Customs, courtesies for reveille, retreat, and taps Published May 25, 2023 By Chief Master Sgt. Alan Weary 66th Air Base Group Command Chief Master Sergeant HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass., -- Each duty day, members of the Hanscom AFB community will hear reveille, retreat, and taps play across the installation’s giant voice system to mark the beginning and end of duty hours. Instead of raising the U.S. flag each morning, Hanscom AFB displays her 24/7. The installation commander has designated 6:30 a.m. as the official start of the duty day, and 5 p.m. as the end of the duty day here. Quiet hours on base start at 9 p.m. Reveille is played at 6:30 a.m. as a bugle call, and is immediately followed by “To the Colors.” The proper procedures for service members outside and in uniform during reveille is to stop, face the flag, or music if the flag is not in view, and go to the position of parade rest. Upon the first note of “To the Colors,” service members render a hand salute for the duration of the song. Civilians and military members who are not in uniform during “To the Colors” should remove any non-religious headdress with their right hand and hold it over the heart. Those without a head covering should also place their right hand over their heart. Retreat is played at 5 p.m. to mark the end of the official duty day, and precedes the playing of the national anthem. Proper procedures for retreat are nearly identical to reveille. Service members outside and in uniform during the playing of retreat is to stop, face the flag, or music if the flag is not in view, and go to the position of parade rest. Then, upon the first note of the national anthem, service members render a hand salute for the duration of the song. Civilians and military members not in uniform during the anthem should remove any non-religious headdress with their right hand and hold it over the heart. Those without a head covering should also place their right hand over their heart. If in a vehicle during reveille or retreat, drivers should pull the car to the side of the road and stop. All occupants should sit quietly and at attention until the last note of “To the Colors” or the national anthem is played. Taps plays at 9 p.m. While there are no official procedures for taps being played at the start of quiet hours, it is customary if outdoors to take part in a moment of silence for the duration of the song in recognition of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. When the U.S. flag is raised or lowered, or when “To the Colors” or the national anthem is played, the proper etiquettes are as follows: - Service members in uniform should stand at attention and salute. - Service members out of uniform should stand at attention and place their right hand over their heart or may also render a salute. - Civilians should place their right hand, with a hat if wearing one, over their heart. - Service members wearing an official physical training uniform outdoors should stop, stand at attention, and render salute. - Vehicles in motion should pull over safely and stop. Taps is also a critical part of military funeral and memorial ceremonies. When at a military funeral in uniform, a salute should be rendered during the playing of taps. Civilians should remove any non-religious headdress and place their right hand over their heart. If sponsoring guests to Hanscom AFB, including contractors, sponsors should inform visitors of these requirements and protocols.