Monday, November 12, 2012

Respect Is Learned

I just read a story about a NPR reporter who sat and worked on his laptop as the National Anthem was being played/sung at a campaign rally.  It's stirred up some controversy.  Rightly so, I think.

Basic respect, not only for the flag and the nation it represents also must include respect for those citizens around you.  The simple act of standing shows respect for those who put their lives on the line and died so that flag could still be raised.  You don't have to agree with what America is or has become.  Just show some respect.

When I was a middle school student my family lived on an Army post.  (Yes, my dad is a Marine.)  I played Little League baseball, and our field was across the street from the parade field.  A parade field on a military installation is where the post's or base's central flag pole is located.  Every day, as I recall at 6PM (1800) there was a blast from the cannon beside the flag pole and a bugler began to play Retreat.  Following Retreat as the flag was ceremoniously lowered, the bugler played To the Colors. *

I heard this just about every Spring evening.  With the cannon blast we immediately stopped practicing/playing. Turning toward the flag we removed our ball caps and placed them over our hearts throughout the bugle's call.  Cars in the vicinity would come to a stop in the street and their occupants would actually get out and stand at attention, saluting if in uniform or hands over hearts if not.

That daily experience, along with our coaches (who were military men) taught me respect for our flag.  Today 45 years later, as I stood in formation with fellow firefighters saluting Old Glory during the Pledge and the singing of The Star Spangled Banner in a ceremony honoring our veterans I still felt that same respect I learned as a boy.  My chest still swells with pride and gratitude for our great country.

Who teaches our children such things today?  Apparently no one taught the reporter.  He doesn't know what he is missing.

Here's a link to the various bugle calls used by our military.  You'll get an explanation and an audio clip for each.  Some, you'll discover are familiar to most of us.  I understand that had a band been on the parade field The Star Spangled Banner would have been played in lieu of To the Colors.


Dana Brown Ritter said...

I know Ari. I completely disagree with him. I always put my work down at a rally, and stand and put my hand over my heart for the pledge. It really bothers me when other reporters don't. I would actually say that MOST of them don't!

I saw more of this during this campaign cycle than last. I'm assuming it's because there is more of a constant "twitter" news cycle, and reporters never take even a second off.

But, like you said, it's respect! My dad is a veteran, and raised us with major respect for the flag, our military men and women, and American tradition. I'm glad, and I'm happy to stand - even if I'm the only one.

Rick Lawrenson said...

Thanks for standing, even if you're standing alone, Dana.