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The true origin of the military salute is unclear, though one theory is that it grew out of the custom of tipping one's hat to a superior. Since wearing helmets would make this impractical, the salute may have taken its place as a symbolic gesture.
Another popular theory is that a salute with the right hand, or weapon hand, is meant to show that you are not holding a weapon and therefore your intentions are peaceful.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salute

According to some modern military manuals, the modern Western salute originated when knights greeted each other to show friendly ...

www.qmmuseum.lee.army.mil/history/vignettes/respect1.html

No one knows the precise origin of today's hand salute. ... One romantic legend has it that today's military salute descended from the medieval knight's gesture of  ...

www.thebalance.com/u-s-military-salute-3331994

The origin of the Hand Salute is uncertain. Some historians believe it began in late Roman times when assassinations were common. A citizen who wanted to ...

www.bbc.com/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-30679406

Jan 5, 2015 ... Another theory is that it originated in medieval Europe, when knights used ... The US military's salute is thought to have been inspired by this.

www.historyextra.com/qa/origins-saluting

Nov 8, 2011 ... Unfortunately for this neat idea, the modern form of salute is not recorded ... The conventional military salute used in the west is to raise the right ...

www.uso.org/stories/1646-the-stories-behind-the-modern-military-salute

Jul 9, 2015 ... The Stories Behind the Modern Military Salute ... on two things: (1) it's always a sign of camaraderie and (2) no one knows its exact origin.

news.nationalpost.com/life/the-curious-history-of-the-salute

Mar 27, 2015 ... The salute is thought to have originated as a method of ... Our RCMP salute in the manner of the British military, with the palm forward.

www.quora.com/What-is-the-origin-of-the-US-military-hand-salute

This is one of those questions that US Army Drill Sergeants make Privates answer in essay form as punis... er... corrective training. I wonder whether ...

armedforcesmuseum.com/history-of-the-military-salute

Jun 29, 2012 ... No definitive beginning can be traced to the history of the military salute. Most sources speculate the roots to this time honored tradition date as ...