Monday, February 7, 2011

Oh Say, Can't You See?

I was excited yesterday. I was actually excited to watch a football game. I'm not a football fan at all, but for one day of the year, I figured I'd be part of the cheering crowd. It didn't matter to me who won as long as it was a good game. I fluffed the pillows on the sofa. I got the chips and dip and other snackage ready. I settled in. I watched a bit of the pre-game hype with growing anticipation.

Football is such a quintessentially American game. Really. What could say more about who "we" are than a bunch of burly men going after what they want using brute force and gritty determination? The spheroid is held tight and carried close by a well-padded man running for a goal, while his teammates strive to guard and protect him.

If there's any single event that hollers "USA!" it's The Superbowl. People everywhere tune in to their TVs to catch the game. Families, from very young to very old, will actually sit together and watch it. Snacks and beverages are planned around it with more thought than what goes into a Thanksgiving dinner. People actually gather for this event. Yesterday, I decided I wanted to be part of that collective. At the very least, I thought, I'll be able to be part of all the banter on Monday.

The announcer said, "After this commercial break, next up is our National Anthem." I thought, "Yay! Here we go!" I was hyped and ready. The commercial ended and the announcer made the comment that the game was being dedicated to the men and women of the US Armed Forces. "Wonderful!" I thought, "What a beautiful gesture."

Alas, my enthusiasm was dashed with a big bucket of icy cold water. To sing our national anthem we had a pop star who royally screwed up the lyrics, nevermind that she seemed to feel that shout-singing would add more meaning to them. Was she drugged? Who knows. Perhaps her tight suit made it impossible to breathe, or her stiletto come-fuck-me heels had her at a high enough altitude that she was oxygen deprived, or all that heavy make-up and hair product sent toxins racing through her blood stream, any or all of which left her without the mental capacity to appropriately sing our nation's anthem. That was bad enough.

But wait. That wasn't all. As the camera panned the two teams during the singing of the anthem, not a single player stood with his hand over his heart. Hardly any of the players stood at attention, and in fact, many seemed to see it as an appropriate time to do a little "get your game on" warm up - jumping up and down, flexing, making rock star gestures, etc. The Packers, the Steelers, their coaches, owners, and sponsors should be ashamed.

All of this occurred before the beginning of a game that was dedicated to the honor of our armed forces, the people who keep our country safe, and who do so, often, at great cost. All of this occurred while American families everywhere were tuned in and watching, and probably a few non-Americans across the globe.

I must have missed the memo. You know, the one that reads, "During the playing and/or singing of the USA's National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, it is no longer necessary for Americans to stand at attention. Further, putting your right hand over your heart and saluting our country's flag during the aforementioned song is just not required at all. In fact, feel free to do whatever you please while the anthem is being played. It just ain't a big deal any more."

I was raised that when our National Anthem plays, you stop what you're doing, face the flag, take your hat (or helmet!) off, stand at attention, and place your right hand over your heart. You don't have to sing along - it's a tough melody to sing - but you do have to be completely respectful.

So, to see such disregard shown for the American flag and for the American National Anthem by well-paid entertainers and atheletes who, let's face it, need Americans... well. I was pissed. I'm still pissed off today. Yesterday I was pissed off enough to turn the game off before it even started. I won't tune into a football game again. I won't be buying doritos or pepsi or, gosh... even a mercedes.

Is anyone out there listening? 'Cause I do know the words, and I'll proudly stand and sing alone if I have to.

The Star Spangled Banner
by, Francis Scott Key

Oh, say, can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming.
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.


  1. My thoughts, exactly.

  2. Well said! I stand at attention whenever I hear it, with my hand over my heart, facing the flag as all Americans should!

  3. Oh, Barb!!! I'm so sad that I waited this long to read your post today! THANK YOU! I am passionately in love with my country. I have 2 brothers and a husband who have served as Marines, one in Fallujah for over a year. We take SO much for granted. You pointed out the things about the pre-game show that literally made me angry. I wanted to shout, "You ungrateful, entitled, spoiled brats! Have you no respect!?" And I stood there with a baby on my left hip and right hand over my heart and got chills in spite of the fact that Christine Aguilara made a mockery of it. SO well said, Barb!!!

  4. Hmm nice. My brother just retired from the Marine Corp. It would be nice to see even an ounce of the respect the Marines gave to the flag at any sports stadium in America. Honestly if no one is going to be respectful why even waste the time to sing the anthem? I was taught hat off, look at the flag, dont fidget, dont talk, and hand over the heart. I remember getting my head knocked so hard that I believe I still have a knot back there because I was talking and had my hat on. A lesson I will never forget. Unfortunately few others in America have learned that lesson and the ones that have seem to have forgotten. Thanks for reminding us how true patriotism is supposed to respond.


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