Marine customs are simply desirable courses of action sanctioned by tradition and usage. In the Marine Corps, practically every custom has grown out of the manner in which Marines of the past conducted themselves. Many Marine customs have been incorporated into regulations in order to standardize conduct throughout the Corps, but some of them cannot be found in written directives. Knowing and observing these customs, both written and unwritten, is important to each Marine because it keeps him mindful of the heritage and traditions of his Corps, and of his duty to uphold them. In addition, it makes him feel that he is a part of the team and helps to create the strong bond of loyalty between him and all other Marines that has become a distinguishing mark of the Corps.
Have you ever wondered why your kid stands at attention when they are playing the National Anthem when you are at a sporting event? You might ask why don’t you put your hand over your heart? Or, why are you so stiff? I know I have received those questions. Lots of military customs and courtesies go unknown to a significant portion of this Nation’s population particularly when members of our Corps silently obey those time honored traditions while in civilian clothes. Here is a short list of things you may or may not know:
The National Anthem. When played, the service member will stand at attention. If covered while in uniform, the service member will salute the National Ensign (our flag). It is also appropriate for the service member to turn and face the flag during the playing of the National Anthem. The appropriate civilian action is to place your right hand over your heart and stand still while facing the flag.
Passing of the National Ensign. It is fitting to render proper honors to the Nation’s symbol by standing when the flag passes. You will see this at parades or during a Command Review. For Marines in uniform and covered, rendering a salute is also proper....