Question: I need information for a color guard presentation when other music is played instead of the National Anthem or when the Pledge of Allegiance is recited.
Answer: The only music should be the National Anthem. The Pledge is the only replacement for the Anthem. No other music is authorized. If a band is present and the occasion warrants, the band may play a military march as the team advances to post the colors. A recording can be a substitute, but most often is a poor substitute. To have some kind of music playing for whatever reason as the color team advances and departs is not appropriate. Music is not mandatory. Color teams advance to present and post the colors in silence all of the time.
The color team (color guard) sequence goes like this:
- Five minutes before the ceremony, the color team forms up in an out-of-the-way location inside the room or, if there isn’t room for them, outside of the room, near the doorway.
- The announcer/master of ceremonies should say something like, “Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the presentation (or posting*) of the colors.”
- On that cue, the color team commander calls the team to attention, port arms and gives forward march.
- The team comes to center in front of and facing the audience and the commander gives Present, ARMS.
- On that cue, the band, National Anthem is played or sung or the Pledge of Allegiance is recited by all present.
- The color team commander gives Order, ARMS and the team either posts the colors or departs.
*There is a difference, see the next question.
Question: Can you present colors indoors when there is already flags posted on a stage?
Answer: Yes! In the honor guard world, it is called a “Show-N-Go”. The reason for only presenting the colors and not posting could be, the event is not formal, the position of the posted colors is awkward, or time will not allow for the posting sequence.
A Show-N-Go is only accomplished when another set of colors or at least the American flag is pre-posted.
Images from, The Honor Guard Manual. For complete information on the different acceptable ways of how to present/post the colors and the different ways for the color team to depart, see the manual.