The Star-Spangled Banner

At the Reds game on Sunday, we were having lunch in the outdoor area of the Machine Room. It is a little patio area overlooking the field at Great American Ball Park.

The public address announcer notifies everyone that the National Anthem is about to begin. I stand up, remove my hat and place it over my heart. My four-year old son does the same. My wife and six-year old daughter both stand and put their hands over their hearts.

There was a couple seated next to us that didn’t even stand up. There was a table of four people behind us that couldn’t stop stuffing their face for the three minutes it takes to sing the song.

Of course, I would never expect someone to stand that is physically unable to do so. My mother is in a wheelchair. She will look at the flag with her hand over her heart and sing proudly.

Several weeks ago we were inside the Machine Room sitting at our table. As the National Anthem was being performed, the server brought our food. I stood still with my eyes on the flag and am proud to say that my family did the same. The server paused for a moment, thinking I would take the plates. He then leaned around us and put the plates on the table.

Was I being a jerk?

How far we distanced ourselves from the unity that this country had eight years ago is amazing to me.

Sports played a big role in returning our lives to a state of partial normalcy after the attacks on September 11, 2001. It allows people to forget about the real world for a few hours and cheer on their favorite team or player. Besides, what exemplifies being an American more than a sunny afternoon with your family at a ballpark?

Please feel free to express your opinions on this subject. This is something I feel very strongly about. I have taught my children to respect the flag and what it stands for. I have taught them that we should be proud to be Americans.

Both of my grandfathers served in the military. My father did as well. I did not, but have tremendous respect for those who did, do and will.

All soldiers and their families make a sacrifice. Some make the ultimate sacrifice. The only sacrifice I am asking people to make is to stand up and shut up for three minutes.

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