This was certainly a busy weekend for charity event walkers! My husband and I attend the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s annual Light the Night event on Friday night at Forest Park in St. Louis, MO. We returned early Sunday morning for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s annual PurpleStride event.
My husband noticed something disturbing. There were lots of teenagers in attendance at Light the Night. Not that that in and of itself is a bad thing. However, these teens were talking through the entire national anthem that was being sung during the opening ceremony!
When I was in grade school (back when dinosaurs ruled the earth), we were taught to respect the national anthem and the flag. You were to stand at attention, place your right hand over your heart to show allegiance to the United States of America and to sing (if you knew the words).
Nowadays, you do not see that kind of respect for the national anthem. People carry on their conversations as if nothing important is happening. While it may sound corny, I get goose bumps every time I sing it. Not because I sound like Mariah Carey (which I don’t) but because I understand the meaning behind the song.
Our forefathers fought with their lives to give us the freedoms and opportunities that we have today. They stood up to tyrannous rulers and pushed the issue of independence to the forefront. Hundreds of years later, we still live in a country that is free and sing the song that was written during the Revolutionary War to remind us of just how lucky we are.
What we could truly not comprehend was what took place during the walk. Two fire trucks were parked on opposite sides of the starting line in which a large American Flag hung on a line strung between the two trucks’ ladders. It was a very special sight to see. Apparently, the teens that were talking through the anthem felt the same way. They stopped during the middle of the walk to take copious pictures of the flag. Why were they taking pride in the flag but not the national anthem?
To me, the flag represents everything that we sing about in the national anthem: the courage and strength of America and its people; the endurance of the American spirit. In fact, the song is about the flag. So, how can you be totally disrespectful to one representation of America but not to another? I simply cannot fathom it.
If you don’t feel the need to sing our nation’s anthem, I will not be offended. But, please, be silent for those of us that view singing the national anthem as a sign of everlasting freedom and pride for this great nation that we live in.