As Americans, we are united by some common ground.
It seems that America is in a rut right now. I think that I have a pretty good grasp of what is taking place in the United States. Not sure if the glue that is supposed to be bonding us is doing the job.
As Americans, we have a couple great sources of substance, the national anthem and Old Glory.
So…we are at a sporting event, the band plays the “Star-Spangled Banner,” everyone is on their feet, hats off their heads, hand over their heart. I decide to sing along; after all, we are encouraged to do that. We all clap at the end. Let the game begin.
If it all were just that easy.
Ever heard the saying — “You learn what you live?”
I lived in a very patriotic home where we were taught (that’s the important word here) to respect a lot of things. Of course we respected our parents, grandparents, teachers, pretty much anyone older than we were. Did we question that? Never!
We were taught to respect other people’s belongings, property and decisions.
We were taught to respect the U.S. flag, the national anthem, our military and our leaders.
My grandfather was in World War I and my Dad was in World War II. They were men of uniform. The uniforms they both wore represented a free life for me and all of you. They didn’t like to talk about their military service. But, they deserved my respect and by gosh, they got it.
Then came my generation. Although I wasn’t in the military, classmates and my now husband were. They represented the Viet Nam years. When they returned from active duty, they were not shown respect, quite the opposite. You must remember that they were drafted right out of high school, into a conflict that never should have been. But they went, and they served and some of them came home.
So, where am I going with this?
There seems to be a lot of conversation about certain professional athletes deciding not to respect the U.S. flag during the playing of the National Anthem before athletic events. I’m not sure that it has anything to do with respecting or disrespecting the flag or the song. I believe that it is something else that they are needing attention for. And I also believe that some people in higher positions are making remarks before they even know what is actually taking place.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not here to say that is good or bad, or what they are doing is right or wrong.
I believe that everyone should respect the flag and the song, and if they feel that they need an audience to be noticed about something not having to do with the flag or the song, then they are not in the right place to accomplish that.
Is it acceptable to not stand, to not take off your hat, to not join in singing, to not put your hand over your heart? I can’t answer that question for anyone except myself.
I had the direction in my life and I am pretty sure that I passed that direction to my sons — that if the flag passes by, you stop and you acknowledge that. If the national anthem is being played anywhere, you stop and you acknowledge that. You stand and you sing, and you take off your hat and you put your hand over your heart, and you should be thankful that you live in the United States. If you have a gripe with something else, you take it up elsewhere.
Are you breaking a law by not standing, or not taking off your hat? Good question.
According to the United States Code – 36 US Code Section 301 – National Anthem it says:
During a rendition of the national anthem, when the flag is displayed, individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note;
Members of the Armed Forces and Veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute in the manner provided for individuals not in uniform; and
All other persons present should face and stand at attention with their right hand over their heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their hats with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, and the hand being over the heart; and
When the flag is not displayed, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed.
On June 22, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved Joint Resolution 303, codifying the existing customs and rules governing the display and use of the flag of the United States by civilians. The U.S. Code sets out rules and regulations.
Bottom line, you are the only one who has control over your reactions and actions. I have wondered if what was expected when I grew up and what is accepted now with this issue, has anything to do with what we were taught and maybe what is not being taught now. Maybe it’s time to review the rules and regulations. Have times changed so much that people consider not standing for the national anthem as acceptable behavior? Am I out of touch to think that we should still respect the flag and our national anthem? Isn’t that one of the bare bones of America?
I can remember when I was a child seeing my dad approach a young person and tell them to remove their hat during the playing of the anthem. Did that upset me? Not at all, it made me proud of my dad.
And, see the photo that is running with this column? That’s my dear aunt holding Old Glory. She proudly marched with that flag in many parades in Camanche, Iowa. She was a proud member of the VFW Auxiliary. Although I never witnessed anyone being disrespectful of my aunt and the flag, I can only imagine that she would have put them in their place.
I really feel that this entire conversation should never have happened. No one should disrespect the flag of the United States of America.
I will be singing along as usual and as usual a tear will gather as I remember all the brave men and women who we stand and sing for.
The Home of the Brave and the Land of the Free.
That is what the anthem and the flag represent to me. And I will always stand and be thankful that we have that freedom to do so.
Lynn Marr-Moore is a contributing writer for the Tri-County Times and Nevada Journal.