If you’ve been around Organized 31 before, you probably know that I’m a veteran and big on supporting our military, veterans and our country. For those of you who are new, let me quickly give you an idea of where I’m coming from.
I’m a veteran. My husband is currently on active duty. My father is a veteran. My brother is a veteran. Both of my uncles are veterans. 4 of my 5 cousins are veterans. I think you’ve got the idea.
Recently I’ve been attending a bunch of ceremonies and sporting events where the national anthem was played. I observed the behavior of those around me. I feel compelled to speak out and ask you to please consider your behavior during the national anthem.
Behavior During the National Anthem
I’m not questioning your patriotism to our country. I don’t want to debate the current or past actions of our leaders or our citizens with you. I am not judging you or your values. I am simply asking to you to show respect to those who have served and died to give you the opportunity to attend the event you are at when the national anthem is being played. I ask you to purposefully choose to behave in such a way as to show thanks and respect for those who have served and sacrificed for you. Realize that there are people standing near you who have lost loved ones in service to our country and your behavior shows them what you think of that sacrifice. A quick internet search will show you the history and traditions associated with the national anthem, but I’ll summarize what you need to know.
1. Please stand.
2. Please remove your hat. I don’t care if you have hat hair or no hair or a super cool hat that you want everyone to see. Removing your hat is a sign of respect. Please show respect. And please teach your children to remove their hats during the national anthem.
3. Please put down your food, your drink – anything that you don’t have to hold. That includes putting out your cigarette. Personally, I’m fine with you holding a child, but please teach your child to show respect appropriate for their age.
4. Please look around, locate the flag and then turn your body to face it. If the flag is not displayed, turn and face the music.
5. Please place your hand over your heart. You did it in grade school and you are not too old or too cool to do it now. It shows respect for your country, the national anthem and those who have served. If you have a moral, religious or philosophical issue with placing your hand over your heart, please stand at attention. That means do not slouch, shift around, look around or do anything that indicates that you are not showing respect. Those who have served in the military and are not in uniform may salute. Military members in uniform are required to salute. Those wearing a hat should remove it with their right hand and hold it over their heart. While women are not required to remove their hat, removing it shows respect.
6. Please sing along with the words. If you do not know the words, I have included them below. You don’t have to sing loudly, but singing along helps you focus on the history and reason why the national anthem has been chosen to be played.
7. When the line, “the home of the free and the land of the brave” is sung, please don’t cheer like a maniac for no reason. If you have not followed 1 through 6 above, I don’t see why you suddenly feel a huge surge of patriotic fervor. If you have shown respect during our national anthem and do feel the need to express your patriotic fervor, then go right ahead.
8. Please take a moment to say a prayer for those whose service allows you the wonderful experience that you are about to have after the national anthem has finished playing. If you don’t pray, please take a moment to contemplate their sacrifice.
The Star Spangled Banner
Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?