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Can I be punished for not standing during the National Anthem?

My commander is considering corrective training against me because I did not stand during the National Anthem while off-duty at a ball game. How can he do this?

Company Command: The Bottom Line - Army Leadership Guide

AR 600-20 para 4-3 is specific:

The actions of military personnel will reflect respect to both the national anthem and the national colors. The courtesies listed in AR 600–25, appendix A, should be rendered the national colors and national anthem at public events whether the Soldier is off or on duty, whether he or she is in or out of uniform. Intentional disrespect to the national colors or national anthem is conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline and discredits the military service.

Please understand that corrective training is not punishment. It is training specifically designed to correct a perceived deficit. Your commander clearly believes your lack of courtesy is a training failure. If he wants to conduct corrective training to eliminate the deficiency, it is well within his authority. See Using corrective training to motivate substandard performers to learn more about corrective training.

On a personal note: If you have chosen to serve our country, you have also chosen to respect the symbols of our nation.

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Mark is a Retired Command Sergeant Major with 26 years of military leadership experience. He held 3 military occupational specialties (Field Artillery, Nuclear Weapons Tech, and Ammunition Ordnance). Mark is one of the leading military authors in the fields of leadership, counseling, and training.

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