The Army has A LOT of traditions. I am still learning most of them, and what is ‘appropriate’ to do in various situations. I have to give a bit of background before I can get to the real story.
One tradition is the “Hail and Farewell”. Each Army organization (Battalion, Company, or in our case, Team) holds an informal event comprised of the senior leaders and their families. The purpose of this event is to welcome (hail) incoming personnel and send off (farewell) those leaving the team. These events are usually held in the evenings over dinner.
We had a Hail and Farewell for Andy’s Team Friday night. It was a barbeque, on post, at the picnic area.
Another tradition is at 5pm when the flag is lowered. On every Army installation (to my knowledge) the flag is lowered at 5pm while ‘Retreat’ plays, signaling the end of the official duty day (though MY husband is rarely headed home at that point, but that’s another story). Retreat is played over the PA and can be heard over most of the post. When it plays all service members stand. They face the direction of the flag, saluting while they lower the flag.
Jackson and I got to the picnic early and at 5 o'clock someone calls out ‘lowering the flag’. And I think, oh great. I don’t remember what I am supposed to do. Uh, pause, I stand up too. Jackson remains sitting in front of me on the picnic table. Halfway into Retreat Jackson lets out a reverberating pfffffffffft on the metal picnic table. I can’t help but smile because no one is allowed to acknowledge the very loud fart as they are busy saluting the lowering of the flag. Then it happens again. Pffffffffffffffffft tut tutt. I laugh silently as I watch the soldiers around me trying to keep it together. The short ceremony finishes and everyone busts out. Jackson doesn’t know what everyone is laughing at, but he likes smiling so he does too.
I love how he makes me laugh every. single. day.