Why we do it
Montana POW/MIA Awareness Association is an all-volunteer organization. Many of us are veterans – all of us are proud citizens who present ourselves in a professional manner. One of our greatest privileges is to honor, respect, and remember the heroes who honored this country with their unfailing service. To do this, we stand a flag line holding American flags. Standing a flag line is a privilege we take very seriously.
When requested, the Association attends funerals of fallen Service Members, Veterans, and First Responders – Law Enforcement, Fire, and EMT personnel – to show respect and honor for the service and sacrifice of the fallen and to acknowledge the sacrifice and loss suffered by their families. The service we offer is called an Honor Mission. An Honor Mission could include any or all of the following services when requested by the family of the fallen hero:
- - stand a flag line at the funeral home or church
- - motorcycle escort (weather permitting)
- - participate in a funeral procession
- - stand a flag line at the burial/interment site.
We are always looking for individuals interested in participating in Honor Missions. You do not have to be a veteran or even a biker, just someone who thinks that POW/MIA issues are important and would like to participate.
Honor. Respect. Remember.
If you are interested in joining us at a flag line, please review the information below to familiarize yourself with our flag line protocol.
We have adopted the flag protocol of the Patriot Guard of Kansas, the home of the Patriot Guard, which is described below.
This information was pulled from this page on their website.
Layne: "While I feel our former protocol was properly documented in Military Honor Guard procedures and thereby respectful to the hero we are honoring AND the flag, our membership has voted on and agreed to use on the procedure below as a reasonable alternative."
* The comments added by me are noted as such and are not necessarily the opinion or representitive of the Montana POW/MIA Awareness Association or other members.
As stated by the Patriot Guard of Kansas:
The following information is derived from a variety of sources, with the definitive source being the Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 1005.8; The DoD Directive applies to all Veterans Service Organizations, every citizen of the United States, and thus, to the Patriot Guard. The directive can be found at website link: Click here
Holding a Flagpole in the Flag Line
We mount our flags on 10-foot poles.
When holding a flag pole, the flag must be held with the right hand and remain vertical.
The bottom of the pole should rest on the ground near the outside of the right foot.
The American Flag should never "dip".
Definition of Dipping a Flag:
"To dip a flag that is being carried means to lower it by turning it forward from an upright position to 45° or horizontal. This is done as a sign of respect or deference. At sea, it is done by lowering to half-mast and returning to full mast position."
Layne: "Dipping is not defined as moving the flag in formation. As such, we never have, and never will intentionally dip the American flag."
In windy situations it may be necessary to extend the left arm across the body, placing the left hand below or above the right hand to steady the pole. Roll up the flag when instructed to do so.
A hand salute is rendered when the flag passes, and when the flag-draped casket is moved.
It is incorrect for people holding the flag to render the "Hand Salute". Holding the flag while standing at attention is equivalent to rendering a hand salute.
People holding the flags should not render the hand salute - they should instead continue to hold the American Flag in the upright position with the right hand.
Those who are not holding flags and have served in the military, law enforcement, or firefighting agencies should render the "hand salute" and hold it until the command "Order Arms" is given.
All others who are not holding flags should place their right hand over their heart.
Rendering a hand salute:
The Patriot Guard follows the lead of the military, law enforcement, and firefighters in charge of the honors ceremonies. When those groups issue the following commands, the Patriot Guard obeys the commands.
There may be occasions when the Patriot Guard Ride Captain must issue the commands:
"Attention!" --> Come to attention
"Present, Arms!" --> Salute if not holding a flag
"Order, Arms!" --> Arm back to side but stand at attention
"As You Were" or "At ease" --> If holding flag, continue until instructed to roll them up