With all the 4th of July celebrations that have been going on, my social media friends have been flooding hyperspace with pictures of fun gatherings and quotes of patriotic bent. But along with that, there have been exclamations of anger at the groups of people that aren’t respectful to the reason for the celebration. Generally, this is usually followed by nasty comments about immigrants. How all they want are our benefits without being “real Americans”.
Seems to me, the naysayers haven’t been paying close enough attention.
I was at the same Independence Day celebration as most of them. And yes, when the national anthem was played, i noticed it too: People still sitting, talking, eating, goofing off. Even tho the emcee said, “Please rise for our nation’s anthem!” But here’s the thing… If you looked closely, it wasn’t just a bunch of squatters from south of the border. There were a lot of stereotypical Americans who didn’t even take a moment to set their beer down. And most of the teens didn’t even seem to notice the flag at all. Even when people were standing up right beside them.
Pathetic. Disgraceful. And utterly disrespectful.
Our founding fathers and mothers gave up everything and fought with all they had to make this nation what it is. Generations of soldiers and sailors have given their lives for it. So get up off your ass, put your hand over your heart, and shut your pie hole for those few minutes as a sign of gratitude for the creation of the country that protects your freedom!
I was taught as a child to always rise for our flag, our national anthem, and our veterans. Hat off your head. Hand over your heart. Truly, unless you are physically incapable of standing or are forced to recognize that country as a prisoner of war or other involuntary circumstance, you show respect. So when the first few notes of The Star Spangled Banner come across that speaker, with the possible exception of Native American peoples, you had better be on your feet!
Even when in another country, when their national anthem is played or their flag is on parade, i was taught to stand and be silent. Obviously, it isn’t required, or even prudent, to pledge to a country that isn’t yours, but as a gracious guest, you assist them in paying their own respects. So, if you are a squatter from another country – On your feet! Bare minimum, close your yap and let us show our national pride without interruption.
If i sound harsh, it isn’t unintentional.
The parental, schoolmarm, pissed-off-veteran tone of voice is 100% intended.
Because it seems that is what is needed. Either people haven’t been taught, or they have forgotten. In either case, it’s time for some remedial learning. If you have gotten into the habit of ignoring the ceremonies of patriotism, or if you were never taught them to begin with, there is no better day than Independence Day to get (re)educated.
Here is a good place to start: Flag Etiquette
I realize our country isn’t perfect. I mean, after all, we basically stole it like pirates. But the ideals behind the original intention: Liberty, equality, freedom, are blessings of the highest magnitude. The racial ignorance and ethnocentrism (And the accompanying violence) of our forefathers aside, those founding principles are worthy of reverence. They are for all of us now, not just previously-English men. The uniformed services protect the rights of all of us. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for the masses to set the booze and cigarettes down while the flag is raised. I don’t think your kids are too young to learn that running around screaming is not proper behavior while the stars and stripes ascend. And if you hate this country so much that you’d rather choke than take any of the above actions, well, the government isn’t forcing you to stay.
Part of being free means you are welcome to leave.
Personally, i do give the native tribes the choice in their reactions to our patriotism. After all, their lineage were, essentially, prisoners of war; and the stipulations surrounding much of their given communities are hardly recompense for what we took from them. But in my experience, their culture is far more gracious and civilized than their captors. Their protests are usually centered around education. Good examples of “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” It is my hope that we all show that same spirit of gallantry when we are allowed into their patriotic ceremonies. Even if we don’t show it with our own.
So there is my soapbox for today. I apologize to those of you who didn’t need this little lecture. I am just so tired of everything lax in this country being blamed on others. It is us. We, as a country, have gotten lazy, forgotten the rules, and expect the benefits of our country without remembering the responsibilities. And, honestly, if we behave that way, how can we expect better behavior from others?
In the end, our children, our friends, our guests… They all follow our lead.
So lets try to be better leaders.