By Military Connection Staff Writer Joe Silva.
Recently, I was talking to a friend of mine who is both an elementary school teacher and a military spouse. She told me that once a month at her school they hold an assembly and invite the parents to attend. Each assembly begins by raising the flag to the playing of “The Star Spangled Banner” and by saying the Pledge of Allegiance once the flag is raised. The teacher told me that every week adults can be seen without their hands over their heart; walking, moving, sitting and talking during the raising of the flag and not saying the pledge.
We live in the United States of America. Our citizens are not forced to participate in patriotic acts. On the contrary, our citizens are not only free to abandon patriotism, but they can also hold views that oppose the government. While our liberty and our freedom is what makes our way of life so great, I’m afraid that too many of our citizens take their freedom for granted and ignore the actions and sacrifices made to secure and protect those rights for them.
As a Veteran and as an American I am disappointed that more citizens do not show more national pride for the country they live in. In talking with my teacher friend and other members of the military community we reasoned that the public just isn’t made aware that what they’re doing is disrespectful and wrong. As Veterans, we can assume the patriotic duty of flag waving and encouraging citizens to participate in patriotic observances on behalf of our country and our comrades that are currently serving.
Provided below is wording from the United States Code that outlines the role of Patriotic Societies and Observances: 36 Code § 301 National Anthem:
(a) Designation.— The composition consisting of the words and music known as the Star-Spangled Banner is the national anthem.
(b) Conduct During Playing.— During a rendition of the national anthem—
(1) when the flag is displayed—
(A) individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note;
(B) members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute in the manner provided for individuals in uniform; and
(C) all other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart; and
(2) when the flag is not displayed, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed.
Veterans: In the course of your lives, when you see the flag raised, lowered or honored, please show the proper respect. Others may follow your example, after seeing the proper way to act.