Many people put out flags for Memorial Day and many organizations play the national anthem, but did you ever wonder why men take off their hats for the song?
The origins are the same as the origins of the tradition of
saluting. Knights, wearing helmets that covered their heads, would
typically lift their visors to show their faces to their monarchs
and others as a sign of friendliness and respect.
The traditions of using ones right hand for taking off the hat,
saluting, and shaking hands also come from this. Most people are
right handed and so, if your right hand is exposed and busy, it
can’t contain a weapon.
It is the law in the United States for men to take their hat off during the
national anthem and hold it over their heart, except those in the
military typically, because the hat is a part of the military uniform.
There is no penalty for failure to comply.
Old records of etiquette state that women must be allowed to keep
their hats on because when a woman takes off her hat, her hair and
possibly more of her flesh will be exposed. This will cause the men
around to think lustful thoughts and thus they will be unable to
focus on contemplations of patriotism or in church, unable to fully
give their attentions to learning about God. I doff my hat to