Navy’s wake-up call is never unwelcome

A tradition is carried in the wind each morning and those lucky enough to live or work in North Everett can hear it.

Every day at 8 a.m., or 0800 military time, “reveille” trumpets from the loudspeakers at Naval Station Everett. Recently one morning, a woman at Everett Community College, upon hearing the tune, asked her friend, “What is that — a car alarm?”

While it might make an effective car alarm, reveille is a bugle call associated with the military, and for some, summer camp. Historically in the U.S., “reveille” is the signal for the start of the official duty day. It was primarily used to wake military personnel at sunrise — the name comes from the French for “wake up.”

These days, reveille is most often sounded while the national flag is raised, usually at 8 a.m. on military bases. When it’s played, uniformed personnel are required to come to attention and present a salute either to the flag or in the direction of the music if the flag is not visible.

According to an article in the Pointer View, a weekly newspaper at West Point, proper etiquette states that: “Pedestrians within earshot of the bugle call should stop and stand with their arms at their sides at the position of attention and face the flag. Civilians and military members in civilian clothes should place their right hand over their heart, while military members in uniform should render a salute throughout the ceremony.”

They are referring to pedestrians who are on the military academy campus. But if you hear reveille while walking to your car on Colby Avenue some morning, it wouldn’t hurt to take two seconds to face Naval Station Everett and think a good thought for all those sailors serving their country.

The ceremony that ends the day, when the flag is taken down, is known as “retreat” and the same etiquette applies.

There is a reason reveille is a really is a good way to start your morning. The tune is short, to the point, and something about it really gets you going. It really does say, wake up, wake up.

If you can’t hear Naval Station Everett’s call to duty, more versions than you can shake a stick at are available online. Use it on your cell phone to wake you up. Or listen to it at 8 a.m. and take a minute to ponder our freedoms and say thanks for those who defend them. Something about “reveille” makes that exercise easy.

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