Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Respect During the National Anthem

171. Conduct during playing

During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should render the military salute at the first note of the anthem and retain this position until the last note. When the flag is not displayed, those present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed there.

I am at MANY sporting events since I help run the Daktronics Venus 7000 system for all USD Coyote sporting events (and a few high school events as well). One thing that has always irked me is people who do not take off their hats. Overall, I would give South Dakotans an "above average" ranking in this area, but they can still use some work. Even when I have to display the flag on both Daktronics boards, I still have my hand over my heart in respect. While I would love to see more people with their hands over their hearts (it's the Veteran/Patriot in me), the hat has to come off at least.

For those of you who watched the Oklahoma/Boise State football bowl game (yes, I know, it was a painful game for us OU faithful) and happened to catch the National Anthem, and have an ounce of patriotic respect, you should be appalled. They scanned the crowd frequently and I simply could not believe the number of people with their hats on. This included, my personal favorite, a guy with his hat on while talking on the cell phone.

Maybe I'm getting old, maybe it's the war vet in me, but I'm just not happy to see this kind of blatant disrespect for our National Anthem. I'm proud when Greg Merrigan, our local PA guy at USD games and high school activities reminds people that 'proper etiquette is to face the flag, remove your hats, and stand at attention with your hand over your heart' but should we REALLY need that reminder? Okay, end of rant...for now...

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