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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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  • Moron_max50

    seanmikel

    about 6 years ago

    34 Comments

    Great Article, thanks for the info!

  • Sunset_max50

    pdeep

    about 6 years ago

    2 Comments

    i dont nw wat 2 do in mi life...? wat should i can do...

  • Pima_max50

    cradrcr

    about 6 years ago

    38 Comments

    Great article !

  • Nunst042_max50

    Posse44

    about 6 years ago

    3482 Comments

    Good article. We are starting our own Honor Guard for our Sheriff's Department.

  • Nchpstorm_max50

    JRF443

    about 6 years ago

    546 Comments

    Good article, keep up the good work..........

  • Sunset_max50

    motocross

    about 6 years ago

    1372 Comments

    Outstanding article.

  • Untitled_max50

    goodlight

    about 6 years ago

    1668 Comments

    Very good tips.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 6 years ago

    great article. Thanks

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 6 years ago

    Good Article!!!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 6 years ago

    Good Article!!!

  • Law_enforcement_rose_max50

    GeorgiaBLUE

    about 6 years ago

    3226 Comments

    Great article! Check out our departments New Honor Guard Uniforms I posted in my pictures!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 6 years ago

    Super article, Lt!

  • Photo_user_banned_big

    aaa111

    about 6 years ago

    2112 Comments

    good article

  • Dscn1770__-__2_max50

    photocop

    about 6 years ago

    138 Comments

    Very Good Article!!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 6 years ago

    Great tips. I am a member of our Honor Gusrd/Rifle team. There is always something that will go wrong. So we too arrive early and practice and talk to the event holder.

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