President Reagan Began Tradition of Returning Military Salutes
Now days, when you see the President of the United States pass a U.S. Marine or another service-member you’ll see a quick exchange of salutes. Most don’t know that this tradition was only recently established. Prior to 1981, the service-member would salute the President, but it was never reciprocated until President Ronald Reagan began the custom. As you can probably imagine, even this seemingly innocent change didn’t come without it’s critics.
The respectful gesture actually ruffled the feathers of many liberals at the time, offended by the militarization of a civilian position. Many defended the salute, stating the the President is the nation’s commander-in-chief and therefor was just following military tradition in returning a salute. The reference to the President as our country’s commander-in-chief only angered liberals further. Gary Willis, a professor at Northwestern University, stated in a New York Times op-ed column, “…the president is not our commander in chief. He certainly is not mine. I am not in the Army.”
It seems like a gross overreaction to a small gesture of appreciation to the young men and women protecting him. Thankfully the gesture survived and continues today, and we have the Gipper to thank for it.
Source: Free Republic