Sunday, October 25, 2020

The Sound of Respect – Morning and Evening Colors On the Navy Base

navy sailor flag colors
SAN DIEGO (Jan. 4, 2017) Airman Apprentice Andrew Mackey performs evening colors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean M. Castellano/Released)

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Coronado residents may wonder what the faint music is they hear every morning at 8:00 a.m., and every evening at sunset. It is part of a time honored Navy tradition known as morning and evening colors. For military service members and their families, beginning and ending each day honoring the American Flag is a reminder of why they serve this great nation. The base literally comes to a stand-still in the morning promptly at 0800 (pronounced zero eight hundred in the military) with traffic stopped and anyone in uniform standing at attention, saluting the nearest flag.

Photo by Krissy Ort shows her children standing at attention at evening colors on their trampoline in the backyard of their home in Navy Housing.

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Many of the Navy families that live on base appreciate the tradition and what it teaches their children.  In Navy housing you can see children playing in the street or on trampolines, but at sunset, when the bugle sounds, they stop what they are doing and come to attention facing the direction of the nearest flag. Teaching children to honor the flag, and to understand what it represents, is important to many families, but especially to service members and their families who fight for the freedoms the flag represents. Krissy Ort, a local Coronado resident and Navy spouse, captured a special moment and shared it on her Facebook page (photo above) with the caption: “One of the cool parts of living on a military base is the National Anthem plays every morning at 8 am and everyone stops, then at dusk everyone stops again. Our kiddos are out jumping on the trampoline and I heard it playing. Looked outside to see what they were doing and this is what I saw (see photo above). Respect.<3 <3.”

Like many Navy traditions, Colors was first initiated by the Royal Navy following the 1797 mutinies in the British fleet. The U.S. Navy adopted this practice and made it part of the Rules and Regulations in 1843. Today you can find instructions detailing the procedures for Colors in the Navy Regulations, Chapter 12: “The ceremonial hoisting and lowering of the national ensign [American Flag] at 0800 and sunset at a naval command ashore or aboard a ship of the Navy not under way shall be known as morning and evening colors, respectively, and shall be carried out as prescribed in this article. ‘Attention’ shall be resounded, followed by the playing of the National Anthem. At the completion of the music, ‘Carry On’ shall be sounded. ‘To the Colors’ shall be played by the bugle at morning colors, and ‘Retreat’ at evening colors.” According to the Naval Base Coronado Spokeswoman, Ms. Sandy Duchac, at Naval Base Coronado, “Colors is played via ATHOC (giant voice) speakers throughout the installations. At the edges of the base, they turn it down -4 dB for noise abatement.” Morning and evening colors is a wonderful way to start and finish the day, honoring the flag that stands for liberty, justice and freedom for all.

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Jeannie Groeneveld
Jeannie is a recently retired Naval Officer whose first duty station brought her to Coronado in 1998.  A Navy Helicopter Pilot for 10 years and a Public Affairs Officer for 11 years, the Navy afforded her many incredible opportunities to serve her country in unique ways while seeing the world.Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to:


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