#1813 The Salute

You Know the Origin Story?

I’m typing this a week after Michael and I spent some time in Virginia.

We had the privilege of rolling out Heroic with Naval Special Warfare and our East Coast F/A-18 Training Squadron.

As always, it was a sacred honor to spend time with these men and women who protect the freedoms on which our flourishing is so dependent.


During our trip, we got to spend a full day with one of my new favorite people on the planet: Captain Jason “Fisheye” Papadopoulos.

Fisheye is one of the most thoughtful, humble, kind human beings I’ve ever met.

He’s also the commanding officer for VFA-106.


In between training some SEALs and their command support at Naval Special Warfare on Thursday afternoon and then training some TOPGUN pilots and their command support at VFA-106 on Friday afternoon, we were blessed to have the opportunity to attend my friend Captain Dave Pollard’s change of command ceremony on Friday morning.

I’ll share more of the wisdom from that day and Captain Pollard’s speech another time.

Today I want to chat about the fascinating origin story of the salute. 🫡

Pop quiz: Do you know where the modern military salute comes from?!

Neither did I until Captain Fisheye explained it to me and Michael as he received (and returned!) a series of salutes from junior Sailors as we boarded the USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH aircraft carrier for the change of command ceremony.

Fisheye told the story brilliantly.

I just asked ChatGPT to explain it for us.

Me: “ChatGPT: What’s the origin story of the modern military salute?”

ChatGPT: “The modern military salute has its roots in medieval European customs and practices. During the Middle Ages, knights and soldiers wore armor and helmets that covered their faces. When meeting someone of higher rank or during a friendly encounter, they would lift the visor of their helmet with their right hand to reveal their face. This gesture showed respect and friendliness, indicating that they were not a threat.

As armor became less common, the gesture evolved. In the 18th and 19th centuries, it became customary for soldiers to remove their hats in the presence of superiors as a sign of respect. However, as hats and helmets became more elaborate and difficult to remove quickly, the gesture of touching the hat became a practical alternative.

This evolved into the modern hand salute, where soldiers raise their right hand to the brim of their hat or forehead in a swift, respectful motion. This gesture symbolizes respect, recognition, and the continuation of a tradition that dates back centuries.”

Me: “Thank you, ChatGPT.”

Goosebumps typing that. Both because the story is awesome and the fact that ChatGPT can articulate it so brilliantly so quickly.

Note: I have a feeling I’ll be sharing a lot more of my chats with ChatGPT in the months (and years and decades?) ahead.


Today’s +1.

When you meet someone today, perhaps you can take your eyes up from your phone and give them a silent, motionless “salute” of respect and admiration.

Let’s exit our cocoon of self-absorption, as Barbara Fredrickson would put it, long enough to create the micro-moments of positivity resonance that are such an under-celebrated and under-appreciated and under-practiced facet of our social fabric.

Bonus points if you want to keep our Walt Whitman-inspired wisdom in mind as you make those Heroic salutes.

Whitman once said: “In the faces of men and women, I see God.”

I like to say: “In the faces of men and women, we see Heroes.”


P.S. Here are some pictures from the trip!

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