This is something I just learned, Interesting…
This is an excerpt from Task and Purpose
There’s no regulation that stipulates presidents must salute the troops. In fact, for the first 192 years of our republic, it didn’t happen. None of the first 38 commanders in chief did it. And some of those dudes had some serious military experience.
Eisenhower? Grant? I mean, Teddy Roosevelt was a war hero. Surely he felt compelled to click his heels together and cut a perfect knife-handed salute when he passed a uniform service member, right? Wrong. It was literally something that Ronald Reagan made up one day.
In Rachel Maddow’s 2011 book “Drift,” which offers a fascinating look at how modern presidents commit the military to war, Maddow describes how upon entering the White House in 1981, Reagan began saluting every uniformed service member he saw. One of his military aides, a Marine officer named John Kline, who is now a Republican congressman from Minnesota, worried that Reagan’s new ritual was inappropriate. He voiced his concerns directly with the president. Maddow writes:
Soldiers were supposed to salute their president; the president was not supposed to salute the soldiers. No modern president, not even old General Eisenhower, had saluted military personnel. It might even be, well, sort of, improper. Reagan seemed disappointed at this news. Kline suggested he talk to the commandant of the United States Marine Corps and get his advice, and the commandant’s advice ran something like this: You’re the goddamn president. You can salute whoever you goddamn well please. So Ronald Reagan continued saluting his soldiers, and he encouraged his own vice president and successor, George H.W. Bush, to do the same. And every president since has followed.