A President Isn’t Supposed To Return Salute [OPINION]
With the recent video of President Obama exiting Marine One with the latte in his "saluting" hand, I thought I would shed some light on the subject.
According to US Army Regulation 600-25, a proper salute is rendered when approaching or approached by a senior-ranking officer, and held until the salute is returned. So, it looks bad when the President doesn't return salute, because the soldier must hold his/her salute until returned. If the salute isn't returned (which sometimes happens), the saluting soldier must hold his salute until the senior officer is completely past the soldier.
Customarily, the President of the United States, even with prior military experience, is not to salute. He (or she) is not to instigate a salute, nor return a salute. The military salute is an earned honor, reserved for military personnel; as a general rule, the President of the United States is not supposed to return salute.
NO president saluted ANY military on a regular basis until President Ronald Reagan. He felt that he was being rude by "ignoring" the salutes.
Agreed, it looks rude. By not returning the salute, it appears that the President would be saying "yeah, whatever", but it's actually a Catch-22: the President of the United States is Commander in Chief, leader of the military, so he deserves a salute from ANYONE in the military. BUT: he is not IN the military, so has not earned the privilege of returning the salute. It sounds crazy, but it's true.
Now, for the "latte" salute, in my opinion: If a president is interested in carrying on the tradition that was started by President Reagan, they should render a heartfelt, PROPER salute EVERY TIME he (or she) returns salute. If a president is going to do it, DO IT PROPERLY. Ask for instruction from ANY soldier, because they will know how to instruct one to properly return a salute.
I think that some people like it when we see our President saluting, because we want to believe that he (or she) is a great military leader. Many of us also hold our military in high regards, and we dislike it when they are "dissed".
But, that's just my opinion.
And, for reference, here are the Google Search results showing pictures of President Bush trying to salute while holding a dog.