At 1700 (5:00pm to the civilians reading along) the official Army day is over the and the flag comes down from the one and only flagpole on the post. When that happens two bugle calls sound. The first is, Retreat, a signal that the flag is about to come down. The second is, To The Colors, the bugle sounds as the flag is actually coming down.
On Friday afternoon I was golfing nine holes on the Ft. Dix Golf Course with my friends Justin, Dennis, and Stacy when the five o'clock hour struck. With each bugle call there is a ceremony that is performed by every Soldier who can hear it. For Retreat you come to the position of attention and face towards the music. For To The Colors you salute if in uniform or remain at attention if not.
The four of us grumbled a little as Retreat sounded, but as a group, there on the eighth tee, we stood at attention. And as I quickly looked around the course I noticed the foursome in front of us stopped. As did the twosome on second tee. In fact, the whole course stood still until the Colors were down.
I love this organization that stands on its ceremonies and that those ceremonies are respected by everyone, even when no one is looking or its convenient to look the other way. We pass them on. We keep our standards high. And we keep our respect for who we are as Soldiers in check.