Every year when November rolls around, the NFL, NBA and NHL go above and beyond to show support to the military. They unfurl large flags, show of drill teams, invite Servicemembers to stand a center court for a large ovation and even more. There are large “thank you’s” and celebrations of service. It’s all very nice. As someone who has spent over 15 years of my life being the one percent of Americans who choose to put on a uniform and serve this nation, it is a nice gesture. I am grateful that organizations and fans are finding ways to say thank you.
However, there is a sense of hypocrisy in all of it. It’s not necessarily from the organization and franchises that are trying to say thanks, but from the masses. If people really wanted to say “thank you” to those who defend America, start with something simple, like the National Anthem. It has always perplexed me that people have so little reverence and respect for our anthem. I go to sporting events all over this country and when the Star Spangled Banner comes on, I see people talking, moving and eating. I see men wearing their hats and people without their hand over their hearts. Why is it the best sign of respect for our country and our military, which is to respect the anthem that we fought wars to write, is seldom displayed by our citizens?
I feel like people willfully choose to ignore the proper respect for the National Anthem. What’s worse, I see parents setting poor examples for their kids as well! It’s very frustrating to me, especially since it’s such a small simple gesture. Stand up, remove your hat, place your hand over your heart and sing like a bird! Don’t know the words? That’s fine, do the same thing and just be silent. Really not that hard.
So while people are offering, free food, free coffee and 10% off purchases, those gestures pale in comparison to the gesture that reminds every Soldier, Sailor, Airmen and Marine why we serve in the first place, the Star Spangled Banner.