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Proper etiquette important for reveille and retreat

Air Force Sustainment Center command staff members, from left, Andrew Williams, Staff Sgt. Bryan Lemire, Airman 1st Class George Rollins, Staff Sgt. Lindsey Otto and Vandi Leheny demonstrate correct etiquette during the daily Retreat ceremony.

Air Force Sustainment Center command staff members, from left, Andrew Williams, Staff Sgt. Bryan Lemire, Airman 1st Class George Rollins, Staff Sgt. Lindsey Otto and Vandi Leheny demonstrate correct etiquette during the daily Retreat ceremony.

 Like many traditions, reveille and retreat were started with one purpose and now hold another.

Not always meant to honor the flag, reveille — from the French word for “wake up” — began in 1812 as a way to wake troops for assembly and roll call. It still symbolizes the beginning of the day’s work, but also honors the U.S. flag as it is raised.


Dating back to the crusades, retreat was originally meant to signify guards to being challenging, or requiring identification, until sunrise, and to notify others to return to their quarters.


At Tinker Air Force Base they are played at 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Following proper etiquette on base during the songs is important for civilians and military members alike.


Unlike other bases, Tinker AFB does not follow reveille with “To the Colors” or the national anthem, so customs and courtesy are not required.


Retreat, however, is followed by the national anthem. At the first notes of retreat, drivers should pull over and put on hazard lights, and those walking should stop and face the flag, or the direction of the music if the flag is not in sight.


Military members should salute and civilians should put their hand over their heart.