I’m an enlisted soldier. It means that when I see an officer outdoors, I salute. It’s a simple thing to do and rarely is screwed up or even really noticed by the officer or soldier–that is, I salute, he returns the salute, and we go on about our lives.
Yesterday while waiting for my wife to pick me up from my place of work, I did salute a Major who was walking with a civilian. As the major returned the salute and they passed, I heard the civilian (who obviously has worked with the Major for some time) say “I wondered why he did that.”
It feels odd to work at a military installation where that question could be asked, but it also says something about the all-volunteer inactive-reserves powered military that the United States has. For all I know that Major got called up and returned to work one day in the military uniform, but has been working that facility for years as a civilian, or that the civilian with him was former military. I don’t know, and should not care.
But it seemed odd none-the-less.