The history of the Girl Scout Salute can be observed by reading through Girl Scout Handbooks.   The salute has changed over time.   Here are some excerpts from various Girl Scout Handbooks.

GIRL SCOUT HANDBOOK

PUBLISHED BY GIRL SCOUTS, INCORPORATED

NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS
170 LEXINGTON AVENUE, NEW YORK, N.Y.
Copyright, 1933
BY GIRL SCOUTS, INC.
New Edition First Impression, October 1933

The Sign 1933       The Salute 1933
[pages 34-35]
THE GIRL SCOUT SIGN AND SALUTE

          The Girl Scout Sign.     The idea of the sign has come down from the days of chivalry, when armed knights greeted friendly knights whom they met, by raising the right hand, palm open, as a sign of friendship.
          To Give the Sign.     The sign is made as in the sketch with the palm forward, the first three fingers extended, and the little finger held down by the thumb.   The hand is usually held shoulder high.
          Like the trefoil, the three extended fingers represent the threefold promise.
          The sign is used as a greeting among Girl Scouts.
          The Girl Scout Salute.     The Girl Scout salute is given by raising the right hand to the temple, the first three fingers extended and the little finger held down by the thumb.
          A Girl Scout is especially careful of how she stands when giving the salute.   She stands or walks with her body held easily erect but not stiff.


WHEN TO USE THE SIGN AND SALUTE

      1.   The salute is used whenever the Promise is made or repeated, and at other formal occasions.
      2.   When Girl Scouts meet, whether friends or strangers, and of whatever rank, they may greet another by using the sign.
      3.   If in uniform, a Girl Scout stands at attention and salutes the Flag when it is hoisted or lowered and as it passes her in parade.   If not in uniform, she stands at attention but does not salute.
      4.   Whenever "The Star-Spangled Banner" is played or sung a Girl Scout stands at attention.
      5.   A Girl Scout may salute when receiving a proficiency badge and special awards at a formal presentation.


[pages 72-74]

GIRL SCOUT COLOR GUARD

A COLOR CEREMONY IN CAMP 1933

      A way of conducting "Colors" that is widely used among Girl Scout troops is as follows: four girls are chosen from the troop to be the Color guard.   One carries the Flag and is in charge of the Color guard; another carries the troop flag, and two girls act as guards to stand on either side of the Color bearers, making four abreast.   It is an honor to be chosen as a member of the Color guard; it should be made up of girls who have good posture. who walk well, and who are in complete uniform.
      At the command, "Color guard, forward center march," the four girls step back out of whatever formation has been chosen for the ceremony, and form four abreast near where the flags are standing. nbsp; At a word from the girl who is to carry the Flag, they walk forward to the Flag, stop, and salute.   The flag bearers pick up the their flags, being sure that the Flag of the United States is on the right, and is picked up first; they march to a place in front of the troop.
      During the entire ceremony the Color guard stands quietly at attention and takes no part in the singing or talking.   When the ceremony is over, the captain says, "Color guard dismissed!"   The guards wheel around, again to the right, and replace the flags in their original place.   All four salute the Flag before returning to their places in line.   The captain does not break up the troop formation until the Color guards are back in their places or until the flags are cared for.
      The chief thing to keep in mind is that the country's emblem should be carried with dignity and honor.   The posture, the expression of the face, and the spirit with which the Flag etiquette is interpreted are important factors.


COLOR CEREMONY IN CAMP

      In camp the same spirit is important, although the ceremony is different, and the girls who hoist the Flag in the morning are responsible all day, until it is taken down at sunset.   If it rains, they will see to it that the Flag is lowered and properly cared for -- dried if need be -- before it is folded and put away.   A Color ceremony in camp differs from that in a troop because the Flag is raised on a flag pole with the campers gathered around it.   It is customary to select a Color bearer for the day, with either four or two guards to attend her.   Many camps use red sashes to indicate the fact that girls who are wearing them are going to raise or lower the Flag and are not to be interefered with or spoken to until they have finished the ceremony.   These sashes are tied on the left sidwe.   After the troop is in place around the flag pole, the girl who carries the folded Flag advances, the four guards, walking two abreast, behind her.   They stop opposite the place where the halyards are fastened; the Color bearer wheels to her right and hands the Flag to the guard on the right, prepares the ropes, and fastens the top end of the Flag while the guard at the left fastens the lower end.   The Color bearer then raises the flag briskly while the four guards make certain that the Flag floats free, and all Girl Scouts stand at salute until the Flag reaches the top.   The bearer fastens the ropes to the pole and the Color guard stands quietly at attention. during the part of the ceremony which may follow.   When dismissed, the Color bearer leads the members of the Color guard back to the starting point, where they remove their sashes.
      At retreat the Color guard advances to lower the Flag in the same formation as raising it.   The Color bearer slowly lowers the Flag, assisted by the four guards, to prevent its touching the ground.   While the four guards fold the Flag into a triangle, the Color bearer stands facing the flag pole.   When the Flag has been folded, the first right-hand guard carries the Flag to the Color bearer and places it in her outstretched hands and then returns to her place.   Upon receiving the order for dismissal, the Color bearer wheels to the right and leads off, away from the flag pole, and the guards follow.


GIRL SCOUT HANDBOOK


INTERMEDIATE PROGRAM


GIRL SCOUTS

National Organization
155 East 44th Street
New York 17, N. Y.
Copyright, 1947, BY GIRL SCOUTS
NEW EDITION
First Impression, October, 1947


[Page 5]
Brownie Scouts, Girl Scouts, Senior Girl Scouts


[Page 11]

THE GIRL SCOUT SALUTE AND WHEN TO USE IT

      The salute is made by raising the right hand to the temple, three fingers extended, the thumb holding down the little finger.   When you give the salute, be careful to stand with your body erect but not stiff.
      The salute is given (1), whenever the Promise is made or repeated, and at other formal occasions; (2), when the Flag is hoisted, is lowered, or passes you on parade, if you are in uniform.   If you are not in uniform, stand at attention but do not salute.

The Girl Scout sign and salute

THE GIRL SIGN AND WHEN TO USE IT

      The idea of the sign has come down from the days of chivalry, when armed knights greeted friendly knights whom they met, by raising the right hand, palm open, as a sign of friendship.
      To make the sign, bring your right hand shoulder high with the palm forward.   Hold the little finger down with the thumb, and extend the other three fingers (see picture).   Like the trefoil, the three extended fingers stand for the three parts of your Promise.


[Pages 32-34]

FLAG CEREMONY

    The Flag ceremony is used for special patriotic occasions, for formal events, for occasional openings and closings of troop meetings.
    First, a Color guard is selected.   If only the Flag of the United States of America (also called the National Colors) is used, a guard of three is chosen -- a bearer who carries the Flag and two guards who march on either side of her.   If there is also a troop flag or the flag of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (called the World Flag), a bearer for each flag and two guards are needed.
    Here are two ways to bring the Flag before the troop:
(1)   If the girls in the Color guard are standing in troop formation, they step out quietly and go to the place where the Flag (or flags) is standing.   The Color guard salutes the Flag, the bearer picks it up, and, at a signal from the leader, the Color guard moves forward, in step.
(2)   The Color guard may remain outside the troop formation, at a spot near the Flag (or flags), and comes forward, at the leader's signal after the troop is in place.
    During the rest of the ceremony, the Color guard and leaders stand facing the troop. which may be in a horseshoe or other formation.   The Color guard as a group stands quietly at attention during the ceremony.   The only time the members of the Color guard salute is when they approach the Flag and when they have returned it to its original place.
    The troop makes the Pledge of Alliegance, and may sing a patriotic song.   Usually the Promise and Laws are also repeated.

The Horseshoe Formation  
The Color guard on its way to the center of the horseshoe.



[Page 114]

THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG

    There is no official pledge of allegiance to the Flag of the United States, such as is prescribed in some countries.   There is however, the well known Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag that the Giirl Scouts learn:   "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands; one Nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
      It is customary in Girl Scout gatherings to give the Girl Scout salute while repeating this pledge.   In other gatherings where this pledge is used, such as school assemblies, Girl Scouts are expected to comply with the custom practiced in that particular place.



Girl Scout Handbook


INTERMEDIATE PROGRAM

Girl Scout Handbook

GIRL SCOUTS OF THE U.S.A.

155 EAST 44TH STREET
NEW YORK 17, N. Y.

Copyright, 1953 by
Girl Scouts of the United States of America
NEW EDITION
First Impression, September, 1953
Second Impression, November, 1953


[Page 12]
The salute           The sign

The salute   The Girl Scout salute is made by raising the right hand to the forehead, three fingers extended, the thumb holding down the little finger.
    The salute is always given when the Promise is made or repeated.   It does not matter whether you are in uniform or not.   The salute is also given when the Flag is raised or lowered, or passes you on parade if you are in uniform.   If you are not in uniform, stand at attention but do not salute.


The sign    To make the Girl Scout sign, bring your right hand up shoulder high with the palm forward.   The three fingers extended fingers stand for the three parts of your Promise.   The sign is used as a greeting when Girl Scouts meet, whether friends or strangers.



[Page 16]
Pledge of Allegiance     "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands; one Nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
      At Girl Scout gatherings you give the Girl Scout salute while repeating the Pledge of Allegiance.   At other gatherings where this pledge is used, such as school assemblies, Girl Scouts are expected to follow the custom practiced in that place.


[Pages 59-60]
The flag ceremony

1.   Take part as a member of the color guard in a flag ceremony at a troop meeting or other gathering.   Help to plan and direct one in your troop meeting.

The flag ceremony is used for investitures, Court of Awards, Thinking Day, patriotic events, and occasional openings and closings of meetings.
      Every flag ceremony must be carefully planned.   Your program may include a song or two, an inspirational reading. a short choral reading, or a brief story.   You may wish to say the Laws and repeat the Promise.   The Pledge of Alliegance to the Flag is generally included.   A short, simple ceremony is most effective.  

Note: Changes noticed from the Novenber, 1953 Impression (above) to the November, 1955 Impression (below) are underlined .


Girl Scout Handbook


INTERMEDIATE PROGRAM

Girl Scout Handbook

GIRL SCOUTS OF THE U.S.A.

155 EAST 44TH STREET
NEW YORK 17, N. Y.

Copyright, 1953, 1955 by
Girl Scouts of the United States of America

NEW EDITION
First Impression, September, 1953
Second Impression, November, 1953
Third Impression, January, 1954
Fourt Impression, March, 1954
Fifth Impression, August, 1954
Sixth Impression, January, 1955
Seventh Impression, April, 1955
Eight Impression, November, 1955

[Page 12]
The salute           The sign

The salute   The Girl Scout salute is made by raising the right hand to the forehead, three fingers extended, the thumb holding down the little finger.
    The salute is always given when the Promise is made or repeated.   It does not matter whether you are in uniform or not.   The salute is also given when the Flag is raised or lowered, or passes you on parade if you are in uniform.   If you are in a public place but are not in uniform, face the flag and stand at attention with your right hand over your heart.


The sign    To make the Girl Scout sign, bring your right hand up shoulder high with the palm forward.   The three fingers extended fingers stand for the three parts of your Promise.   The sign is used as a greeting when Girl Scouts meet, whether friends or strangers.



[Pages 14-15]
Pledge of Allegiance     "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands; one Nation under God , indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
      At Girl Scout gatherings you give the Girl Scout salute while repeating the Pledge of Allegiance.   At other gatherings where this pledge is used, such as school assemblies, Girl Scouts are expected to follow the custom practiced in that place.



The change in Salute to the Flag from a "Military Salute" (hand to the forehead) to a "Civilian Salute" (hand over heart) seems to have changed with the revision of Scout handbools in the early 1960's. In trying to establish a date or a reasdon, I received the following e-mail:

      From: "Esposito, Rosa"
      Sent: Jul 5, 2005 11:11 AM
      To: pack139@earthlink.net
      Subject: RE: FLAG SALUTE

      I received your voice mail message this morning and
      asked the National Historic Preservation Center to cite
      the source of the original response given to you.

      I understand it was from the Girl Scouts of the
      United States of America, National Board of Directors
      Meeting Minutes, October 25 - 27, 1961.

     Rosa Esposito, Information Specialist, GSUSA
      Girl Scouts. Where Girls Grow Strong.
      Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.
      420 - Fifth Avenue
      New York, NY 10018

      www.girlscouts.org
      1-800-GSUSA-4-U
      1-800-478-7248


I asked if I could receive or purchase a copy of those Meeting Minutes, and received the following reply from Roas Esposito, GS USA:

      I am unable to send this document to you.
      Availability of minutes of meetings of
      the National Board of Directors of Girl Scouts
      of the U.S.A. is restricted to members of the
      Board, specified staff, the parliamentarian and
      the board's legal counsel.


brownie

Girl Scout Handbook

Girl Scouts of the United States of America

830 Third Avenue
New York, New York 10022

Copyright, 1963 by
Girl Scouts of the United States of America
First Impression, April, 1963
Eleventh Impression, October, 1970


the flag ceremony the flag ceremony


[Page 38]
the flag ceremony

[A clear change to the civilian "hand-over-heart" salute to the flag.]

Questions or Comments? Just e-mail:
Pack139@earthlink.net
This page is an ongoing effort.


Free counters provided by Andale.