If the recent attention regarding the proper way to show respect to the national anthem or the American Flag is negatively affecting your life, then this blog is providing a safe space.
Every issue in the world around us affects our thoughts and emotions; and our mental reactions affect us physically, causing both stress on our minds and our bodies. Daily exposure to the news can increase anxiety. Consequently, stressing out over the news can lead to “biological, cognitive, and behavioral changes,” and in a nation whereat least one in three of us drink excessively our bodies can’t afford it. Just worrying about healthcare changes which might negatively affect us is enough to make us feel sick.
We can cope better by examining our own thoughts and trying out best to hear the thoughts of others without becoming upset with one another. Turns out, there was a lot I didn’t know about the national anthem or the flag and I needed a refresher course.
Accepting Feelings, Embracing Facts
Let’s examine a comment on a post from the website Military Spouse:
I like this comment because it explains a balanced approach recognizing the right to protest in America and reminding us the flag is technically disrespected everyday because the flag is not meant to be worn as clothing (at least the short-shorts were not the actual flag just a design). Still, we’re speaking of people’s sensibilities here, not laws.
A great way to decrease stress, or at least any confusion, in a conversation about current protests in America is to learn the facts and respect others’ feelings. We absolutely have the Constitutional right to protest peacefully and we also have a right to disagree, as long as we remember opinions are not facts.
The United State Code about the Flag
According to the United States Code, able-bodies persons must stand with their hats off and right hands over their heart during the national anthem, whether or not the flag is present. Arms shouldn’t even be locked together, yet this was the case when some NFL teams chose to stand and others chose to kneel or sit during the anthem. A drawing or painting of the flag is a representation of the actual flag, so it also can’t touch the ground or be mutilated like the actual flag.
The code is lengthy, and at any time probably every last one of us is disrespecting the flag, if it’s printed on a napkin and tossed in the garbage that goes against the Code. Within the District of Columbia, if you make any kind of representation of the flag for sale (or not) or for exhibition, you can be fined up to 100 dollars, put into jail up to 30 days, and have a misdemeanor on your record.
The National Anthem was not always the National Anthem
It wasn’t until 1931 when America adapted “The Star-Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key, and not until after WW II when major league baseball started every game with the song. The song is actually 4 verses not one, and I’m not certain if that means we are only hearing a quarter of the anthem, if that’s the case then that’s another issue. I’m assuming the first verse is the “official” based on it is what is typically played at events.
However, the Department of Defense and National Guard made a hefty donation to the NFL in exchange for the league to help recruit troops. Before 2009, the players in the NFL were not out on the field during the national anthem. I probably have not said anything that will change anyone’s mind, but I hope that I presented accurate information some visual aides including all the arguments. (Except why the players are protesting— it is about racial tensions and the President’s reactions to previous protests involving white supremacists.)