Customs and Courtesies Us Army Paper

Topics: Army, Military courtesy, Salute Pages: 4 (1512 words) Published: May 31, 2012
Military Customs and Courtesies

There are many traditions that have been established over the long history of the military services. These many traditions can be broken into numerous customs and courtesies. A custom is a way of acting in a manner that has been continued constantly over a long period of time. It is almost like a law. A courtesy is a way of displaying good manners and politeness when dealing with other people. Military courtesy conveys respect both up and down the chain of command.

One commonly recognized custom and courtesy is the military salute. The salute has been an exchange of greetings since the age of chivalry. During these ages the knights were mounted with steel armor that covered their body completely including head and face. It was custom to raise one’s visor and expose one’s face to another when two friendly knights met. Since the left hand was always used to hold the reins, this gesture was always done with the right hand. Since the right hand was also the sword hand, doing this gesture removed the hand from the vicinity of the weapon creating an even more significant act of friendship and confidence. Even though steel body armor has long been a thing of the past, the raising of the right hand is now recognized as the proper greeting between soldiers. The military salute is given in a manner of pride when recognizing a comrade in the honorable profession of arms. Some historians believe the hand salute began in late Roman times when assassinations were common. A citizen who wanted to see a public official had to approach with his right hand raised to show that he did not hold a weapon.

Military customs and courtesies are imperative in proving a guideline for all actions in which all military members are expected to follow. When applying rank into the equation of military customs and courtesies, it is expected for a lower ranking individual to automatically follow all instructions of higher-ranking individuals....
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