STEPHENVILLE — Tarleton State University and the Texan Corps of Cadets have brought back a long-standing tradition that embraces the university’s heritage and appreciation for military service while honoring the nation’s colors.
The third Monday of every month during the fall semester, excluding finals week, the Corps of Cadets will conduct a Retreat ceremony at 5 p.m.
The U.S. flag will be lowered at the flagpole in the center of the Stephenville campus in front of the E.J. Howell Education Building, World War I cannon and Alumni Island. Bugle calls will be played and a cannon fired.
The next Retreat ceremony is Oct. 19.
The ceremony dates to the Revolutionary War and is one of the oldest traditions in the U.S. Army. Originally, drums sounded it, the drum being the normal musical instrument then found in infantry units. The bugle was used solely as a signal instrument.
By the end of the Civil War, the infantry, cavalry and artillery all were sounding bugle calls during “Retreat,” where it remains in tradition today.
The ceremony serves two purposes — to signal the end of the duty day and to pay respect to the flag. Once the bugle sounds, all personnel driving on the installation should stop. Service members and government civilian personnel are encouraged to turn off their vehicles and, if safe to do so, exit to render the appropriate honors.
Tarleton students, faculty and staff outside buildings also should render the honors. Disabled persons and small children are not required to exit their vehicles. If in a group in a military vehicle or bus, only the senior occupant exits the vehicle to honor the flag.
With the first note of “Retreat,” everyone should come to attention and face the flag (or the direction the music is coming from if the flag is not visible). At the last note, a cannon is fired and “To the Colors” begins. Service members in uniform render the hand salute at the first note of the song.
Normally, the flag is faced when saluting unless duty requires facing in another direction. At the conclusion of the music, regular duties are resumed. When in a formation or a group, the senior service member present calls the group to “attention” and then “parade, rest” at the first note of “Retreat.”
At the first note of “To the Colors” the senior service member will call the group to “attention” and “present, arms.” At the conclusion the senior service member will give the command “order, arms.” Those in civilian clothing remove their headgear and place their right hand over their heart at the first note of “To the Colors.” Service members not in uniform and retired service members may render the hand salute if they choose.
To learn more about the Texan Corps of Cadets, go to www.tarleton.edu/cadets/.