News: Why did everyone just pull over?
Story by Pfc. Samuel Ranney
BARSTOW, Calif. -Imagine it’s your first week working on Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Calif., or any Marine Corps or naval installation for that matter; the clock hits 8 a.m. and suddenly, you hear loud music and everything seems to freeze ... are you going to know what to do?
For those without prior military experience, this is morning colors, a naval tradition that continues to take place every morning at 8 a.m., and is followed by evening colors, at sunset each night.
Morning and evening colors have been a naval regulation for more than a hundred years; the flag in front of the Headquarters Battalion building here briskly goes up to the playing of “To the Colors” during the morning, and slowly goes down to the playing of “Retreat,” in the evening. Following morning and evening colors,
“Carry-On” is sounded to conclude the ceremony. A 5-minute warning will sound before each of these, to prepare base personnel for the moment of silence.
You do not have to be military personnel to pay respect and show pride in the raising and lowering of the flag each day. If you are outside and hear the sounding of colors, morning or evening, turn to the direction of the flag or music, and stand still in silence until colors is over. Service members will stand at attention and render a salute while in uniform. If you are driving and see or hear colors, turn down any music, safely pull-over to a complete stop and sit still in the car until it concludes.
During this time of silence, it is encouraged to reflect on and appreciate the meaning of the flag as it is being raised or lowered, and what it means to be an American. The 50 stars on the flag represent each state in the U.S., and how America’s responsibilities have increased since the original 13 colonies. The 13 stripes represent those 13 original colonies that fought for and gained the freedom Americans have today; it also shows the strength of America’s traditions.
Taking two minutes to start and end the day by honoring American history and a flag that thousands of men and women have died for, is a simple way to show patriotism and appreciation for the freedom Americans have today. So, next time you hear that ‘sound,’ stop what you’re doing, face the flag and reminisce on what the colors mean to you.