Historically the United States is steeped in tradition, especially when it comes to saluting.
There are strict protocols that surround saluting, including the hand salute.
Military customs and courtesies say a hand salute generally (certain ceremonies may have different protocols) is for the National Anthem, the flag, and officers.
The salute is considered so sacred it is prescribed as a regulation. Meaning should a member of the military fail to salute an officer or the flag properly, they can get in trouble.
According to AFI34-1201 (US Air Force Customs and Courtesies Manual), Airman must salute the US flag and the following below:
A hand salute is a form of military greeting, recognition, and respect. Salutes shall be rendered by all military Airmen when in uniform to:
The President and Vice President of the United States.
The Secretary of Defense and Service Secretaries.
To officers of the U.S. Armed Forces. See Attachment 9 for recognition of Department of Defense commissioned officer ranks.
To officers of the U.S. Uniformed Services (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Public Health Service).
To officers of friendly Foreign Nations.
So people are really upset about this post from the US Air Force:
June is #PrideMonth! The Department of the Air Force proudly recognizes and celebrates generations of LGBTQI+ service members and their contributions to our #AirForce & #SpaceForce. pic.twitter.com/lQi9lH5sdr
— U.S. Air Force (@usairforce) June 7, 2023
We are including a screenshot of the post at the very bottom of this article just in case they delete it.
Americans are livid, and the comments got so heated that the Air Force would not allow people to comment on the post. Which for a private citizen is fair game; however, their decision may have put them in legal peril.
Remember, then-President Trump was sued and lost for blocking trolls on his social media account. The courts ruled that because Trump was a public official and using that account as an official, he was violating Americans’ free speech by blocking them.
If the U.S. Air Force wants to restrict the public from commenting on their Pride extravaganza marketing, then they shouldn’t be allowed to use taxpayer dollars to pay for it. pic.twitter.com/gsDyIfkrYe
— Ashley St. Clair (@stclairashley) June 8, 2023
Below is a screenshot showing some of the comments:
“Fact-checkers” claim that the outrage is unnecessary because there is no flag present in the post. They are right; there is no “flag.” What is disrespectful is that the airman silhouette is performing a salute that is in violation of military customs and courtesies. The image is giving honor to Pride in a way that it is unauthorized.
If you want to celebrate Pride in the Air Force that’s fine just do it within the regulations or change them.
Below is a screenshot of the original post, just in case the Air Force deletes it: