Why We Stand For The National Anthem
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Why We Stand For the National Anthem

Despite current leadership, there's a reason we pay respect to the flag during the star spangled banner and pledge of allegiance.

Why We Stand For the National Anthem

While I don't remember for sure, I think it's pretty safe to say that I did the occasional eye roll and deep sigh when I had to stand at attention during the morning school pledge during my teen years. Like many "normal" children, I didn't want to be in school, so the real eye roll stemmed from anything that I had to do that required......well, anything other than what I wanted to be doing at the time, like sleep! But, unlike most, I loved music so learning the Star Spangled Banner was fun for me and memorizing the pledge of allegiance, a challenge. It wasn't until I grew into adulthood and even became a teacher that I wanted students to understand what it was about the words, the lyrics, the symbolism that made me so emotional.

I remember reading the story about how the lyrics of the Star Spangled Banner came to be when I was getting my choir students to learn the song and understand the meaning behind the lyrics. Of course, it was then that I realized I must not have been paying attention in history class because I did not remember these details. By this point, I already valued the pledge and understood why we pay respect and my students would watch me and often ask, "Why do your eyes water up?. They asked for it, they got it.....a full blown out lesson on what it means to be American!

Being American, I explained is about honoring all of those before us and in our lives, that have fought or continue to fight for what is right. It is about taking the lessons of those before us and continue to build upon what is good or great and make it better or the best it can possibly be. It's about remembering that the only reason we are able to live out our dreams, get an education, and strive to greatness is that others before us gave their very lives to ensure that we could. So forgive me when I get a little frustrated when you don't know the words to the pledge of allegiance or you feel the need to have a conversation about your weekend plans when the Star Spangled Banner is being belted out. For the minutes it takes to quietly listen and demonstrate respect shows that we value the foundation from which we continue to build this great nation. One only needs to read the history of the Star Spangled Banner to truly understand the strength, human emotion, and hope that gave Francis Scott Key, a 35-year-old American lawyer, the inspiration and the will to write the song that would forever become a symbol to American history. The Pledge of Allegiance, written in August 1892 by the socialist minister Francis Bellamy and not that long ago was altered in 1954, under the direction of President Eisenhower who encouraged Congress to add the words "under God" in response to the Communist threat of the times. Quite telling of the times we are in today, wouldn't you say?

Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-story-b...

While some may feel they have to take action during the National Anthem or feel that God should somehow be excluded from everything including the pledge, there should be a reverence taught and expected from our youth and anyone who claims to be an American. It must always be remembered that it was in the trials, the wars, the journey, and the lessons that all others before us learned that paved roads to help us or maybe our grandchildren after us. It's not about us at all. It was for us, to exist, to thrive, to build upon and grow. It's only natural we will make mistakes just as those before us have. However, we should at least be learning from those before us and helping our nation grow by voting, taking a stand for those who can't, and making sure our politicians are doing the same for us in their positions of power. So, in an answer to why I cry. I know when I am singing the National Anthem, I am thanking those who have allowed me to be here. I am praying, yes, praying that our leaders recognize that their failures and sins will someday be recognized by whatever God they believe in. Finally, I am demonstrating hope that there is still something to hold steadfast faith in, my country. Because it's not about you, but it was for you.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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