From greeting a superior officer, showing homage to the American flag, or paying respect to a fallen comrade — saluting is a powerful non-verbal communication gesture for showing proper respect.
With no real written record of how or where the tradition began, the salute dates back far in history when troops would raise their right hand (or their weapon hand) as a signal of friendship.
Back in the days, the subordinate person hand-gestured first in the presence of a superior who would then respond accordingly, which is the same practice used today — lower-ranking personnel salute higher ranking first.
Recruits learn how to hand salute in boot camp and demonstrate it hundreds of times before heading out to active duty. The gesture becomes instant as muscle memory takes over.
But many civilians nowadays salute as a form of celebration — and they get it so so wrong.
So check out our list of awful hand salutes that weren’t even close.
(Seriously — where are the military consultants?)
The over-the-top salute. (Image via Giphy)
He needs lessons…badly. (Image via Giphy)
Also Read: 5 epic military movie mistakes
Steven Seagal (Under Siege)
Can you think of any others?