled in them of showing respect to the flag and national anthem; many did not. But once again, if you are in the U.S. military or working on a a military installation these values are now a part of your daily life.  It is each and every person's responsibility to respect these values and if possible pass them on to future generations. 

We live in the land of the free, the home of many brave. For the families of the heroes who gave up their lives defending our freedom, the least we could do as a population is pay respect to the very flag that our fellow Americans died defending. 

It takes two minutes out of your day to render this respect. And these two minutes are not consecutive; one minute in the morning and one in the evening. Two minutes...that is nothing compared to the countless lives lost and to the family members who wish for those two minutes back with their loved one. So the next time you are considering the "mad dash," think about those who have gone before us, what would they do with those two minutes.