Maybe it's generational, maybe it's a lack of parenting, maybe it's both. But I've noticed that kids don't stand for the Star Spangled Banner, and even when they do, they don't remove their hats.
Obviously we just came through one of the most patriotic days of the year, the Fourth of July — the day that puts summer and patriotism into overdrive. Now, I may not hang a flag hanging from the front of my house but one thing's for sure, I really believe in the foundation upon which this country was built and should somebody threaten that, well, I'm gonna get upset.
But when I was growing up it was drilled into my head that when the national anthem was being played you found the flag, stood up straight, shut up and removed your hat. This is a time when we as Americans come together and remind each other that we are just that – Americans! We unify when we hear that one song and by the time it ends we should feel it in our bones.
If you attend enough baseball games, it probably doesn't have that same effect. But when I watch Canadians have more respect for our national anthem than some of our kids, well frankly I get a little tweaked. That's nothing against Canadians I assure you; it's more of a damning statement to the parents and children of the United States. But nonetheless, it would seem as though we have some work to do. I witnessed several kids at a Fourth of July celebration not stand until they were forced, and then told to take their hats off and be quiet.
Some of these kids I'll give a pass to because they were still young and probably didn't have a complete grasp of the world around them. But the older teenaged kids who remained seated and paid zero attention ... that bent me out of shape. Not because I'm a flag-waving American, but because I'm an American. For the few short minutes that song is playing, there are zero differences between us. We're not Republicans, Democrats, Black, White, Hispanic. We're Americans, and I think that the playing of the national anthem should still be taken seriously and held in high regard.
If you stop and think about it, no other song ever written has the same impact as our national anthem. Is has the ability to unify, so why wouldn't we want to take full advantage of that? Sure we have our issues here in the United States, but what country runs perfectly and keeps all of its citizens happy? I know as time marches on and things change that old traditions are lost. Some of those traditions are lost through necessity and some are lost due to inconvenience. But there are some traditions that should never go away. For me, standing during the national anthem with my hat removed is one of them. Even if you're not a patriotic person you should do it simply because everyone around you is doing it and there should be a certain amount of respect that goes with that.
But when I see that parents aren't really passing the tradition I wonder why. There are about a million touchy-feely reasons you can give for not doing it. You can take the stance that we shouldn't have to do it, that it's "A free country." But respect is respect, and when you're afforded the opportunity to live in a "free" country you should always show that respect when the opportunity presents itself. You always treat your elders with respect and your mother with respect; then you need to reinforce that children really understand why they are standing up during the Star Spangled Banner. What the hell is up with that?
Fish is the opinionated morning jock on Classic Hits 92.7. He offers up his opinion at 7:50 a.m. every morning (Monday through Friday). Let's start the revolution. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.