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Honor Guard 101: Presenting the Colors

Honor Guard 101: Presenting the Colors

The Fairfax County Police Department Honor Guard presents colors at the US Chamber of Commerce during Police Week 2008. (Photo: Lt. Ken Baine)

Lt. Ken Baine / Fairfax County Police Department

The Presentation of the Colors is perhaps the most common assignment most honor guards perform each year. It is also one of the best opportunities you have to project a professional, polished image of your department to a large and varied segment of your community.

You and your team inspire feelings of patriotism and pride in observers every time you present the colors, so team members should always look sharp in uniform. To the public, each member of your team is the face of your entire department. Your team should be viewed as the number one public relations tool your agency has.

Your team should arrive early to every event. It is always best if the senior team member and the lead guard walk the path the team will take going into and out of the event. Pay particular attention to wires on the floor, chairs or tables that may be in the way and the ceiling height to make sure your flags will not be too big for the room. Mark a spot on the floor for the lead guard to stop so your color team is centered to your audience. Make sure you have a plan for going in and exiting to include having someone hold the doors open so your team can march in and out.

Try to secure a room at the venue so members of your team can get out of public view before the event. It is helpful to have a place to change and leave your gear while you are presenting the colors.

Make contact with the master of ceremonies as soon as you arrive at each venue. Preferences vary on what is to be included in the opening ceremony. Sometimes they may want both the National Anthem sung and Pledge of Allegiance recited. The National Anthem always precedes the pledge.

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I recommend you take the time to go over the proper way to announce your honor guard for the opening ceremonies. You may want to make copies of the proper introduction of the colors and give one to the master of ceremonies at each event, in case the host is inexperienced or subject to nervousness in front of crowds.

The Fairfax County Police Department Honor Guard uses the following as our standard greeting: “Will everyone please rise for the presentation of colors by the Fairfax County Police Department Honor Guard. The singing of the National Anthem will be performed by Officer Jane Doe.”

If the event you’re presenting colors to is using their vocalist they may have never been involved with a color team and may not know when to start singing the National Anthem. If you’re working with a vocalist who is unfamiliar to you, go over with them that when the command, “Present arms,” is given, they should start singing.

Remember to thank the master of ceremonies for having your Honor Guard present the colors and provide your business card or name and contact information for future requests for your team.


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  • 10_max50

    CTmotorcop

    over 3 years ago

    432 Comments

    Nicely written. I found this very informative and useful.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 3 years ago

    An excellent article

  • Angel_kincaid_park_2014_max50

    AKangel

    over 4 years ago

    4976 Comments

    AWESOME! Good article. Well done!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 4 years ago

    GREAT ARTICLE

  • Officerdown8mo_max50

    WDJR154

    almost 5 years ago

    70 Comments

    GREAT ARTICLE, CAN'T WAIT TO SEE THE TEAM IN JUNE. BE SAFE.

  • Pamfinal_max50

    lepage

    almost 5 years ago

    22 Comments

    This is a great article....

  • Radio2_max50

    FireDad

    almost 5 years ago

    7352 Comments

    Good information to use

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    almost 5 years ago

    This is a great article. The information should be very useful.

  • Bmg_logo_100x100_max50

    deputyroark

    almost 5 years ago

    196 Comments

    Remember It is called Honor Guard, for a reason. You, are not only Representing yoursefl, but all of the Police Officers, and the Fallen ones as well. So it isn't something to be taken lightly. I sreved our country for over 24 years, in the Army. The Colors represent our Nation, our Comrades in Arms and our Fallen as well. Liberty and Freedom, Isn't Free. !!!

  • 012_max50

    COWilliamFarr

    about 5 years ago

    12 Comments

    thanks for the great information in your article, i shall use the information to improve the honor guard that i am a member of for the Missouri Dept. of Corrections

  • Fairga_02

    Fairga126

    over 5 years ago

    282 Comments

    We are trying to start an honor guard @ Orange Beach Police Department in Alabama. Thanks for the advice. We will be looking for uniforms and other equipment soon. We will have police and fire members.

  • Vivian_alone_max50

    fultonfinest1220

    almost 6 years ago

    288 Comments

    You are so right. Thnx

  • Badge_max50

    TDL1537

    about 6 years ago

    774 Comments

    Thanks for the info. Well written.

  • Flex_swat_max50

    swat115

    about 6 years ago

    2 Comments

    professional and accurate article.

  • L_75efda7422acdf47e605f20efe4d526b_max50

    DJW739

    about 6 years ago

    1188 Comments

    Great Article!

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