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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Respect and honor

Saturday, January 5, 2013

There are certain things you need to do to demonstrate respect for your country and those who risked their lives defending it.

It doesn't require much. Just stand still and shut up.

Thursday night, at Spencer's wrestling dual with Cherokee and Estherville-Lincoln Central, I watched with my blood pressure elevating as a group of junior high girls decided to turn the National Anthem into a comedy routine.

As Daly Tighe delivered a beautiful rendition of the song, most in the gym stood silently. Some proudly sang along, hand over their heart, as is an accepted tradition. Others stood quietly, moving their lips to the words, with their hands at their sides, showing the proper respect for the red white and blue.

Then there were the girls. One waving her arms, making boisterous gestures to entertain her friends, who laughed and joined in on the frivolity. Perhaps they weren't the only ones, but they were the only ones I saw.

This isn't an isolated incident. You see it in the student sections at football games and other sporting events as well.

The National Anthem is not a moment to entertain your friends. As a matter of fact it's just the opposite.

You remove your hat from your head and you stand quietly. Sing along respectfully if you choose. Don't insult the performer of this song by acting like a fool. Don't demonstrate such little respect for our veterans.

I get it. We're talking about kids and sometimes kids behave immaturely. Because they are. But I've tried to teach my children proper etiquette during such moments. My father and my wife's father have both served in the armed forces. Showing respect to the flag and honoring this country is something expected in our house.

I would encourage parents and grandparents to take a moment to explain the importance of this brief demonstration of respect. I'm sure the majority of the kids understand. For the most part, our young people are standing still and behaving appropriately. But for those who aren't, it presents a picture that fits the term "ugly Americans."


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Thanks for calling out this behavior Randy! Hopefully, the parents of these girls will do a little "parenting" and help them understand the respect that this song demands.

-- Posted by bburns01 on Sun, Jan 6, 2013, at 9:58 AM

I would have said something to them at the time--it reminds me a few years back when I went to a wonderful circus with my kids and grandkids. During the pledge of allegiance to the flag I glanced behind me and there were about thirty native Americans sitting down and not responding to the flag. HUH????? Later I found out that the local business men gave them free tickets so their kids could go to the circus!!!!! Sorry they couldn't find it in their hearts to honor the flag!

-- Posted by iowagirl on Mon, Jan 7, 2013, at 11:54 AM

Maybe it was the flag waving at Wounded Knee?

-- Posted by Cookster on Mon, Jan 7, 2013, at 12:02 PM

While it's often risky to call out children who are not yours in public, if it had been my child, I would have had no problem with someone speaking to them about their behavior. It's possible they would have been mollified, then returned home from the game to talk about this mean guy who called them out. "He made a big deal about the national anthem."

"Oh really? What were you doing? Hmm?"

-- Posted by AmyPeterson on Tue, Jan 8, 2013, at 5:53 AM

iowagirl -- regarding the Native Americans, I don't approve necessarily, but consider what the flag means to them and their ancestors.

-- Posted by AmyPeterson on Tue, Jan 8, 2013, at 5:55 AM

AMEN and well said.

-- Posted by cow man on Tue, Jan 8, 2013, at 5:57 AM

Oh my gosh, native american's not responding to the flag? It's not like we stole this country from them or anything. We didn't infect them with small pox or kill them off, or force them to live on reservations.

Oh what a great nation, how dare those darn red faces don't respect us!

-- Posted by PleaseThink on Wed, Jan 9, 2013, at 4:15 AM

As a Naval Submarine Veteran, I speak from the heart on this subject, I spent months away from my family and probably hurt my relationship with my children because I wasn't around because I was out fighting for them and the rest of the women and children in the united states. When I see things like this I don't blame the children because they are doing what they are taught. The same goes with military personal it is up to the parent to make sure what the other parent is doing for them and the rest of the country rather then put thoughts in the childrens head that the don't care. I love my children very much and this country and I sit here with a tear in my eye knowing that our children are not being informed of what the national anthem means and stands for.

ET2 Christopherson

-- Posted by djc51351 on Thu, Jan 10, 2013, at 7:36 PM

You don't just see this behavior in youth. I've seen many an adult that didn't take the time to wait for the anthem to be over to finish a conversation. On our military installation, you see military members and family members alike duck back indoors during retreat to avoid having to stand at attention during retreat of colors. You are supposed to stop, stand at attention while in uniform (or stand respectfully if not in uniform) and face the flag. If the flag is not visible, you face its general direction (the whereabouts of which you learn about 5 minutes after moving onto a military installation). If you are driving, you stop your vehicle, get out, and do the same. You continue this until retreat is over- about 2 min max. Now, I understand that if it is 16:55 and you don't want to go outside, get into your vehicle, and start driving just to have to stop, get out, and face the flag. That's why you're mindful of the time and wait until 5:05 to venture out. But going out at 4:59 and then turning tail and running back inside once you hear the beginning of retreat is ridiculous. Even the most unruly children on military installations are taught to show respect at 17:00, but, when alone, their parents fail to follow their own teachings.

-- Posted by notinia on Tue, Jan 15, 2013, at 10:31 AM

I have even seen this with the parades. I often wonder why we even have the military or the vets go first with the flag to start them. You look around and see about 1/4 of the ppl standing and respecting the flag. The rest (adults and childeren) standing around talking or sitting and talking. I always find it a shame. Show respect for your country, but also for the ppl that are willing to lay down their lives for us!

-- Posted by acerdj on Wed, Jan 16, 2013, at 5:32 AM

I'll remind you there is no law requiring people, American or not, to stand silently and still for the flag or national anthem, and I'm glad there isn't. I witnessed a volunteer usher, during an anthem just starting, physically block a woman from taking her small child from their seats so they could go to the bathroom. I was incensed that he should interfere with someone trying to address a physical need.

That said, manners define a society. General rudeness and lack of consideration always ticks me off. Somewhere some people aren't being taught manners.

-- Posted by helped_myself on Mon, Jan 21, 2013, at 2:34 PM

Absolutely right, helped_myself. There is not a law, but it is good manners to recognize the flag and national anthem, within reason. There is a reason exceptions are made for those who are elderly or disabled- common sense! If a child had to go to the bathroom, he or she should not be stopped. Now, adults can ostensibly "hold it" for the minute or so the Anthem takes, but common sense often escapes the "manners police"...

-- Posted by notinia on Tue, Jan 22, 2013, at 12:32 PM

The mother & myself displayed more respect and manners by not confronting the volunteer respect enforcer than the enforcer displayed.

Also, not putting your hand on your heart is NOT disrespect. I was taught that was for the pledge. Now it's a challenge of "I'm more American than YOU!" (knda like who can wear the biggest flag pin). Until recent years, no one did it, or even removed hats, at events like professional sports games, because I watched.

Want to show real respect? Vote in EVERY election, from school board up. Donate blood if you can. Educate yourself on how your gov't works. etc.

Here's a general question: how much respect do Americans display when another country's national anthem is played (ie. Canada at baseball & hockey games)?

-- Posted by helped_myself on Tue, Jan 22, 2013, at 3:04 PM

I was always taught, like you, to put my hand over my heart for the pledge, and to stand quietly facing the flag or sing along during the anthem. Was your incident at a sporting event? I've been to a few events (sporting and non) where European countries' national anthems were played, and Americans generally just stood quietly, since they were either immediately before or after the American national anthem and nobody really knew what else to do, lol.

-- Posted by notinia on Tue, Jan 22, 2013, at 9:38 PM


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Randy Cauthron
One Man's Perspective